How to contribute to Open source
4 min read
Our civilization runs on software. And guess what? Most critical software systems directly or indirectly rely on open-source software.
From the early days of Linux and MySQL, open source has been driving innovation. As of November 2021, GitHub reports having over 73 million developers and more than 200 million repositories (including at least 28 million public repositories).
So, why should you contribute to open source?
There are many reasons why contributing to open source is an excellent idea for software developers, especially if you are a junior developer.
- Open-source is a great way to build your street cred and confidence as a developer.
- Another reason you should contribute to open source is to gain relevant real-world experience. Working with existing open-source projects allows you to work with other developers as a team, collaborate on an issue, work on the existing codebase, etc., similar to working on a real job.
- Developers like to connect with other developers who have similar interests. Open source projects are a great way to build your professional network.
At Tublian, we care about building an online presence for software developers because if you don't exist online, you don't exist at all 🤟
Before you jump in and join the beautiful open source community, there is something you should know.
Hard things about Open source
Contributing to open source can be intimidating. You have to build a strategy. Let me break down the process for you.
Find the right project - There are around 28 million public repositories so picking up the project to work on is very important. Usually, the trick is to find something based on your interest (programming languages, frameworks, etc.). There are plenty of resources that list open source projects for contributions. For example, first contributions lists projects suitable for new contributors.
Determine the project's health - Not every open source project is actively maintained or suitable for new contributors. So you must find something with an active community of contributors and engagement. Look at the list of open issues. Is there an active conversation happening?
Picking up the right issue - Best way to get started with an open-source project is to pick up a low-hanging fruit, such as a documentation fix, bug, or first-time issue. This way, you can quickly add value to the project and build trust from existing team members and contributors. Here is an excellent resource to find a "good first issue" to work on.
Communicate and submit your contribution - Communicate with the project team. Announce that you are picking up the issue so no one else will. Finally, submit a pull request with your contribution.
It is quite an involved process, but the good thing is there is plenty of excellent "how-to" guides on the internet to help you out.
In Tublian, we try to make this process bit simpler.
Tublian way to open source
In Tublian, we try to do all the work possible so that you can be successful with your contribution. Let's take a look.
Find the right project - Go to projects to find open source projects that might spark your interest. Internally, Tublian scan through a collection of repositories to bubble up projects matching your interest and preference so that you don't have to.
Determine the project's health - Tublian can scan through an open-source repository and determine its well-being for you. Currently, it looks into two things, documentation and weekly activity. Both are good indicators of the health of an open-source project.
Picking up the right issue - Tublian scans all the open issues and picks up the ones suitable for new contributors. It also checks for the status to ensure it is available for contribution.
Communicate and submit your contribution - This is where you shine. All the above steps are automated so that you can find the right project and issue to work on in less time. You can tap into the Tublian community and our discord channel to ask for help, find a pair partner, or bounce ideas as you work through the issue.
If you are completely new to Github, start here.
Or take the first contribution challenge on Tublian.
All the best! If you need help or have questions, you know where to find us.