My open source journey

Open source is flexible

I had as main objective when I started my Coding Experience(CE) to get to grips with C or C++ since I am convinced that understanding one or both languages will help me become a better developer. Cog is developed in C which explained my excitement when I was introduced to the project. The first couple of tasks assigned to me were challenging but quite beginner-friendly.

Like it usually happens to many developers, I got stuck on an issue. After weeks of working on it, I couldn’t complete it. My mentor and I had a couple of meetings/coding sessions which helped me move ahead though not to the point of finishing the work. I could feel that there was a knowledge gap I had to bridge in C which studies and practice hadn’t given me that ability yet. Cutting the long story short I got really exhausted and anxious and suggested to my mentor that we move to something else and revisit this issue later.

After a couple of days, I was presented with a new program that can help me make the most of the CE. It turns out I will be moving back to contributing actively on GJS since there was good progress when I previously contributed to it. The only difference is most of my contributions will be in C++ and will probably include more core stuff.

Most if not all open source communities work to help contributors stay motivated and to keep making progress. For this reason they have very flexible methods of working. It’s a more free culture than you’ll find when building proprietary software. It’s very easy to find situations where a couple of contributors sit down to take their time and come up with a plan that makes the environment more conducive for new contributors. GNOME does this, Igalia and Mozilla too based on my interactions. It makes sense to mention that not everyone gets the opportunity of venturing into open source through Outreachy hence I will be talking later about other opportunities in open source for beginners and a handful of success stories I have come across.

This blog post can be considered a reason why you can start your software development career in open source. You just need to find an organization that meets your needs. By the way Cog 0.12 is soon be released. Release notes will be available here.

Thanks for reading and I will love to hear how flexible you think open source is in the comments and how this has helped you make progress. Please do not forget to like, share and subscribe and let’s connect on twitter and linkedIn.

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