DEV Community

Cover image for Contribute to open source without knowing how to code
Rizèl Scarlett for GitHub

Posted on • Updated on

Contribute to open source without knowing how to code

When you think of open source contributions, do you immediately think of code?

It’s a common misconception that you have to code to contribute to open source. Open source is for everyone. Folks with various skill sets, like – designers, writers, artists, marketers, software testers, and project managers, play essential roles in open source. Like proprietary projects, open source projects may not survive long-term without well-designed logos, a quality user experience, clear documentation, triaged tickets, sufficient testing, and a product roadmap. Projects without those characteristics might exist, but they’re less sustainable. While these roles are paramount, open source projects tend to have fewer contributors with skills beyond code because:

  1. Contributors without coding experience may not know HOW to contribute to projects on code-driven platforms like GitHub and GitLab.
  2. Maintainers may not always know how to present non-coding opportunities even though they need help with those tasks.
  3. The software engineering industry wrongly undervalues non-coding skills, but not because these skills aren’t valuable. Programmer culture sometimes encourages a god complex. I say this as a software engineer myself, but writing logic to create pretty pictures on the internet doesn’t mean we’re better than others. The reality is various roles, and skill sets work together to breed success.

This year, Digital Ocean, GitHub, and GitLab are working to remove these obstacles by encouraging non-code contributions via Hacktoberfest. Hacktoberfest is an annual event that encourages folks of all experience levels to contribute to open source. Participants who complete four or more Hacktoberfest-accepted tasks during October earn swag or a tree planted in their name. Fill out the registration form and read the participation guide to get started! Keep in mind that maintainers generally welcome contributions year-round, but Hacktoberfest is an industry-wide effort to focus on open source.

In this blog post, I’ll showcase issues and tasks that don’t require coding to inspire contributors and maintainers. Here's a list of projects looking for design, content creation, accessibility, testing, and more!

Support and Administration


Content Creation (Writing, video, and more)

  • Mattermost is looking for folks to blog about their product.
  • Appwrite needs a blog post about importing WordPress users to Appwrite.
  • Learn WordPress is asking contributors to create tutorials, facilitate an online workshop, update and contribute lesson plans, or update and contribute courses.





Little to no code

Don't worry if most or all of the issues are assigned when you read this post. You can find similar issues to work on at by using the examples above! You can also check out my Twitter thread for more issues.

Happy Hacking!

Top comments (6)

balastrong profile image
Leonardo Montini • Edited

Thanks for the great article, as usual!

I also covered this topic myself, if someone wants an additional take, so let me share it here :D

The main topics remain the same, but I also slightly put the attention to StackOverflow.
Answering (and even asking!) questions about Open Source projects also serves as raising awareness to those projects and automatically generates documentation as the answer remains there on StackOverflow for everyone else looking for it! :)

maksim36ua profile image

We're also mentioning Tutorials or Example apps creation in our contribution guide. For some projects (ours included), it's beneficial in multiple ways at the same time.

1) Testing (bugs can be found during tutorial creation)
2) User Adoption
3) Content marketing

Unfortunately, it's often forgotten despite it's a straightforward way to contribute to specific projects :)

BTW if you'd like to contribute to a simple language for developing full-stack React + Node web apps with less code -- join us!

xomiamoore profile image
Mia Moore

Thank you for sharing! I'm excited to maybe claim a few of these haha :)

errorsitos profile image
Roly Q.

thanks for awesome info.

yongchanghe profile image
Yongchang He

Thank you for sharing!

aradwan20 profile image
Ahmed Radwan

Thanks for your post