Contribute to open source without knowing how to code

Contribute to open source without knowing how to code

Rizel Scarlett's photo
Rizel Scarlett
·Oct 19, 2022·

4 min read

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Table of contents

  • Support and Administration
  • Testing
  • Content Creation (Writing, video, and more)
  • Documentation
  • Design
  • Accessibility
  • Little to no code

When you think of open source contributions, do you immediately think of code?

It’s a common misconception that you have to code to contribute to open source. Open source is for everyone. Folks with various skill sets, like – designers, writers, artists, marketers, software testers, and project managers, play essential roles in open source. Like proprietary projects, open source projects may not survive long-term without well-designed logos, a quality user experience, clear documentation, triaged tickets, sufficient testing, and a product roadmap. Projects without those characteristics might exist, but they’re less sustainable. While these roles are paramount, open source projects tend to have fewer contributors with skills beyond code because:

  1. Contributors without coding experience may not know HOW to contribute to projects on code-driven platforms like GitHub and GitLab.
  2. Maintainers may not always know how to present non-coding opportunities even though they need help with those tasks.
  3. The software engineering industry wrongly undervalues non-coding skills, but not because these skills aren’t valuable. Programmer culture sometimes encourages a god complex. I say this as a software engineer myself, but writing logic to create pretty pictures on the internet doesn’t mean we’re better than others. The reality is various roles, and skill sets work together to breed success.

This year, Digital Ocean, GitHub, and GitLab are working to remove these obstacles these misconceptions by encouraging non-code contributions via Hacktoberfest. Hacktoberfest is an annual event that encourages folks of all experience levels to contribute to open source. Participants who complete four or more Hacktoberfest-accepted tasks during October earn swag or a tree planted in their name. Fill out the registration form and read the participation guide to get started! Keep in mind that maintainers generally welcome contributions year-round, but Hacktoberfest is an industry-wide effort to focus on open source.

In this blog post, I’ll showcase issues and tasks that don’t require coding to inspire contributors and maintainers. Here's a list of projects looking for design, content creation, accessibility, testing, and more!

Support and Administration

Testing

Content Creation (Writing, video, and more)

  • Mattermost is looking for folks to blog about their product.
  • Appwrite needs a blog post about importing WordPress users to Appwrite.
  • Learn WordPress is asking contributors to create tutorials, facilitate an online workshop, update and contribute lesson plans, or update and contribute courses.

Documentation

Translations

Design

Accessibility

Little to no code

Don't worry if most or all of the issues are assigned when you read this post. You can find similar issues to work on at github.com/hacktoberfest by using the examples above! You can also check out my Twitter thread for more issues.

Happy Hacking!

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