Why should you contribute to open source projects?Breta Hajek
Breta Hajek
Published on Fri Oct 01 2021

Open source code is an important part of almost every programmer. Programming languages like Python, JavaScript and others create a whole ecosystem of open source libraries which plays a crucial role in many commercial applications. Some companies even prefer using open source tools rather than maintaining their legacy software. Therefore it's a good idea to consider giving back to these projects. There are many different ways to support such an effort. This article focuses on one which every developer should consider; contributing to the open-source code!


Other than a good feeling, there are many benefits to this activity. For me, open-source greatly affected my programming career. I would like to share a few points why I think you should try open-source too. Especially for beginner developers, it can be a great learning opportunity. For more experienced developers, it is a opportunity for them to support their favorite tools and making them even better.

Learn to use git, read others code and develop some good developer practices

One of the most obvious reasons is the opportunity to learn new technology or to just polish your skills. By contributing to projects you'll definitely learn how to use git or other types of versioning software. Other than that, you can pick some technology/language which you want to learn and contribute to the project based on that.

With that, you will develop one of the most fundamental skills which is the ability to read the code of others. It will make you understand why good developer habits make your life easier. By reading the others' code you will pick up these habits and learn more about the practical use of your language, library, etc. Some developers are even willing to guide you during the start with the new repository, which helps with gaining new skills even quicker.

Support your favorite tools

Developing new features for your favorite tool/library can sometimes give you the extra push needed for further development. It may attract new users who can also contribute and make the program even better. If nothing else, you will gain a deeper understanding of the inner workings of your favorite library.

Programming is not the only option to contribute. Translating applications into different languages is another option. This action can be relatively simple but can help reach a broader audience. More users can have a positive impact on the continued growth of the app. I personally developed one open-source android app and I am always surprised that some are willing to help with translation without even asking.

Showcase your skills

It’s not always just contributing to other projects, you can also share your code with others. I think that it is always a good idea to publish projects, even without the intention to do any further work on them. You never know who might come across your work. For me, my open-source code attracted a few unique job offers and helped during a few interviews.

Starting with contributing might seem like a daunting task: picking the right repository, finding a place to start. But there are many possibilities that can help you get started. One of them starts in just a few days: Hactoberfest. You can even win some extra swag for your work!

We're always looking for passionate people to join our team at Aptus! If you have a knack for problem solving and enjoy a team-work centered work environment, contact us today!