Contribute to the Community

by Tobias Timm / July 22nd 2019

GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket, Reddit, Twitter, Slack, Teams, and Discord. These are the familiar tools and websites for a developer. We are browsing through the web every day and are stunned by a new shiny open-source software or library. As a software developer, it is entirely reasonable to make use of this tremendous open-source community. Unfortunately, some people aren’t even thinking about giving something back.

Many people have good reasons not to contribute. Family, no need to sit in front of the computer again after 8 to 10 hours of work or their free time is just fully booked – just to show some of the reasons. And that is fine!

I’m a developer for 6+ years and haven’t thought about giving anything back. I was busy learning new stuff or just too lazy to do some extra work.

When I moved from Hamburg to Augsburg in December 2018 to start my new job at ProSiebenSat.1, I thought about my whole career outside of my daily job. Is contributing to the community only about making a pull request on GitHub? No! There must be another way.

I heard the first time about in Hamburg. For those who have never heard about it, Meetup is a service used to organize online groups that host in-person events for people with similar interests.

There are a lot of meetups for developers. I signed up for several ones, but the motivation before the event was so low that I signed off every time.

Sitting in my new room in Augsburg, I rethought the whole situation and discovered something called NodeSchool.

NodeSchool is a global open-source organization, run by volunteers. These are in-person hosted workshops, usually free, in which participants themselves are “used as curriculum” and mentors help attendees work through the challenges.

I thought: “I can do that. I’ve been a web developer for several years!”. So, I contacted the organizers to apply as a Mentor for the NodeSchool in Augsburg. This was the point where I set the ball rolling.

Since the first NodeSchool Augsburg event, I’ve met a lot of great people, started as a Co. Organizer for the NodeSchool Munich and other meetups and even began to share my knowledge as a speaker.

You don’t need to contribute to the most starred repository or be a developer of a fancy framework to do something. With events like NodeSchool, Women in Tech, Programming for Kids , and many more you can help people, getting started or getting an interest in IT.

We recently hosted the 10th version of NodeSchool Munich at ProSiebenSat.1. And hosting a meetup isn’t that much of a hassle – In the worst-case scenario, all you need to do is offering a room and maybe some drinks and food.

After the meetup, we got great feedback and people being thankful for what you are doing is one of the best experiences you can get.

Knowledge sharing is one of the essential things in a developer’s life. Emma Wedekind, for example, started a service called Coding Coach, a place where people can get help if they are stuck or in need of a good mentor. Being a mentor doesn’t take a certain amount of skills and will also help you to improve yourself.

Being a software developer is my cherished dream, and despite how hard and exhausting the work sometimes is, I don’t want to do any other job. This love and this passion, I want to share with everyone.

If you are thinking the same, forget about GitHub, forget about GitLab, give people a hand.

In other words, there are more than enough ways to contribute to the community. Being a mentor, starting a blog, hosting meetups, writing documentation, being active in a discord/slack group, report bugs, give feedback, and many more.

Don’t consume the community only. Be a part of it!