Open Source for Non-Techs - Find Your Way to Contribute!

by Aleksandra Abramova

When we talk about open source contributing, we often associate it with only and exclusively code contributions made by engineers. But the open source world is extensive and diverse, and everyone can find their place there. Even if you don’t feel confident with coding, you can have a lot of things to keep you busy! What can it give back to you? Lots of stuff: sharping your professional skills and obtaining diversified experience, enriching your portfolio, connecting with open source community and passionate people, and last but not the least - definitely lots of fun.

Many open source projects are maintained by enthusiasts, and they simply don’t have enough resources to keep an eye on everything. Here are some paths for you to consider, depending on your professional area and experience.

Technical Writer / Copy Editor / Translator

As a professional who is good at working with text, you can have a lot of work to do. You can help with translation to different languages and localization to help users of your favorite open source project all over the world.

Maintaining documentation is also a valuable skill, and it is s source of relentless worries for project maintainers. A lot of stuff might be needed - from simple how-tos for beginners to constant updates about new releases.

You can also help with spreading the word about the project by posting technical content about it on different blogging platforms or on your personal blog. Themes could be:

Your experience installing the software with different configurations.

  • Basic configuration, best practices.
  • Tuning and monitoring of the tool.
  • Lifehacks, or advanced options for experienced users.
  • How this tool helps you in your business processes and goals.
  • Possible alternatives or digests of the best-in-class tools.

Tester / End User

You can do what no one else can - provide valuable feedback looking from the position of the software user. Open GitHub/Jira issues and describe unexpected/strange behavior to report bugs providing as much information about your configuration and user scenario as you can. Also, you can create feature requests with ideas about future project development and why you think that may be important not just for your use case, but for many.

Designer

Depending on your professional focus, there is a wide range of involvement for you - from UX/UI improvements to banner/promo graphics. Not all open source projects have an opportunity to involve a designer in their development. Give them a helping hand and improve any aspects of your favorite projects. That is also a good way to add interesting projects to your portfolio.

Influencer / Advocate

There are lots of things that you can do! Share posts on social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), record YouTube shorts or even do live streams about the software you like. If you have a podcast, you can invite maintainers to discuss different aspects of their project, its value and future perspectives. Active speakers can even do presentations and talks about open source tools! Such marketing and community support is extremely valuable. It can be a big resource for the project’s growth and promotion, attract new users or help to onboard and keep them.

Let’s Start!

So, let’s roll up our sleeves, we have a lot of work to do! And if you doubt where to start, look at the opportunities provided by Hacktoberfest. Start your open source journey with Percona x Hacktoberfest and receive some nice prizes!

If you made a non-code contribution during Hacktoberfest, just create a Pull Request to our Percona Community repository with links to your work. Add your contribution to our list of blog posts and videos, and follow the process of submitting changes to documentation. Other types of contributions (custom dashboards, configuration files, etc.) can be added to our developer artifacts collection.

Alternatively, you can contact us at community-team@percona.com, and we will guide you through the process. ∎

Aleksandra Abramova

Aleksandra joined Percona Community Team in 2021 as a Community Specialist. Before joining Percona, she worked as a support specialist and as a technical writer in Simtech Development. She is now focusing on communicating with the opensource community, building awareness about Percona products and services, and event organizing.

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