A social post that went viral recently stated that if you are junior and not contributing to your green squares, you have no chance of getting a job. The tweet forced many developers with jobs to respond, but they need to respond to how hard it is to get a job today as a junior or laid-off mid-level developer.
Right now, green squares represent someone's work in open source. Squares are not a representation of a developer's resume, and to further make the point, it is also confirmed by the defunkt co-creator of the contribution graph himself.
So if the contribution graph is not a measurement of one's skill, are we left to become Creator X influencers in hopes of a giant paycheck from Elon instead of that sweet 6-figure engineering money?
image credit devagrawal09 on x.com
Building influence is a beautiful way to stand out, but in a market trending towards more layoffs, we can agree that an X following is not an excellent measurement of a developer's skill.
I suggest we shift focus to Moneyball, a term popular because of Brad Pitt.
The concept of Moneyball emphasizes the use of advanced statistical analysis, particularly sabermetrics, to identify undervalued and overlooked players in Major League Baseball. The Oakland Athletics popularized this concept in 2002 to win 103 games.
Like baseball, programming can apply frameworks to speed up the paths to success, ultimately leading to a sooner endgame. Developers looking at contribution graphs with a lot of green squares to one without a lot of greens is simply pattern matching. For a while, that was a great way to hire for your startup until it wasn't.
The problem is that green squares are like home runs; the more you have, the more you are noticed, but once anyone looks closely, the deepest green of squares could be nothing but performance-enhancing cron jobs.
Green squares are a framework and they no longer hold value because they encourage the wrong metrics. Just like the introduction of the pitch clock, players need to adapt to stay relevant. Open source continually adapts and shifts with industry trends.
For those not aware, In September 2022, Major League Baseball announced a new pitch timer that would significantly increase the speed at which the game is played.
With new tools, languages, and frameworks coming out all the time—even the newest developers are months from achieving greatness with mentorship from suitable project veterans.
At OpenSauced, we have been working on a way to highlight a developer's skill and expertise. Just like looking at the back of the baseball card for stats, you should see the highlights of the developer pretty quickly. This is only our first pitch at this, but it is broader way to showcase your contributions (in open source).
At this point, we can say that the data helps to show where people are participating, but the highlights show what they’re most proud of.
Highlights allow contributors to share:
- The work they’re most proud of.
- Their ability to clearly communicate their work and accomplishments.
- The ability to identify their most impactful work.
- They variety of work they’re doing. (Do you need a utility player? Someone that can write, create good issues, and PR like a boss? Or do you want someone who swings for the fences and is dependable for creating features in high-stakes situations?)
If you find your profile lacks contribution, get some quick hits by checking our #100daysofOSS challenge to level yourself up quickly.
We’ve seen it time and again. Open source is more than code—it's a journey of growth and opportunity. Your contributions reverberate far beyond lines of code; they forge connections, foster mentorship, and move you towards new and unexpected pathways. So, keep collaborating, innovating, and contributing—because the world of open source is not just about code but the opportunities it unlocks for your personal and professional journey. For example, Sunday’s open source journey that led to his role at OpenSauced.
Events like Hacktoberfest emphasize getting enough contributions within the month to earn a reward, but we need to develop the idea of a tangible reward. Part of it is the career, but it takes the journey to get there. You grow in skills, have the opportunity to learn together, build your reputation, and expand your network so that you’re never without a chance, support, and personal fulfillment.
Look beyond the fences of open source and put yourself in a place to knock it out of the park.