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Open Source Projects

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There’s a gap between learning and playing with a programming language and knowing enough to use the language to build software projects.

How to cross this gap is an interesting problem. You could create small projects of your own. And that’s a great place to start. However, professional coders use source repositories and other tools to organize and backup projects. Learning these tools on your own time may or may not be easy to learn.

Probably the best way to learn the end to end software development process is to join an open source project. Not all projects take beginners, however. And there may not be a project in your programming language that interests you. But it’s worth a try to research if you’re looking to evolve as a coder.

Working on an open source project involves browsing through bug fix requests filed as tickets, picking one to work on, fixing the bug, testing your solution on your computer, then sending your solution code for review. Someone on the project team then accepts or rejects your code. Often they’ll push your code back with suggestions to improve your code before submitting again.

There are steps within these steps. For example, you’ll need to use the project code repository to make a copy of the latest code on to your computer. This requires learning Github or whatever tool the project uses to store and manage their code. If the open source project welcomes beginners, chances are they have documentation to get started.

And, speaking of documentation, many open source projects follow the same process to update and improve their documentation. Learning the software by reading and updating their documentation might be an easy way to get familiar with the project software and tools.

If you’re not scared off yet, the best place to find open source projects that accept beginners is to search online for the phrase c# open source projects for beginners where c# is the language you’re interested to work with. It’s also possible to search Github.com for projects in a specific language using the phrase language:python where python is the language you’re interested in.

Open source projects are a way to learn and be involved with a real software development project without having to get a job. You work for free, of course. But in return you get valuable experience plus the chance to help improve software lots of people use.

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