How I got started with Open-Source

February 4, 2018

TLDR: I started with documentation instead of waiting for some big idea to get started.

As most developers, I have also been wanting to get started with Open-Source for almost two years with no progress. I went through all star Open-Source GitHub accounts like Sindre Sorhus, browsed through all the tweets and Twitter handles of great developers but was never able to figure out where to get started.

Then one day I saw this git-flight-rules repo featured in GitHub explore of the week newsletter email. The repo seemed pretty new and it was around the same time when I was exploring a lot on how to use git effectively to improve productivity. The repo is a curation of frequently used git commands in the form of documentation.

It started as 'Why not? Let's add what we learned to that repo'.

I forked the repo and added a few topics on using git stash effectively and created a PR (Pull Request). The repo maintainer accepted the PR and sent a note of thanks for the contribution. The sense of satisfaction I got after that couldn't be put into words. I made a few more commits in the following days, and a few weeks later I became one of the top 5 contributors to the repo. The repo now has over 19k stars and 1k forks in GitHub.

So if you want to get started with Open-Source

  • Don't wait for the perfect opportunity. Just pick something from your knowledge base and get started.
  • What you contribute to doesn't matter as long as you get a sense of satisfaction in doing it. It doesn't necessarily have to be a ground-breaking ML algorithm, it can be as simple as a curated set of git commands too.
  • Follow the GitHub explore of the week newsletter to keep tabs on interesting repos.

Since then I have contributed to a few repos and have three npm packages under my belt. I'll be writing about the npm packages in the following posts.