6 open source careers you can develop into

Over the years you can see how open source is maturing and has been turning from a movement to a possible career. Today, open source software is found in almost all areas of technology and this has allowed different careers - not just developers - to collaborate in the development of projects of this type.


Professionally, there are a number of careers in which you can be involved with open source. These are the most popular and emerging:

  1. Community Manager

He started quickly with projects that were beginning to grow. These community managers are usually part of the project and know it very well. They understand the open source culture, have project management skills, and can manage a team. They even organize training courses, conferences, planning sessions, etc. And they usually intervene and handle everything that is necessary for the project to be successful.

To learn more about Community Managers it is recommended to read "The Art of Community" by Jono Bacon or "Companies and Communities" by Dawn Foster.


  1. Documentation

This is one of the most critical open source areas for new and current developers. Documentation is a great place for someone new to get involved, and it's a great place to learn about a project. This will allow the volunteer to write about a small portion of the code, soak up this culture, and grow from there.

  1. Legal

Legal roles have quickly evolved into open source licenses that introduce nuances to the practice of license law. Within a company, attorneys must provide guidance on open source use, compliance, contributions, and policy making. This person is usually a traditional lawyer who learned about the use of open source in the company and grew up on the subject.

Legal community teams can be found at the Software Freedom Conservancy or the Free Software Foundation, who help projects and developers with questions such as license compliance. Private practice attorneys often consult with startups, large companies, and projects on open source matters. You can learn more on the subject in books like "A Practical Guide to Opening Code Licenses" by Heather Meeker.

  1. Marketing

The commercialization of open source is a very important role and it comes in various forms. Marketing a company that sells a product based on open source is one way, since it is necessary to articulate why products based on open source are innovative and how risks can be mitigated.

Open source projects often need commercialization, but they tend to reject it. Promotion can help you get funding, recruit more contributors, and connect with more users.

Finally, the open source movement has to publicize and market its victories and successes. For this reason, foundations such as the Linux Foundation and the OpenStack Foundation have been created that contribute in this regard and we can all contribute as well.


  1. Education and journalism

Today, there is still a need to educate on how open source works, how to participate in it and the associated risks. Education is a role for those who are passionate in this area and are good communicators.

Another form is technology journalism, where the same communities contribute to themselves. There are some journalists like Deb Nicholson and Rikki Endsley, who shine on open source issues and events; and traditional ones like Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols and Swapnil Bhartiya, who have become a part of the community and help raise awareness of open source and its credibility.

  1. Open Source Office Leader

This has become one of the new and emerging functions: running the open source office of a company. And they have different names in each company such as open source programs, the open source strategy, among others. Whoever is in this position has the role of coordinating all aspects of open source in a company and they are the key contacts for the organizations in this area and their foundations.

For each company, the focus will depend on the business reasons. One company may want to use open source development methodology to break down silos, others to focus on task fulfillment and even drive awareness of the company's open source work.

This person should feel comfortable changing the speed and movement of legal issues, and another day in engineering tools. It should also be someone willing to be a change agent and who can encourage traditional companies to look to open innovation. Some examples are Chris DiBona at Google, Ibrahim Haddad at Samsung, Imad Sousou at Intel, and Guy Martin at Autodesk.


These are just a few. The open source community has other roles like translation, testing, and event planning, and we invite you to dig into those as well.

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  1.   jathan said

    Your article is very interesting. I hadn't thought about some of these career possibilities with Free Software. A good thing would be to easily find companies that value or are looking for jobs related to them. In Mexico I have not seen something like this for now and it would be very desirable to work in a place with those virtues beyond the administration of systems with GNU / Linux, which is what I find most about job offers.

    1.    Jesus Perales said

      If here in Mexico they only care if it is free or that it works xD

  2.   Luis Contreras said

    And each of them has enough to sharpen it and thus consolidate free software.