Newbies also contribute to open source!

Programmer at work
By Crew crew –, CC0,

As a starter in programming, once one encounters the world of “open source”, it can be daunting, if not impossible to contribute to projects. Of course, you’re just starting out and can barely construct a working program in the language you are currently learning.

So, do I have to wait until I am proficient or an expert in my favourite programming language, before I can contribute to an open source project? How can I be a active in the community, and not an onlooker, from the very start?

Easy. Documentation.

I don’t know about others but from my experience, software documentation is often lacking in quantity and quality. I guess because programmers are focused first and foremost on developing working programs, the documentation, manuals, help files, etc. end up having quite a few mistakes, errors and inconsistencies.

So, if you’re new to programming, you may not be able to immediately submit code to that project, but you can always help to improve the documentation. I assure you, this is one area where you can really really make yourself useful, and distinguish yourself as one who brings some value to the table. ‘Cos the documentation is a very important part of any good project.

So, dig in. Clone that GitHub repository and fix any problems you find in the manual.


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