Any programmer who is still new in programming should know the importance of contributing to open source projects. A good and true developer is a person who not only contributes to established projects but also helps newbies with their problems. The open source community welcomes programmers with their friendly and helpful approach to newcomers.
Ask a developer today, what are the best open source projects to contribute for beginners and you will get so many conflicting answers. You will hear from hardcore developer who got his or her nuts getting an open source project off the ground, or ran a successful company out of their garage, because this is where their passion lies. And one thing all these developers have in common is that they worked on one project and it led them to another and another, until now it’s part of who they are as a person. The same thing can happen to you if you start working on one of these amazing open source projects today.
30 Seconds of Code
In short, this is a repository of easily digestible data that can simultaneously be used to learn and contribute to beginners. This may not be a project that beginners can contribute to, but it is still a great start for people looking to grasp concepts.
Mozilla’s Firefox Source Tree contains dozens of projects on which you can get your hands dirty. Not only they are welcoming new contributors, but they also provide extensive documentation on how to contribute to their projects. Since the whole process seems long, they have a separate and dedicated channel where you can ask doubts and ask for help. On their documentation page, they have a column where they have specially mentioned websites, bugs, open issues, etc. for students and people who want to start contributing to open source.
Contributor Covenant is a code of conduct for open source projects. By signing this code of conduct, the founders of the projects pledge to allow anyone to contribute to their project, regardless of “level of experience, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, personal appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, age, religion, or nationality.”
Although this project has less than 1,000 stars on GitHub, its popularity shows by the more than 10,000 open source project maintainers who have signed the pledge, including Swift, Atom, AngularJS, RVM, Mozilla Webmaker, and the .NET Foundation. Contributor Covenant maintainers are currently looking for non-native English speakers willing to translate the pledge into other languages. If this sounds interesting to you, head over to this GitHub issue.
While programming or building a project we all have used Visual Studio Code, isn’t it? So why not contribute to the software you have a great about! VS Code is a huge open-source software currently having more than five thousand open issues. This means there is a great scope for new beginners to find bugs that they can resolve and open other issues that they find while using VS Code itself. There are many ways in which you can contribute to their project. This can be either by submitting bugs, reviewing source code changes, submitting new feature requests, reviewing documentation and finding typos, or adding new content.
This project is, quite obviously, for GitHub users who are looking to make their first contribution to GitHub. It walks you through the procedural steps that you would have to take to make a contribution to open source projects. After you are done, it will also redirect you to a list of projects you can tackle through their own webpage. It has over 13,200 stars and almost 33,000 forks on GitHub.
DuckDuckGo’s Instant Answers
For those of you who have never heard of it, DuckDuckGo is a privacy-conscious search engine that doesn’t track users. Instant Answers is a feature that provides answers without needing to open up a website.
Hundreds of people have already contributed to their instant answers, and there are plenty more suggestions on their ideas page.
DuckDuckGo offers good documentation to get you started and to recommend new users by creating cheat sheets. If you want to know what DuckDuckGo cheat sheets look like, just go to their website and type in “WordPress cheat sheet” to see the cheat sheet I developed as an example. If you get stuck, you can join their Slack channel and check out their wiki on GitHub.
TensorFlow projects are for those new developers who are interested in Machine Learning and Deep Learning. Beginners should ideally learn from some TensorFlow Tutorials and observe the official models before contributing to any project.
Currently, the GitHub TensorFlow Model Garden contains projects of Natural Language Processing and Computer Vision. These official models are a collection that uses TensorFlow’s high-level APIs and is to be properly curated, tested, and updated to keep up with the latest build. These models are also intended to be properly optimized so that they run the same or faster with each new build.
This powerful Python package is widely used in data manipulation and analysis and if you’re into data science, data analysis, or machine learning, you would have definitely used it. You can also contribute to the project activities as it currently has more than three thousand open issues to be resolved! The project is open to bug fixes, documentation improvements, and bug reports. They have a contributing guide and if the code seems confusing to you at first, try resolving issues in the documentation.
There’s no doubt that Mozilla is one of the leading organizations in the world of open source. Contributing to Mozilla projects may not look easy at first glance—maintainers label beginner-friendly issues appropriately, but they’re hard to find because there are so many of them. Luckily, Josh Matthews has created a simple website called Bugs Ahoy that allows you to search through all of Mozilla’s bug reports to filter them to find the ones that are most relevant to your areas of interest.
There are many projects on GitHub and other similar sources that are aimed at beginners. Some of these are meant to educate by providing you with study materials, while others are more like walkthroughs or practice exercises. Whatever the case may be, these are beginner-friendly projects and often the place to start. However, this is not at all the case in all projects marked as a “good first issue”.
Some of the high-level apps, websites, platforms, and projects also offer work that is fit for beginners. This is mainly because the high-level works are done by people who have the necessary qualifications to do so, but the project is still open-sourced and contains many tasks to be done on all levels of difficulty. Here are some intricate projects that also offer a spot for the newcomers to tackle real issues while learning the ropes.
Zulip is one of the fastest-growing open-source projects on the internet and is an open-source group chat application. It combines instant real-time messaging with the utility of threaded conversations and runs on open-source platforms. The app’s team offers many tasks that a beginner level programmer can perform to learn as well as add to their portfolio.
On Zulip, you can be one of the many contributors to the platform by contributing code as well as performing non-code contributions such as reporting issues, translation, or giving feedback to improve the app. You can also host and run a Zulip server, which runs on many platforms, including Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic, Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial, and Debian 9 Stretch.
Before you dive into contributing, it is essential to choose an Open Source project that you can truly look forward to being involved with. Check out the list of Best Open Source Projects To Contribute For Beginners if you’re new to the world of Open Source Scrum Development.