Do you have what it takes to contribute to an Open Source project? The short answer is yes.

Here’s how I know: this challenge was successfully overcome during this past month by the interns of the Nearsoft Academy.

Here are some of the highlights of what we did. And you can do it, too.

One of the most nerve-racking experiences as an intern at the Nearsoft Academy is the Open Source Phase. We are challenged to contribute code to renowned Open Source projects while we are still in training.

This sort of collaboration was new for most of the interns in my generation. How are we going to do this?

The answer is to jump into action and start working on an issue. Talking to the people behind the big projects will help you understand how you can get started.

Submitting Pull Request

Thirty one pull requests were submitted and 14 of them were approved into large scale projects.

It is not necessary to be a programming genius to be capable of participating in an Open Source community. Anyone can participate, there are plenty of different ways to contribute.

Most of the projects may seem daunting at first. But it is important to remember that Open Source software needs contributions from all types of expertise and skills, like yours.

Everyone Can Contribute to Open Source

The contributions made by the interns of the Nearsoft Academy included a large span of different languages and technologies. Here are some of them,

  • A bug in JHipster was found and fixed in order to display the correct numbers of users when creating a project by subtracting the number of “anonymous users.”
  • In Gitlab, documentation readability was improved by removing unnecessary sentences for return codes in the API documentation. A placeholder was added inside the pop-up when the user creates a new label.
  • An example of how to use hashed sessions and servlets was added for embedded Jetty.
  • In Ruby on Rails, a bug was identified and fixed to correct the output from Rails routes when using singular resources.
  • JUnit was the open source project that received the largest contributions. Most of them focused on improving readability in both code and documentation by removing unnecessary modifiers and boxing, as well as changes in the Javadoc references.
  • Finally, several broken links were fixed in the documentation of Materialize, Hibernate, and Arduino that were very welcomed by the maintainers.

Finally …

Open source culture is all about giving back to the community that has provided you with everyday tools for your projects.
It feels naturally right to pay it forward by making improvements tools you may have used.
Even the smallest contribution helps an Open Source project to become as solid as possible.
As a developer, Open Source projects are definitely a must-do if you are looking for a hands-on experience that will challenge your technical and soft skills. Since these projects have been built under very rigorous standards, you will learn best practices and interact with state of the art technology.