This is a question I first asked myself when enrolling in the course. A few weeks later I was swept up in the open source community, through DPS909. This question was one of many I would find myself asking in this course, as I continued to dive deeper into the world of open source. I learned a lot about what open source is, how to contribute to it, as well as the benefits of open source, and began using this knowledge to make a contribution of my own. It is unbelievable that only a few months ago I didn’t know what open source was, to now where I have multiple contributions and pull requests under my belt.
What I’ve learned
You never know what you’re going to get with open source, and I think thats the beauty of it. Open source is an umbrella category for thousands upon thousands of projects, all with their own unique attributes, allowing a project for everyone regardless of the specifics. I learned about how diverse the world of open source is, and just how easy it is to begin contributing. The key is about communication and asking questions, as the world of open source is inviting to contributors, and are happy to help. This alone was one of the biggest differences compared to what I expected. Not that I expected everyone to be unhelpful, but I did not expect people to be so welcoming and accommodating to someone so unfamiliar with the system.
There were a lot of ups and downs in my open source development so far, and a lot of lessons learned throughout these up and downs. The most important lesson I learned was the importance of communication; in almost every open source project, people are working remotely, and there is a small amount communication between contributors, communicating effectively is the best way to ensure requirements are clear and logical. Being an effective communicator in open source is debatably one of the most important aspects of being an open source developer for getting involved, asking questions, pitching ideas, and understanding requirements. This is a lesson I will continue to keep, and to practice to ensure that I am communicating well with others on the project, and can continue to make meaningful contributions. My next steps from here are to continue my contributions, and stay familiar with projects I have worked on. I am very interested in Project Allium, a blockchain based python program, and will continue my development on their system, and continue to create pull requests.
Open source was nothing like I thought it was going to be, and that was a good thing. Open source pleasantly surprised me with how interesting it was, and the availability of cool projects to work on. I got my butt kicked by Hacktoberfest, as well as releases 0.3 & 0.4, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, I learned a lot about developing in open source, and managed to gain some experience at the same time. This was an amazing experience and I look forward to continuing this journey in open source development.
Mom! I’m an open source developer!