Getting Out There On The Open Source Code Road

Trayshawn Webb
3 min readMay 1, 2021

I’m officially a software engineer and flatiron alum from their software engineering immersion program, with my graduation within the next few days. I’m seeking to get myself out there and learn more about the industry and how I can become more involved. As I learn more, there is one thing in particular that I’m learning about that I think will help me become a better software engineer and also get me more involved in the industry.

Open source code. “Open-source software is a type of computer software in which source code is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to use, study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.” Most, if not all, open source code projects allow programmers to contribute to their projects, and I’ve recently made an attempt at one. One of the best things about this is you’re actually able to test out your skills while also contributing to a project/code that you may or may not be actively involved in. You can also have your code reviewed and merge with the actual project. My attempt was a draft pull request on Github, which does have to be reviewed before being merge. It hasn’t actually been reviewed yet, but I am looking forward to the review and supporting other open source code projects.

There are couple techniques that you can use on Github when looking to contribute to open source code project. You can use the issues tab when searching on Github, make sure the issue is still open, and select your preferred coding language. It’s best to choose a language you’re relatively good at or at least have some kind of practical experience. You can also use labels when searching for repos with issues that you want to help. One label in particular is great for people like me, #good-first-issue. The label is made by the creator of the issue and usually implies a bug or code that can be solve with relative ease by newcomer. As I continue to put myself out there, I’ll be looking to work on more open source projects with that label to help me get more establish and support other developers.

While Hackathons are not necessarily open source code projects, they are another way to get out there and contribute to code that you’re not directly involved with. I have registered for my first one, “Hack For Your Mother 2021.” I’m looking forward to the experience, particularly since it’ll be close job experience but not a job and involved team work. I’ll be working on a team of people with various coding related backgrounds to work on and/or complete a project. I’m not really sure how I’ll be assigned or if I’ll have to assigned myself, but I think the experience of working on a team will only help further me and skills as work to become a better software engineer.

All in all, I think one of the best ways for people new to the industry to get involved is to actually just get involved where they can and put their coding skills to the test. You can contribute to open source code or participate in hackathon. It’s similar to working because you learn in a group environment and receive feedback. Don’t forget to also work on your algorithm and data structures too, but I’ll save that for another blog. Those are skills you must also master as you put yourself out there in the coding world.

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Trayshawn Webb
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New Orleans native and Universal man still learning, still growing.