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Ritul Singh
Ritul Singh

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My First Hacktoberfest — Experiences of Contributing to Open Source

Contributing to Open Source and projects can seem like a daunting process. Your favorite search engine will return a ton of results on guides and repositories to get started. But many times, your search does not yield the result you want, you still do not know how to contribute to Open Source even after reading multiple blog posts. The impeding reputation of certain projects and a harsh undertone does not help either and might complicate matters even further.

I have been there myself. I trawled through pages to find great Open Source repositories to contribute to, only to notice that I did not know how to start.

Frustrated and a little disappointed, I started focusing on other projects instead.

But it all changed when I saw a fellow employee’s Hacktoberfest sticker on their laptop. I was intrigued — was this a remnant of yet another Hackathon?

Hacktoberfest turned out to be very different.

So what is a Hacktoberfest exactly?

Hint: it doesn’t have to do with either beer or hacking or the Oktoberfest (which actually takes place in September, duh!).

Hacktoberfest is a month-long celebration of contributing to Open Source, running from 1st October to 31st October. It was initiated by DigitalOcean in collaboration with GitHub. During the month of October, you are encouraged to contribute and make pull requests to your favorite repositories on GitHub. If you manage to make four in total, you are eligible to receive a swanky T-Shirt.

What can we take away from this?

I would advise you to free yourself from the assumption, that you need to contribute perfect and well-rounded code the first time. Your first contribution does not have to be ground-breaking (or even be code to be precise).


If you have the experience of contributing to open source, please share it in the comments. Happy Coding!

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