What’s the best way to boost your programming skills and show potential employers that you have what it takes to build an app, service, or website? For many tech professionals, the answer to that question is simple: participate in an open-source project.
By contributing vital code and working with others to craft something useful, you’ll show you have the programming and teamwork chops to succeed in pretty much any environment.
Participating in open-source projects is particularly useful for those just starting out in their tech careers. While you might not have much formal experience, listing your open-source contributions on your resume and profiles (along with links) is a great way to demonstrate your skills and passion for hiring managers and recruiters.
But which open-source projects should you join? If you’re specializing in a particular technology or programming language, such as Python or machine learning, it’d be helpful to participate in related open-source projects. But if you’re just looking for something fun—or if you’re curious about a particular type of emerging technology, such as automation, GitHub’s annual Octoverse report has a breakdown of the most contributor growth. Here it is:
“Engines, kits, and frameworks saw some of the highest year-over-year growth in overall contributors,” read GitHub’s note accompanying the list. “In particular, the home-assistant/core project grew quickly over the past year showing a growing interest among developers in home automation.”
Another insight, according to GitHub: “One interesting insight: The digital art generation engine HashLips/hashlips_art_engine and NFT tooling project metaplex-foundation/metaplex saw significant growth—and both have roots in the NFT (non fungible tokens) space, which rose and fell in popularity throughout 2022.”
Meanwhile, the following open-source projects had the most first-time contributors:
“Developers making their first-time contributions to open source projects on GitHub overwhelmingly favored larger, company-led repositories in 2022—and this includes developers inside and outside the companies behind those projects,” the report added. “That underscores how businesses are using OSS to scale faster, gain greater visibility, and engage with a much larger pool of developers.”
Whatever your interests, don’t be afraid to contribute to an open-source project. It’s one of the best learning experiences you can have in tech.