10 things an open source developer should do

In recent years, the open source movement has grown by leaps and bounds and now almost all companies have it. For this reason, more and more organizations need personnel with tools and skills in this area for proper operation.


Mark Atwood commented at a conference in Atlanta that: when you work with open source you have the opportunity to work on something that benefits the world. He also mentioned that in this world you will find great collaborators and even best friends. And something that stood out was that by working in this area, your work is portable and that is a great advantage.

The writer Jason Hibbets raises in his book "The Foundation for an open source city" what are the main open source skills that a person must have to grow in this department. We present some of them:


It is important to learn to write clearly. When you write something, ask several colleagues to read and edit it. Then you can correct it according to the comments received.

It is also important to learn to express yourself, both on the phone and in meetings. Allow people to contact you, provide your email and do not worry about SPAM.


  • Expand your technical skills

Even if you want to work as a Systems Engineer, worry about learning the programming language. Experts recommend learning Python because it is easy to learn and read, and JavaScript because it is everywhere.

Also learn to use a debugger and you will need to train yourself in distributed source code, which today means Git and GitHub.


  • Build relationships and find partners

Open source works because it is a community working together. To start those relationships with the community, start by looking for people close to you to meet them. You can search your workspaces, hacker places, clubs, schools, and bookstores; and then you can expand your horizons around your country and the world. First, learn about them and their projects by searching the Internet.

In turn, you can attend conferences and events, since they are a great way to meet and connect with people.


  • Work hard

Atwood says "you have to do the work before you get the job," and he's right. For this reason, it is advisable to get a project and get involved in it, you can start by reading the questions section and answering some of them or you can get some errors and correct them. Then you can propose to include some function and code it.

With this you will improve your skills and you will be building your credibility, and in the open source world, reputation is very important.


  • Collaborate

Support people from all over the world and start using the tools that each open source project uses. For example, you should familiarize yourself with IRC (Internet Relay Chat), bug trackers, and mailing lists. And believe it or not, using GIT to learn about pull requests and log comment is also an extremely important skill.

It is advisable that you learn to do code review and programming with a partner, because two people will do a better job of coding and you subtract the ego.


  • Build a reputation

In this world you want people to know what you do. Prepare a portfolio of your previous work, your emails, commitments, and other contributions. In this way, you will accompany your portfolio with your curriculum summary.

Keep your social networks updated, especially your LinkedIn profile.


  • Look for the job

Every open source project is linked to a company. Once you've built your reputation, your colleagues will tell you about job openings where your skills fit to fill the vacancy.

In the conferences listen to the speakers when they comment that they are looking for staff or others present will talk about job opportunities. But by no means do you expect the work to come to you on its own.


  • Stay informed

There is no way to keep up with the trends and skills required for the jobs available. But you can learn and inform yourself through blogs, articles, newsletters, social networks, tutorials, podcasts, books, magazines, conferences and events. The important thing is that you do not expect anyone to learn for you, but that you should take the time to find those resources that work for the professional direction you want to take and dedicate your time.


  • Find your market

On many occasions, permanent jobs are those that require a specific set of skills, background, and knowing how to do things can benefit you as a unique; since employees are expected to perform multiple functions.

For example, if you know how to test errors, manage clouds and design applications, you will become a more qualified person to develop future projects, as opposed to three people who handle each of these skills separately.


  • Bring back

Remember that you also started as a beginner. Think if you had a mentor while learning open source and participating in various projects, then now you can do the same for others.

The truth is that nobody is an expert in everything, so when you are teaching someone it is very likely that you will also learn other secrets.

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  1.   Sebastian said

    Good article! although quite summarized, it encompasses everything that a current software developer should take into account 🙂