Software systems to innovate and grow

Giving back to the open source community

By Carlos Taborda September 12, 2016 10 mins read

Your quality of life is literally in the hands of those who contribute to the open source community.

It’s easy to take for granted our current level of modernity. Look around you, your life is deeply influenced by technology that is in its infancy. But where does it all come from?

You might say, large corporations and government. But you’re wrong.

Most of the micro software components that run on these brand name devices, are invented, built, and maintained by a handful of people in the world, working to benefit us. The open source community.

If you think about it, everything from your iPhone, android, tablet, home security system, bluetooth head phone, smart watch, all the way to your online banking, stock purchasing, and the very internet you are using to read this article, runs on open source software.

Well, you see. The problem is, we need smart people like you, to help out, and here’s some ways of how to do it.

We’re all busy

We are all busy, I know.

You are probably working 12 hour days every week, and are looking to find some work-life balance. How in the world would you find time?

As in anything in life, whatever you make a priority, you will accomplish.

But today I want to show you some examples of people who are contributing to the community in their own ways. These are people I’ve personally met, and share their stories on our podcast Tech People.

As you will read from them, you don’t need to be the inventor of a brand new framework, sometimes all you need to do is have an opinion, feedback, and more more.

Examples of people who are giving back to the community

Jeff Whelpley from Get Human

In a recent episode, Jeff and I sat down to discuss how a busy CTO gets the time to give back to the open source community. In fact, it was his interview that triggered my interest in writing this very article.

As I said, Jeff’s day job is being the CTO at GetHuman, long story short, he’s a busy guy.

But he still finds ways to give back co the community:

  • He runs a live podcast called AngularAir, where he invites some of the world’s authorities on Angular.js as a panel to discuss the latest happennings in the Angular.js world.
  • He is also active in the Boston javascript community, and gives back to the community with his (and Patrick Stapleton’s) open source project called Angular Universal.

Kyle Ledbetter from Teradata

Kyle is a UX Architect at Teradata. A company with over 10,000 employees.

Kyle is so passionate about the open source community, that he made it a company initiative to start an open source project, and putting Teradata behind it.

His project is called Covalent, which is a UI library built on top of angular 2.

This is no small project, but it sure shows determination when you get an initiative such as this to one define your career.
Ari Lerner and Nate Murray

Ari and Nate, are our education partners. However, these guys love educating others so much, that they made it their career.

They made an entire career educating others. Aside of contribution to many open source libraries, they are very prevalent in speaking at conferences and writing blog articles.

You can check out their articles at ng-book’s blog and also Fullstack React blog, plus at ng-newsletter.

Patrick Stapleton

I actually have not met Patrick, but I hope to have him on my show sometime soon.

But Patrick has built such a strong brand educating others and also in the work he does with Angular Universal, that he stands out as a leader in the javascript world.

How about you read some of the articles Patrick has written and give him some feedback. That’s a good way to help!

How I’m giving back to the community in my own way

You get the picture. You don’t need to invent HTTP, you don’t need to be Linus Trovalds.

You just need to participate, whether you are creating content for others, or validating the content other people are creating.

Now, here’s some ways we at Gistia, and myself personally are contributing to the open source community.

Tech People

Every week I interview leaders in the Tech World, and share their stories.

This is a very rewarding process, I get to meet amazing people, and learn from them.

I recently had a senior technical leader from NASA come do the show, imagine that.

Javascript at Work

Similar to Tech People, Javascript at Work is a podcast where I talk to real practitioners who are implementing JavaScript at Work, their experiences, the good and the bad, and lessons we can all learn from them.

Blogging with our team

We made it an employment policy.

All engineers need to write at least 1 article per month, that’s their quota.

It makes each of our engineers be involved with giving back to the community, share their experiences and become better engineers.

Finding ways for you to give back

If you’re read this far, you are probably overwhelmed. But you shouldn’t worry.

There are very low hanging fruit ways for you to participate. Here’s 3 ideas to get you started this week.

  1. Go support local a meetup
  2. Find interesting Gittr channels
  3. Answer questions on stackoverflow or Quora

Here’s some more ideas

Here are two excellent resources to give you some specific ideas of how you can also participate.

[https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-participate-or-contribute-in-open-source-projects]

https://guides.github.com/activities/contributing-to-open-source/