Before we discuss anything about open source….let’s ask a few questions considering the situation of experienced developers in organizations.
What are some common problems most of the experienced developers face working in an organization?
Limited by the tech stack used by the team at the workplace and not getting enough opportunity to work with some other tech stack…
Limited with some similar kind of project and not getting the opportunity to work on some complex or advanced projects…
Or maybe a boring task of writing a similar kind of code for every project…
All the above problems are some common problems of developers in most organizations. These problems sometimes become quite frustrating and lead to burnout in software development. Well, there’s a solution to this problem but before we dig into that let’s discuss the problems of beginners in programming…
A common problem most of the beginners face in programming is getting overwhelmed with so many tools and technologies. Due to a lack of experience in coding, it is quite challenging for them to pick the right tool for a specific task. Also, when they try to learn something and take the help of some tutorials and courses (even advanced ones), they do no get the required level of confidence. They always find something “beyond the tutorial” and they stumble upon some problem that is out of tutorial scope…
So what’s the solution for both of the above problems…?? As an experienced developer how to get the opportunity to work with some different projects or some different tech stack. As a beginner how to get the level of confidence that is required to prove the skill to the recruiters or to build any kind of application…
One of the best and free of cost solution is….. Open Source.
Open Source is a great way to leverage your skill and today it has become so popular among programmers for learning purpose and for so many other reasons. There are so many advantages of using open source and in this blog, we will tell you the top reasons “Why you should contribute to the open-source project”. Let’s discuss that…
1. You Help Others Through The Open-Source Community
The coolest thing about open source is making/creating things for others. While using open-source you create code that benefits the community. No matter what kind of contribution you’re making…either it’s documentation, minor changes in code, or just opening an issue, you certainly improve the tools or software and make life easier for other developers.
When you work on a project you improve the quality of work for everyone and somewhere you also help other developers either by providing a solution, improving the code or you help them in writing readable or maintainable code. Few things you need to keep in mind when you contribute to an open-source project… ask a few questions to yourself…
- Is the change unique to my codebase or could others benefit from it?
- Is it giving the solution to a problem others may experience as well?
- Do you want to maintain the code all by yourself or you want it to be maintained by others in the open-source community?
You should always think about improving the open-source project regularly, instead of using it solely. In software development most of the time we work on some problems which others may experience as well so why not tell your approach to the whole world and help others. Why not take the help of other developers through the community and why not suggest your solution to get the feedback that whether the solution is worth enough for other developers or not.
A codebase maintained by the whole open source community is always better than the one maintained by only the individual one.
2. Excellent Project Quality
Because of the contribution from the developers all around the world, the quality of open source projects is often superb to internal codebases. Many great developers sitting around the world use their excellent coding approach or coding style to implement some features or to make some improvements in the codebase. When you work on quality projects you also see what good software looks like and how developers use different solutions or coding approaches to make good software.
In an open-source project, your code is publicly visible to the other developers and when it happens you generally focus on writing the clean and maintainable code that is easy to understand and easy to modify.
3. Learning and Experience
The learning opportunity is enormous when you work on an open-source project. You collaborate with experts, you get feedback and you glimpse into professional software development. You see and learn how software is created or done at some big tech giant companies such as Microsoft, Google, or Facebook. These companies under open source license share internally written code.
You get to know about the technology at a much deeper level. When you’re new to the open-source, it’s not easy to contribute to some projects. You need to follow some steps and you need to make some effort to learn how it works and how to get the maximum benefit from it. Below are some steps you need to go through to contribute to open-source projects…
- You need to determine which part of your solution is worth contributing to.
- Going through the contribution guideline of the target project.
- Obtaining and developing the feature in the project.
- Extracting the relevant code fragments.
- Modifying or making changes to the existing code.
- Describing the required level of automated test cases and documentation.
- Filing an issue.
- Submitting the change.
All the above steps may force you to think whether your efforts for the contribution is going to give you some major benefits? The answer is… yes. Going through these steps helps you to understand your project better and it gives you a much deeper level of knowledge.
To extend the project and to implement the functionality or the feature you need to understand the concept and the principle of the project you’re working on. A lot of discussion with other contributors, collaboration with other members, different approaches to coding, all these things add valuable skills and you learn a lot of things about real-world software development.
4. You Gain Recognition and You Leverage Your Career
You contribute to the open-source, you learn a lot, you gain experience and that experience opens up a lot of career opportunities for you. The “gain experience” phase turns into a “portfolio of skills” phase.
Today, it’s quite difficult for recruiters to judge someone’s skill by just looking at someone’s CV. Most of them are looking for some online platforms to verify the skill set of a candidate. In CV, it’s very easy for a candidate to pretend that they have knowledge of certain technologies in-depth but most of the time they barely touch the surface of the technologies. This is the reason a lot of recruiters take the help of some online platforms such as GitHub to find the right candidate who meets their requirements.
Having an impressive portfolio on GitHub (or some other platform) is a good way to verify someone’s skills and find the right talent for a specific job requirement. A lot of companies hire core contributors who made some contribution to company-supported open source projects.
Your open-source contribution is publicly accessible and the more you contribute, the more you shape the project. You also gain a lot of recognition and sometimes when that recognition reaches a potential employer, you end up landing a wonderful job in a good company.
If we are talking about your online contribution then it doesn’t mean it should be perfect. You don’t need to worry more about completing every open source project. It’s not necessary, what’s more, important for a recruiter is your active involvement, your interest in coding, your enthusiasm, your skills, and your motivation which reflects in your open source contribution. That will be more valuable for any potential employer and it will help them find the expertise of talented people.
Your GitHub portfolio is the most important highlight in your resume so treat it like your business card. It’s beneficial for advancing your career, be it at your current or an interesting, future employer.
5. It’s Free and Reduces Development Cost
Learning something and gaining a required experience is not always free of cost. You need to spend money on most of the field. But open source opens up the opportunity for developers to not just learn about software development from the top tech giant sitting around the world but also it gives you enough experience to make a shiny career in programming.
Isn’t it awesome and the coolest thing to be a part of an open-source community where you learn, collaborate, and discuss the amazing software ideas with some technical expertise sitting around the world?
Open source also helps in reducing the cost of software in any organization. You can take the ideas, suggestions, and help from experts outside your team. You’re not limited to the suggestions or ideas which is only discussed in your team or your organization. You can get amazing ideas from the open-source community and you can have access to the work done by other developers. The idea or the solution given by the expertise from the open-source community can be a better idea than the ones discussed in the organization.
You can help your organization in building a successful software if you’re someone smart enough who knows how to get the maximum help and the benefit from open source community.