Contributing as a beginner

Hi there,

I was wondering how I can start contributing to projects or helping other engineers with easy stuff. I understand (at a basic level) git and github now and have begun learning shell scripting in my software engineering course - so I know next to nothing but am keen to start getting involved.

Is that possible or is it too soon? And if I could get amongst it now, how do you find things to be a part of or people to offer your assistance to?

Thanks!

Hi @Karoline !

If you want to get started with open source, I would suggest looking into repos with issues marked Help wanted, first timers only or good first issue.
Issues marked with first timers only or good first issue are usually beginner friendly.

freeCodeCamp is open source.
You can start there.

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Amazing! Thanks @jwilkins.oboe. I’ll scope out fCC for some beginner friendly issues.

Here is one of our repos with some beginner friendly issues

Also, if you want to go through some of the newly released courses and find typos or code mistakes that would be good too.

The latest courses released on freeCodeCamp have been the responsive web design beta version and the relational database course on vs code and docker.

A lot of people have been contributing by finding typos and small code errors.
And even accessibility issues.

That is a good way to get started.

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If anyone is following along here, I also found this helpful post: How to Contribute to Open Source Projects – A Beginner's Guide

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Not to be a downer, but I might suggest that with that level, it’s going to be hard to find ways to pitch in. I think there aren’t going to be a lot of open source projects based on shell scripts. I don’t know, there might be places like these.

I understand the enthusiasm to contribute, but I might suggest you will help yourself and others by just continuing to learn so you can contribute in the future.

Plus, just as a warning, the open source world can be chaotic and uninviting at times.

I don’t want to break your enthusiasm, just help you find realistic expectations. And maybe I’m wrong - let us know if you find something.

Kevin, for a few reasons I won’t bore you with, this might actually be just what I needed to read. There’s plenty of time to be ‘on the team’ later, and I already feel like I’m drinking from the fire hydrant. Appreciate this tactfully delivered dose of realism.

Yeah, there is always the danger of trying to do too much too fast and getting discouraged. It’s a good goal, and look around for opportunities, but your primary focus should be learning.

I noticed your other post about getting a late start in coding. I didn’t start FCC until my late 40s, so anything is possible.

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There are ways to get engaged and contribute even if you don’t think you’re ready to make code changes yet.

  • Join communities. This forum is a great example, but you might find communities for other tools that you use. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll see people asking questions you can help with!
  • Create issues against your favorite OS projects when you encounter a bug. When you do this, take the time to maximize your helpfulness. Check the open issues to see if it’s already been reported. Follow the project’s guidelines on how to format issues and what to include. Provide as much detail on reproducing the bug as possible.
  • Look at existing reported issues and see if you can help. You might not be able to fix a bug yet, but maybe you can try to reproduce the bug and provide additional information. Maybe you’ll see a mistake that the reporter made and tell them how to address it, so the maintainers don’t have to waste time investigating a false bug report.
  • Contribute documentation improvements. Maybe you noticed a typo in the documentation, or something that is missing an example. Depending on how the project’s documentation is structured, this might even get you familiar with using Git to submit changes.
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@ArielLeslie , I really like how practical and easy these suggestions are, while also being actually useful in the world. Thank you.

Since posting this I’ve actually been pretty overwhelmed by my course - moving from shell scripting into C (whoa) and having to write and publish technical blog posts along the way. Hopefully C starts to click in soon and I’ll have a few extra minutes in my day to make some more meaningful contributions.

Yeah You can start with Help Wanted kind of posts if still not working there are many more platforms similar to this you can try as many platfomrs as much you can

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