A guide to getting started in open source




Open source projects are a great opportunity to grow your skills or learn new ones. Project maintainers are always looking for new folks to help out with various aspects of the project, especially when it comes to documentation. But how do you get started?

For me, this was the most overwhelming question when I first started in open source a few years ago. Coming from a background in closed source, stepping into the open source world felt a lot like stepping into Wonderland to me. There were so many new terms to learn, new ways of doing things, and, the scariest of all, I now had to do everything in front of the whole world. EEEK!

Looking back over my journey starting out as a nervous newbie and transitioning to technical documentation lead for prominent open source projects (Harbor and Velero), I'll share some lessons learned and tips on how you can get started on your adventure in the world of open source, including

  • Researching your path and picking an open source project that fits you
  • Gearing up for the trip by getting familiar with commonly used tools and terms
  • Plotting your course and knowing what you want out of the experience
  • Being ready to ask for help when you need directions
  • Remembering you don’t need to get there in a day, start by setting small goals
  • Conference: Write the Docs Portland
  • Year: 2021

About the speaker

Abigail McCarthy