One of the most famous quotes from JFK is “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” This quote has inspired generations to be more involved in public service. It has inspired us to do more for our country. To be better citizens.
We can also apply the same quote to the software industry.
“My fellow developers, ask not what your community can do for you, ask what you can do for your community.”
Lately, I’ve been thinking of the impact the open source community has in our lives. There are thousands of open source software created by the community. The majority of these professionals do not get paid to work on these projects. They work on those projects because they are solving problems. They enjoy solving those problems. They are not waiting for others to solve those problems.
I want to inspire developers to start contributing back to the community. To help you do that, I have listed 3 easy things you can do to contribute to open source projects:
Currently, the place to go to contribute to open source projects is github. Find a project that interest you. Once you find your project, read the documentation. I have seen many projects without a readme file. Go ahead and create one. If there is a readme file in place, see if you can spot any grammar errors. If you find any issues in the readme file, update the file with your corrections. If you need help getting started with github, read github’s bootcamp tutorial here.
2. Donate Money
Another way to give back to the community is to donate money. Many projects have a donate button in their front page. If you find an interesting project but they don’t have a donate button, get in touch with the project owners. Most likely they will accept donations.
You can also test open source projects. You can play the role of QA tester. Developers don’t do a great job testing their software. For example, web sites are difficult to test because there are so many browsers to test in. You can test the web site with different browsers. If you find any issues while testing, see if you can figure out why it is failing. Open source projects need you for this kind of work.
I hope these words help you find the inspiration to start contributing back to the community. Be a better citizen.