Open source software plays such a huge part in creating modern applications. So many great products are created from the building blocks of OSS. I‘ve been fortunate enough to be part of the core team on a fairly popular open source project. Through it I gained insight into the world of OSS.
There are many existing projects out there that could use some additional help, but it can be tricky to figure out what the first step might be. I decided to work on a project that I used frequently, but resources like www.firsttimersonly.com and up-for-grabs.net can help point you in the right direction.
For those not familiar with the project, Chakra UI is a component library for React. Chakra UI focuses on being accessible, easily composable, and themable. It is the library we landed on at my company after evaluating many others. My intention was never to be part of the core team, but a little work and some consistency got me noticed by the creator of Chakra UI.
I started by working on issues that were reported and creating PRs with the fix. This helped me get a better understanding of the codebase, while being focused with a specific task at hand. After I got my bearings, I started adding value to conversations on Github and providing more context and answers to the questions that were coming in. Being able to triage stuff helped take some load off the maintainers, and the responsiveness was positive for the community. After a while the creator of Chakra UI, Segun Adebayo, reached out and thanked me for all that I have contributed to the project so far, and asked if I would be interested in joining the core team. It was an easy ‘yes’ from me.
One of my biggest takeaways from being involved with the project is how many talented developers there are around the world. It was a privilege to work alongside such smart and humble people who were as passionate about building things as me. These connections wouldn't have been made if it wasn't for Chakra and its community.
I encourage anyone with some interest to give OSS a try. All it takes is one pull request to get the ball rolling. Whether it's fixing a bug, helping out with the documentation, or adding new features, your effort is truly valuable. It's a great way to gain some new skills and meet amazing people along the way.