For the developers who have not yet started with the open source journey, you might wonder, how important is open source contributions? And, are people actually doing it?
Let’s look at the data after a survey conducted by Black Duck 10th Annual Future of Open Source Survey, "65 percent of companies are contributing to open source projects, up from 63 percent in 2015."
Linux, as we know, is one of the world’s most successful open source projects with 22 million lines of code, 13594 developers from 1300 companies have contributed since 2005, and 5062 developers from nearly 500 companies have contributed in the last 15 months.
That’s for sure is a huge number!
So, why are people doing it? What is their motivation? And why should you do it?
Open source is the future
I bet you it would be difficult to come across a startup whose venture funding is not based on open source. Open source isn't a whim, not a group of high school kids doing something random on their Mac.
Open source is how modern organizations and increasingly more traditional organizations build software. Google is one of the largest promoters of open source. Another name is Python Software Foundation. Its sole mission is to promote, protect, and advance the Python programming language, and to support and facilitate the growth of a diverse and international community of Python programmers.
It's becoming exceedingly challenging to make the argument that five-or-ten years from now the technology landscape is going to be less collaborative and more closed. Open Source is no longer the future, it’s already here, in the present.
To save time on maintenance and development
Every developer wants to work on cool new projects; everyone shrinks away from maintenance of legacy code.But you cannot shoot maintenance out, so you need an in-house team member for that or outsource it. Open source can save you all that burden, where people from other companies who are using your code will fix your issues for you.
It’s not only maintenance but same applies to development as well.
In the 2015 version of the Black Duck survey, the number one reason why organizations said that they contribute to open source was to reduce development costs. Open-sourcing an in-house application gives an organization access to a large pool of developers. That increases their contributor pool by a huge multiplicative factor and reduces the burden on the present staffs.
Modular and robust
Open source projects tend to be more modularly architected, which makes it more robust. Generally, while building a software, you have a single requirement in mind and therefore you might consider a single use case. This causes problems later on when your requirements changes.
Open source, on the other hand, is by default built for a variety of users and use cases. Thus the code becomes cleaner, flexible and easily maintainable. This is very important if you keep the long-run modifications and maintenance in mind.
Helps in your career
Open source projects allow you to work on real-world projects and not the typical college project which is mostly for formality. You learn various things like teamwork, quality control, how to submit patches in mission-critical applications and how to submit code for review etc.
And trust me this is important as a programmer.
We have seen people who did open source contributions were at a much much better stand than those who decided to get done with their graduation and then look for a company to train them in relevant technologies.
If you are interviewing at any major production company and you tell them that you committed a lot of critical commits into Docker, you definitely have an edge over the other candidates.
Most recruiters agree that their major hiring source is referrals. If you are referred by someone who is already working at a particular company, you already have made an impression, especially this is very much applicable in case of startups.
Open Source Contributions does exactly that. It helps you build the network. Participating in bigger projects allows you to network with others and that can help you get a job faster.
Also, nowadays companies look for people who are passionate about what they do rather than someone with a flashy resume or pedigree. Your contributions to OSS becomes one of the most visible way to measure your contributions outside of work and get discovered. Suppose you have done 500+ commits in GitHub in the last year, you are already game.
In fact, while recruiting new experts to our interview panel, our team focuses a lot on their various open source contributions and it surely adds some bonus points. If you are interested in tech, you can check out the interviews with our amazing expert panel from here.