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How to Find Open Source Projects for Beginners

Open source projects can be a great way for web developers to improve their skill set, and even add to their resume. This article by programmer and Edublogs ambassador Joshua Patt shows you how to find Open Source projects that are perfect for beginner programmers.

This book will teach you the basics of open source projects, a short history of open source and what it is today, where to find great open source software projects and how to use them wisely. If you are a beginner, this book will give you enough information so that you can start your own project or contribute to an existing one.

Visual Studio Code

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.

TensorFlow Models

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.

Mozilla projects

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.

Don’t forget to check the simple bugs filter all the way at the bottom of the filter section!

High-level projects

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.

TypeScript

Microsoft’s TypeScript is a programming language for application-scale JavaScript that adds optional types to support tools for large-scale JavaScript applications. Currently, having close to five thousand open issues, it could be a great place to start since you can encounter all types of issues, be it beginner or expert. As a contributor, you could submit bugs, review source code changes, and contribute to bug fixes. You can also join their Discord community in case you are stuck somewhere!

Zulip

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.

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.

Pytorch Library

It is one of the most famous deep learning and machine learning libraries which is majorly used as a replacement for NumPy and as a deep learning reach platform providing a great deal of flexibility and speed. Since it has a 90-day release period, you can file a new issue if you find a bug. You can also contribute new features, utility functions, or extensions to the core by opening a new PR with discussion. It also has more than five thousand open issues, and therefore it could be a good place to start!

These were some repositories where you could get started with the issues marked for beginners. The projects are maintained by a lot of people who are always there to help. Not only that, but the open-source community is huge and there are people which will help you whenever you get stuck. So get going!

Conclusion

Writing open source software is a wonderful way to hone your programming skills, make new friends, and possibly create something that can change the world. This guide will take you through different steps to finding the right project for you.

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