Job seeking is really challenging, but if you've talked to me in the last six months and asked me how to find a job, you know that I've mentioned using open source. I know, I know. That can be an overwhelming experience. But hear me out if you're an early career developer.
Contributing to open source allows you to grow your skills in a way that nothing else can. You work with a team, have a proven record of communication with maintainers, show off your code, and developer real and practical skills. Yes, I've built a to-do list too, but chances are you're not going to be a solo-coder building CRUD apps. Exploring existing codebases, taking notes, and contributing will get you far more experience.
Will you have to go out of your comfort zone? Probably. But that's something you're going to have to get comfortable with if you want to be a developer. I can tell you from experience that you should not wait until you land the job to get comfortable with getting out of your comfort zone. It's your new reality if you want a tech career. And if you've been comfortable for a while, it's probably time to push yourself a little harder.
It's worth mentioning that I don't recommend just YOLO-ing across open source projects. A strategic approach will help you to grow and network efficiently; and if there's anything I've learned from the last four years in tech, it's that efficiency rules.
So below you'll find a worksheet to help you identify and talk about your open source work. Because if you're looking for a job, you have to be able to explain what you've done and why in addition to showing the code.
|[Your Contact Info]
|Professional Profile (LinkedIn/GitHub/OpenSauced profile)
|[Links to Profiles]
|Desired Job Role
|[Your Desired Role]
|Key Skills to Develop
|[Skills to Focus On]
|Industry/Area of Interest
|[Frontend, Backend, Fullstack, ML, AI, etc.]
|Open Source Project Selection
|Why This Project?
|[Reasons for Choosing This Project]
|Type of Contribution
|[Code, Documentation, Community Support, etc.]
|Learning and Development
|New Skills Learned
|[List of New Skills]
|[Challenges Faced and Resolved]
|[Meetups, Discussions, etc.]
|[Date of Contribution]
|[Summary of Contribution with Links]
|Feedback Received/Milestones Achieved
|[Feedback and Achievements]
|Networking and Professional Development
|[Contacts Made and Their Roles]
|Insights Gained from Networking
|[What You Learned from Networking]
|Future Networking Opportunities
|[Planned Networking Activities]
|Reflection and Next Steps
|Key Takeaways from This Project
|[What You Learned]
|Areas for Improvement
|[Areas to Work On for Future Projects]
|Next Project/Contribution Goal
|[Your Next Goal in Open Source Contribution]
|Resume and Professional Profile Update
|Updates Made to Resume/LinkedIn
|[Details of Updates]
|Key Accomplishments Highlighted
|[Key Points Highlighted]
|Future Plans for Profile Enhancement
|[Plans for Further Enhancing Your Profile]