Words cannot express my joy when I got the notification about the merge above, and I owe it ample time to my current school of Engineering, AltSchool Africa.
Before now, I have been introduced to open source many times, told about the importance in the tech space, and even attended open source conferences (e.g., OSCAFest). I have all the instant excitement to want to start, but imposter syndrome sets in on opening GitHub to create something.
Fast forward to Monday, the 8th of August, 2022, when I watched Bolaji's video on contributing to open source. I felt pumped again, but I wanted to apply what I learned, so I noted some steps.
- I made up my mind I was going to contribute to a project.
- was focused on a site (good first issue) to pick my first project from, which I filtered to suit my skill level. I kept opening the next page till I found one.
- I made sure I was equipped with the required git and github knowledge to get the project done.
After long hours searching for projects, I finally found one titled; Ensure no missing alt attributes. I was to give descriptive alt values to images from the site. Alt values in images help to improve the accessibility of the site such that screen readers can provide a detailed description of the image to, say, a visually impaired person. Easy right? Yes, but if I didn't make up my mind to get the first contribution, I wouldn't find it, and Open source will continue to be a myth to me.
I was still pumped until I discovered it was from MDN; wait, same MDN? As in Mozilla developer? Will they merge my contribution even with how seemingly easy it looks? Imposter syndrome sets in.
Upon checking the issue, I saw that people were already contributing; I summoned courage and started reading about it. Taking my time to read and understand the project and the manner of approaching the issue was another challenge I had to overcome.
The project is as easy as you try to understand it.
So, I started, and I picked two images, to begin with. I gave alt values to them, committed my changes then made a Pull Request. The time between when I made the pull request and when I got the approval mail was full of self-doubts. Should I close the pull request? This is MDN ooo... Well, it's not coding... What if I don't get merged? I might never contribute again. All it took to clear all of the doubts were the emails I got from my reviewer below;
I was indeed delighted, and this spawned me to check for more. It gave me the courage I needed to request to solve issues.
A few lines I'd love you to take home from this article are;
- Open source is for all. Do you see that typo on that site you just visited? You helping to correct it is a way of contributing.
- No skillset is too small. A basic understanding of HTML was what I needed to contribute.
- Only you can stop yourself from contributing.
- The first contribution is all you need to set the ball rolling.
I hope you have been able to pick something from my story and apply it today. This is another space I'd like to keep contributing to, so see you in my next post, and happy open sourcing!!