Leading up to (and during) the month of October, we want to help you discover open source projects to work on, and put your Hacktoberfest contributions to excellent use. Meet Eddie Jaoude, a fullstack developer of 15 years, and contributor to open source for 10 of those years.
Check out this page regularly for more interviews with contributors & maintainers
My first contribution was fixing a typo. Come to think of it, my second contribution also fixed a typo. And maybe my third too. And then from that I got involved in the conversation, started adding more improvements, adding more value to projects by improving the test code coverage, adding new features, fixing bugs... It all snowballed from there and I want that for you too. I believe my success has come from contributing to open source and learning not only the technical skills but how to collaborate and network with other people.
Recently I was selected as a GitHub Star out of the 44 million people on GitHub. There's 20 of us, and I love seeing what great stuff the others are up to, contributing to the community.
When I'm not contributing to open source, you can find me speaking at meetups, conferences, or on my YouTube channel. I believe open source is for everybody, that means for you too!
What can you tell us about your project?
I don't contribute to 1 or 2 projects, I try and contribute to all projects that I use. You're probably using a lot of OSS projects at the moment, from React to Firebase to Angular, and when you use these projects, and you find documentation is missing, or a bug, then I suggest you submit that as your contribution.
We have a community organization and Discord where we work on our projects together. It's amazing, when you join a community you find a whole world of projects you didn't even know existed, and then you'll find the project that's right for you. The "right project" might be because of the technology, or the speed of the project, ...
In our GitHub organization we have many different projects, including frontend and backend projects. Some might use Svelte, evolve around Discord bot, and everything inbetween. Come find out what projects interest you!
What contributions are you welcoming?
Our community projects welcome everyone - and everyone who is new (to open source) especially, because they can add so much value to a project. You may think I'm new to tech, or I'm new to open source, what value can I really add? Well, you have a fresh pair of eyes, you can look at the project from a different perspective and then help us make the project more inclusive, lower the barrier to entry for the next people. Therefor the project contributions can grow, and the project grows as a result. You can spot holes that we missed in documentation. There might be things that we made assumptions on that aren't correct. So remember: your fresh pair of eyes, you being new to the project adds so much!
What skills do people need to contribute?
You don't need any specific skill to join, we're actually looking for the right attitude. If you want to collaborate and work with people in a team that's really the most important thing. Skills can be learned - and we're all learning all the time. And I'm sure that you will have skills that you can teach us!
One thing you do need is a GitHub account, so signup for free and you can start contributing. Open Source doesn't care what you're wearing, where you're from, how old you are, what the weather is like, all it cares about is that you visit every once in a while.
How do folks get started?
There are so many projects on GitHub and it's hard to find the right one, but it doesn't have to be difficult. I want you to find an inclusive project, that will help you getting involved in open source and realizes the benefit that you can add, because that's very important. Join a community, be it on Discord, Meetup, or GitHub, and find the people that want you to succeed.
Don't wait for the right project because you will never find it if you keep waiting. Get involved in the conversation, raise an issue on a project, reply to an issue, raise a pull request, review a PR. Even if you're new to a project. The more you get involved the more likely you'll find a project that fits your learning objectives or style. Get started today!
A few tips on finding an inclusive project on GitHub:
- If you look along the tabs on the top of a project, you'll see there's an Insight tab. If you select that, a panel will appear on the left hand side. Have a look at GitHub's community suggestions. Do they have a Code of Conduct, a README, a Contribution guide? These are good indicators in deciding whether you will want to get involved. And if items are missing, maybe that could be a good contribution to make.
- Have a look at the closed issues and closed pull requests, specifically the ones that have not been merged. Were these closed with a friendly comment and a suggestion? If PRs are closed without feedback, then the project maybe isn't very inclusive - there is no way of knowing how you could contribute in the future or what the project is looking for.
- Check the Issues tab and in the panel on the right filter for labels like
good-first-contribution). You can then further filter by technology, or other labels, to find where you could fit in.
Don't try and put in 100 hours on a weekend - ok, that's not physically possible, but you know what I mean. Don't try and do everything in one go, and then do nothing in 6 months. Open source is like brushing your teeth - you brush your teeth twice a day and you don't think anything of it. Over time though your teeth benefit. It's the same like open source work, you want to do it little and often and it will not only benefit others, but it will benefit your career. You'll learn many technical skills, as well as collaboration skills.
Check contributing.today regularly for more interviews with contributors & maintainers, as well as online events to help you get involved in open source.