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An Introduction to Open Source Projects for Beginners With Safia Abdalla (S6E19)

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Did you know that contributing to open source projects can help launch your tech career? Safia Abdalla can highly recommend it.

SafiaWhen Safia was just 10 years old, she would hang out with her friends on a website called Neopets. A lot of kids used the site…but only a few knew you could design a profile page there using HTML and CSS. Safia did, and promptly fell in love with coding because of it. She kept learning in high school and studied computer science in college, which is where she discovered open source.

The first time Safia contributed to an open source project was a nervewracking but empowering moment. It was satisfying to make useful changes to real projects and collaborate with a network of other developers, and she (quite literally) caught the “bug.” Five years later, she's a software engineer at Microsoft and still makes time for open source!

In today's episode, Safia gives an introduction to open source for beginners. She discusses what open source is, how to find your ideal first open source project, methods of communicating about a project, how contributing can pad your resume or turn into a full-time job, and more. Listen below!

Key takeaways

  • Open source projects allow you to collaborate and network with people around the world, and getting started is more accessible than ever.
  • When you’re looking for your first project, seek out one with a supportive community, software you’re familiar with, and good labeling of their issues so you can quickly find bugs to work on.
  • You can communicate with fellow developers via tools like Slack, Hangouts, Discourse forums, or within GitHub.
  • If you want to work on open-source projects full-time, you can monetize it by starting a Patreon or getting a job at an open-source foundation.
  • Add your open source contributions to your resume or website to show companies what you can do! You can also reference them in interviews as examples of how you’d solve certain problems.

Links and mentions from the episode:

Where to listen to the podcast

You can listen to the Learn to Code With Me podcast on the following platforms:

  1. iTunes
  2. Overcast
  3. Stitcher
  4. Spotify

If you have a few extra minutes, please rate and review the show in iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show. I would really, really appreciate it!

You might also like…

My free ebook 28 Ways to Earn a Side Income While Learning How to Code walks you through 28 different side gigs you can do to turn your tech skills into dollars—even if you’re just starting out. Download it for free at learntocodewith.me/sidegig.

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