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Hacktoberfest has started! Are you doing these things?

Hacktoberfest 2023 is in full swing with many developers already posting on social media their four completed pull requests (PRs). If you've already joined Hacktoberfest, or you're planning on participating, here are some things you should add to this year's checklist. Without further ado, I present, the guide to Hacktoberfest 2023.

Guide to Hacktoberfest 2023

It can be rather overwhelming participating in Hacktoberfest, especially if this is your first time. Even if you've been part of the event before, there's a bunch of fun, new things for you to do. Are you doing these things?

But first, what is Hacktoberfest?

Hacktoberfest is a month long celebration during October each year. 2023 is the ten year anniversary of the event and I'm excited that something like this still runs. Hacktoberfest is spearheaded by Digital Ocean. This year, ILLA and Appwrite have joined as the presenting partners.

The goal of Hacktoberfest is to celebrate open source. It's also designed to encourage open source contributions, particularly from first time contributors. By holding an event dedicated to open source, contributors should feel welcomed to join the community in contributing both code, non-code, and low-code solutions to various projects. Participants are rewarded with digital SWAG, and in some cases physical merch.

Now you know what Hacktoberfest is all about, let's look at some of the things you should do this year.

1. Sign up

The first thing to do as part of any event is to sign up. Pre-registrations opened last month, and sign ups will be available for the whole month of October, so it's not too late.

Head to the Hacktoberfest website and click "Register Now!". You can choose to participate with either GitHub or GitLab:

Choose how to sign up

2. Choose how to participate

Once you've registered, you'll want to choose how you'd like to participate. This year, there are three options:

  • Contributor
  • Maintainer
  • Event organiser

If this is your first Hacktoberfest, chances are you'll be registering as a contributor. You can also choose more than one. Fill out the rest of the form, and click "Register".

Registered for Hacktoberfest

Now you're ready to start hacking.

Bonus - participate as a sponsor

Hacktoberfest is a celebration of all things open source. That also includes celebrating and supporting the people and projects behind some of the biggest open source organisations.

For the past few years, Hacktoberfest has encouraged people to contribute financially to their favourite projects. You can now donate directly from the Hacktoberfest website.

3. Find projects

Finding a project to contribute to can be a challenge. Luckily, we talked about all the ways you can find open source projects on GitHub on a Twitch stream a couple of years ago:

Some of the tips include:

  • Using the GitHub trending projects feature. You can search by projects, developer, or language
  • Checking the GitHub explore page for fun projects and inspiration
  • Opting for things you already use. For example, if you use OBS for live streaming, think about contributing to the project
  • Seeing what the Hacktoberfest partners have on offer. Digital Ocean,ILLA, and Appwrite have open source projects you can contribute to
  • Check the Hacktoberfest SWAG list and choose a project that offers some incentives for contributing

You can also check GitHub's open projects that you might like to contribute to, including the GitHub CLI and GitHub Docs.

After you've found the project you'd like to work on, make sure it has the hacktoberfest label under topics. You'll find this on the repo's home page under "About". For example, this is the About section for the GitHub Hackathons repo:

Hacktoberfest accepted

4. Read the contribution guidelines

Once you've chosen the project you'd like to work on, read the contribution guidelines. You have an obligation as a contributor to read the guidelines of the project. This will ensure you not only make a meaningful contribution, it also makes maintainers' lives easier, and you'll likely have your PR merged much quicker.

Check out Ashley Willis' article on being a good contributor:

5. Check good-first-issues

If this is your first time contributing, either for Hacktoberfest, or for a particular project, check out the project's good-first-issues. These are things identified by maintainers as being good places to start for contributors.

For example, this is Appwrite's good-first-issues where you can see there are various lightweight issues for developers to work on:

Appwrite's good first issues

Some projects, including Appwrite, have issues tagged specifically for Hacktoberfest.

6. Hack, code, and open a PR

Now that you've picked your project and decided on some things to work on, it's time to hack your solutions. Once you've finished working on something, make sure you open a pull request so a maintainer can merge the changes into the project.

Keep checking your Hacktoberfest profile page to see when your four PRs are merged. Once you've had at least four pull requests merged, you've completed Hacktoberfest and you can claim your digital SWAG. You can contribute more than four pull requests and some projects encourage you to contribute as much as possible.

7. Claim your SWAG

Holopin has teamed up with Hacktoberfest once again to bring participants some awesome digital SWAG. These are evolving digital badges that will evolve with each PR you have merged.

You'll receive your digital badge from Holopin and you can show it off on your Holopin board. This is Siddharth's Holopin board where you can see some of the Hacktoberfest 2023 badges:

Holopin badges

Once you've claimed your rewards and added them to your board, you can showcase your board on GitHub:

Holopin board on GitHub

You can read the Holopin blog for a tutorial on adding your Holopin board to your GitHub profile.

Bonus things

You've signed up for Hacktoberfest, found your projects, contributed four PRs, and claimed your digital badges. Are there other things you can do? Yes!

Join an event

Hacktoberfest has a tonne of events running around the world, both virtually, and in person. Check the Hacktoberfest events board for an event near you.

You'll meet like minded people, and find ideas and projects ready for contributions.

Join HackSquad

HackSquad is a community of developers centered around Hacktoberfest that gamifies your experience a little further. They run plenty of Hacktoberfest themed Discord events, and there's lots of SWAG to be won.

Grab a team, join a team, or start a team and start opening pull requests. There's a leaderboard showing the total number of PRs merged for each team. If you land in the top 60 by the end of Hacktoberfest, you'll win some SWAG.

Get hacking

Well that's everything. You should have all the tools, tips, and information you need to slay the next two weeks of Hacktoberfest. Good luck, and happy hacking.

Top comments (2)

_eduard26 profile image
Eduard Constantin

Hacktoberfest is indeed a great place to start learning new skills, collaborate with other developers, and support the open source projects that we use and love. Great tips and resources to help beginners get started with their first pull requests.

I am also participating in Hacktoberfest this year and I am looking for contributors for my projects on GitHub.

mishmanners profile image
Michelle Mannering

Thanks for sharing ❀️