How Can I Contribute To Open-Source?

A high level guide on how to get started

Nate Geslin
4 min readJan 12, 2022
Photo by Ian Taylor on Unsplash

In my very first software engineering interview I remember a question that was asked. “What is one thing you’d like to accomplish in the next 5 years?”

My answer was “Contribute to open source”. At the time, I had no idea what that even meant.

I hear about it all the time. Hell, half the internet (or more) is built on top of open source software. Surely there are projects that need help. I could help, right?

What Is Open-Source

Wikipedia defines open-source as:

Computer software that is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to use, study, change, and distribute the software and its source code to anyone and for any purpose — Wikipedia

Find A Project

There are many different kinds of open-source projects, in all kinds of different languages. The first step to contributing to open-source is finding a project that needs help.

GitHub suggests adding a dedicated file to a repository that documents the contributing process. If a repo has this file, it’s likely there will accept contributors. Open-source projects can be found in places other than GiHub, too.