Open-source software is greatly beneficial for both users and developers. Successful and innovative companies use and support open-source as part of their strategy.
There are many benefits you can get by participating in open-source, namely:
Get development experience
Open-source software allows you to gain experience working with others. When you write open-source code, it's easy for you to receive feedback and reviews to help improve your code.
Working in open-source means you can work with developers in a team. You will also have to deal with users facing bugs and issues with your software and requesting new features. This will help you develop soft skills to help you become an even better developer.
Have people help out with projects
Maintaining a codebase by yourself can be a demanding task. Luckily, if you make your project open-source, that opens up the opportunity for anyone to contribute to your code.
Other people can open pull requests that fix bugs, improve documentation, enhance a feature, and add new functionality to your project. This means you don't have to do everything by yourself.
And when you find that you want to explore other things and don't want to maintain your project anymore, you can hand off your project to the community so they can continue the work you finished.those
Land work opportunities
Being active in the open-source world can grant you connections and help you land job offers easier.
If you've made a popular or valuable open-source project, employers can see that project on your GitHub profile. Your important contributions to popular OSS projects will also be visible on your profile. This will make you stand out well among other candidates.
Having a portfolio where your work can be seen by anyone is a massive boost. Open-source contributions are worth even more than certificates. Your GitHub profile is your new resume.
Speaking from my personal experience, open-source can help you land a job. When I applied for my job, I had zero prior work experience, no internships, nor a degree. All I had was some experience working with teams building open-source software. Regardless of my lack of experience, my company recognized the skills I built from participating in open-source and I was able to successfully break into tech.
There are open-source devs who are also professionals working in tech. If you collaborate and form a good standing with them, they may even give a referral for you to their company!
Receive support through donations
If your project takes off very well and multitudes of people start using your project, some users may start donating to you. This can be very motivating for you to continue maintaining your projects.
If your projects become valuable enough to companies, they may even start sponsoring you.
Where to start
If you want to get started on contributing to open-source, here are 40+ beginner-friendly open-source projects you can help out to kickstart your open-source journey. Or contribute to OSSPH's projects on GitHub by taking a look at the open issues and making pull requests.
About the author
Angelo Fallaria is a technical writer at OSSPH, a software engineer at Sofsafe, and the core maintainer for Waycrate. Angelo is passionate about Linux and open-source software. In his free time, Angelo contributes to and writes open-source projects. Visit Angelo's website here to learn more about his work and interests.