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Jessica Alves
Jessica Alves

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A short summary of my first Hacktoberfest 🎃 🎉

Hacktoberfest ended earlier this week and it was the first time I registered for the challenge as well as the first time I made open source contributions. This post is for all open source beginners contributors :)

Where I found projects to contribute 👾

There's not much of a secret on how to find open source projects to contribute. Probably many of the softwares and technologies you use are open source and you can pick one of them to contribute. Specifically for Hacktoberfest challenge you can search for "hacktoberfest" or "hacktoberfest-2022" topic on GitHub Topics page.

One of the effective ways I've also found to search for projects to contribute was the Hacktoberfest Discord channel. I think this option was even better than the first one because there were so many people sharing their projects - from small projects to bigger ones - and looking for contributors.

Contributing to open source for the first time 🌱

As I said that was my first time contributing to open source. And that can be kinda intimidating at first especially because in almost all cases you're not familiar with the project and the code. Or even when you want to contribute to a repository because you use or like the product but you never used the programming language they've chosen to write their code. Or you just find open issues that are not good first issues.
All that can make the experience seem even more intimidating, but you can start contributing to super easy and simple tasks such as translations and documentations. And this is what I did.

I found a few repos needing Portuguese translations and made my first contribution. Then I also found a cool repository whose purpose is to contain all possible solutions to LeetCode challenges so I decided to contribute writing a few solutions while learning to solve such problems.
Then I contributed to a few more projects from creating PR template to doing more translations. Simple but still a contribution :)

My impressions and learnings from this experience 💭

Overall the experience of contributing was very positive. And it made me feel motivated to do it more often and not just during October. The event organization was good, the Discord channel was very helpful as I said already. I know that the motivation of many people comes from getting the swags, t-shirts, stickers, etc. But for me it was more about doing it for the first time. In my opinion the Holopin's digital badges were a nice idea of a simple effort recognition and progress tracking. You can find more about Holopin badges in this post: Introducing Holopin - The Digital Badge Platform for Developers.

Aside from all the positive matters related to the experience, the only note I would make is: don't get frustrated if your PR is not approved in time to complete the challenge. I mean some of the contributions I made in addition to those required to complete the challenge were approved after the challenge ended and one of them hasn't been reviewed yet. Not all repositories have maintainers that can dedicate a lot of time reviewing all PRs and issues so be patient. Everyone is doing their best to contribute ;)

The experience was really nice and for those who have never participated, or never contributed to open source I strongly recommend that you do. Looking forward to the next one!

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