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Cracking the Code: An Inspiring Discussion on Open Source with Ana at Girl Code Coffee Chat #8

Diving into Open Source with Ana

For our 8th edition of Girl Code Coffee Chat, Arisa and I had the pleasure of talking to Ana about all things Open Source. At least for me, this conversation was absolutely eye-opening and super educational, so I wanted to share some of the topics and resources Ana shared with us here. If you are curious, what GirlCode or our Coffee Chats are, you can read all about that here. For now, let’s dive into this month’s topic: Open Source.

If you would rather check out the recording of our conversation, you can find it here ⬇️

How to get into Open Source?

How can you get started in Open Source? What are good resources to learn about it?

Ana shared her personal story of how she got involved with open-source with us, you can read all about it below. But this journey is different for everyone, so here are some resources Ana recommends:

  • The Github Open Source Guide: good starting point for individual contributors
  • Trainings for OSPO’s and organisations who’d like to get involved are provided by the TODO group:
  • Chaoss Community (a Linux Foundation project focused on creating metrics, metrics models, and software to better understand open source community health on a global scale)
  • Forge your future with open source
    • Valuable for everyone from beginner to advanced folks, also good to refresh your knowledge
    • Explaining basics of working with Git, how to get started, topics like Governance and how to handle PRs etc.
  • Learning from the community: like many things in tech, the most valuable lessons we learn generally come from trying things out, making mistakes, sharing learnings or questions with the community.
  • Workshops related to Open Source:

We tend to remember 10% of what we read but 80% of what we discuss.

Engage with the community and by doing so, you will learn very hands-on - don’t worry too much about making mistakes - we have all been there and it’s only human to do so.

Anas Journey

Ana originally comes from a Marketing background. She was working for a software company in Madrid, and coincidentally, the tools they were using were 100% Open Source. By working there, she got into more of a Developer Relations role within the same company and started working with the community, trying to motivate and support them.

While supporting the open source community and fulfilling her role as DevRel, she realized that much of what she was doing would benefit greatly from a different skillset: Data Science. This is why she started learning Python and following a Data Science Master to acquire the skills necessary to provide the best help for her community.

Having both backgrounds really helps her translate between the technical and not so technical world, understanding both were marketing and managing roles are coming from as well as what is important to developers.

Her current role is Programme Manager at TODO Group, and revolves all around community of practise, how to contribute to open source as an organization and how that might differ from contributing as an individual. This means continously growing initiatives, reviewing PRs, motivating the community & supporting them, and making sure non-code initiatives also get done.

TODO Group is a project under the Linux Foundation. This (and other) foundation(s) act as a neutral place for open-source projects and

  • provides support and guidance
  • help to leverage open-source projects
  • Open for a variety of different projects, regardless of size or focus. Some might be very technical, others might be focussed on community learnings or sharing best practises
  • are just a small part of the open-source ecosystem
  • are all about community and collaborative efforts

For her, it doesn't matter what role she works in, technical or not. Having found her space in the open-source world, she wants to do whatever it takes to stay there and serve the community well. If this value-driven approach applies to you as well, it’s always helpful to ask yourself the following:

  • What skills do I have to learn to contribute?
  • What motivates you? What drives you?

Ana importantly pointed out that open source doesn’t only need the support of technical people; there are also many tasks non-technical folks can support with.

Invitation banner for the girl code coffee chat nr. 8 stating the date and time and including an illustration of a girl in front of a laptop

Open Source over time

According to Ana, open source changed a lot over the years. From being relatively niche and almost academia focussed it’s shifted to being all around us. A report on the State of Open Source by Synopsys found that even though it might be invisible or hidden sometimes, open source truly is everywhere.

Engaging with Open Source as an individual vs. as part of a company

While individual contributors are certainly the base of open-source, Ana highlighted that she has noticed a shift: more and more organisations see the value of open source in the tools that they are already using and are actively participating more and more.

Whether or not they are aware of it, many companies are using tools that have open-source components, and it’s important to maintain them to avoid vulnerabilities.

In order to get more organisations to take these responsibilities, it’s important to also educate managers and raise awareness for the value of open source.

Organisations should look at:

  • Helping with funding
  • Encouraging employees to contribute to open source
  • Creating processes and policies to support them

Three girls on the twitch stream against a yellow background

It’s about awareness

Think about the so called "bus factor": how many developers are contributing actively to a project you are dependent on? Is it just two or three? What if they leave? What if they go on holiday? We have to make sure projects can be sustained, and in order to do so, it’s important to be aware of their status, their “health” if you will.

Storyblok SDKs

We at Storyblok have also already dipped our toes into the world of open source by developing SDKs for to integrate Storyblok with different frontend technologies a little more conveniently. While of course there is the storyblok-js-client, which you can use to implement Storyblok your project, the DevRel team has started to create and maintain different SDKs like the one for Gatsby or Svelte to make it even easier to work with your favorite Technology and Storyblok.

This is also one of the many reasons why we were so excited to get Ana on our Girl Code Coffee Chat: Open Source is such a large field and we wanted to explore how we can improve our efforts.


Diving into open source can be daunting and seem like you are only ever scraping the tip of the ice berg. But for us as developers, it’s important not to shy away but rather take responsibility for the many tools we are benefiting from and contribute actively. This will not only help us all by maintaining these tools but also deepen your understanding of technology and help you grow. This is not at all limited to technical contributions only.

Especially for companies looking to contribute, it’s important to keep an eye on the state of open source projects and focus on sustainability in the long run.

If you want to get started, there is only one thing to do: get started 😉
Roll up your sleeves and try things out, dare to make mistakes.

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