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Inviting First Time Contributors by Offering Mentorship

davidsanwald profile image David Sanwald ・2 min read

I'm currently close to accepting an offer to work for an open-source company. While there will be lots of contributors to the core app, contributing to what I'm working on will not gain as much traction on its own. After all, I'm working on data-viz, frontend, dashboard stuff.
Despite all that I really want to make this part of the product a community effort too. I'm also personally very invested in helping people new to the industry that might even have some serious skills but lack the CV to even give them the chance to prove them.

So I was thinking about offering personal support/mentorship to first-time contributors to the project.
I'd love to get to know more people that are new to the industry or still mostly learners and I want to make the project accessible in any possible way.
But at the same time, I'm worried that I'll end up in a shit storm because it looks like I'm trying to exploit people to provide free work.

There's no question that I would have to invest a lot more into supporting someone not having a lot of experience than I needed for just implementing those things myself.
But I'm still worried.
To be clear, building an open-source product does not imply that there's no intention to make a profit (in the long run). Guiding others from start to finish will not save me any time at all (actually quite the opposite) but it's still very beneficial for the company getting people to join and making their first contribution. So it's no charity but of course, if I wouldn't love to share and help, I wouldn't consider it.

What's your opinion? What's important to consider, so it's fair and provides the max value to contributors? What are your thoughts on offers like that and how can I make it as inviting but also valuable as possible.

I feel like there are too many todo apps and I'd hope to guide beginners towards including the contribution to something "real" into their portfolio.

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