How Open Source turned my Life Around.
4 min read
A short story on how things changed.
2017 was a massive year in my life as a developer. It brought about no small changes both in how I go about writing code as well as how I interact with other developers. The one thing that “matter*ed the most” is collaboration. *🙌 It’s not just that open source development demands a greater degree of collaboration, but the acceleration of open source as a movement on all ends during the past few years has actually redefined how software development is done. It became a highly collaborative process with distributed version control systems everywhere. 🌍
Open source ❤️
This totally changed the way I write code 💻 . To begin with, it has helped me organise my development workflow. For example, when I want to work on a bug fix or a new feature, I can branch off anytime. While Git has had an impact on how I personally write code, what has transformed software development into a truly collaborative process has been the rise of code hosting services such as GitHub, Bitbucket or Visual Studio Team Services, which provide tools for implementing a collaboration workflow based on Git, with work isolated into branches, organized into commits and documented with commit messages.
Google Summer of Code 2017 was the one major thing in my life that totally changed it. 😇 I was initially only hoping to finish up the project to 💰 gain money. Only now do I understand that money is the least of the goodies from GSoC. To start with, it gave me new friends 👬 and connections. That is the huge part of the deal. Being a GSoC alumni, you can dive into any of the GSoC summits taking place everywhere in the world. Although I haven't attended any yet, I’m planning on visiting somewhere next year. I’m so thankful to my mentors for patiently bearing with me through GSoC. Our interaction during the small period of three months brought about some of the most interesting changes in my life. I was offered a contract as a part time freelancer while still being in college. That moment when you really can pay your bills 🎉 was epic. I worked for almost an year of college and it never felt burdening as some of my friends said it would. 😏
Then comes Mozilla 🦊 into my life. 20th November 2017, marks the day we applied for Mozilla Open Source Support. We were initially so skeptical about the deal and were not sure how much our project aligns to Mozilla’s 🔐 privacy guidelines. Our product wasn’t much focused on privacy, so we had our doubts. We waited patiently through the first couple of months and then lost our hope gradually. But, miraculously, 😍 they reached out to us after five months with the news that I was awarded with the Mozilla Open Source Support Award 2017. By the time I was aware of the news, our project was halfway done. This really eased things up for me. Although the total period of the project was a whopping 12 months, we finished it up in almost half the time thanks to my enthusiastic mentors.
I never attended a college placement as I wasn’t keen on doing a full time job and wanted to continue as a freelancer. I also have plans for higher studies, so I didn’t want to pull myself into job woes 😩. Initially, I regretted my decision for not attending on-campus placements soon after I left college. Almost all of my friends were busy starting their new lives at companies. It felt so lonely and disturbing. That was the moment I decided to go full out on the search for a job. With about two years of open source record on my resume, it wasn’t that difficult to gain a job in the world outside of placements. I was contacted by atleast 20 companies in the span of a month and I started making choices. I attended 3 interviews and got selected 💃 in two of them. By the end of the month, I had two opportunities to choose from. Then, came my saviour, ❤️Lasse, one of my mentors from GSoC. He brought to me another opportunity to work with a community of people I’ve already known from GSoC. Imagine how refreshing 😍 it would feel to continue working with people whom you already love to work with. I dished out all other options and went with my mentor. I never had the thought that landing a job would be this effortless, provided you have good connections. And a GSoC really helped me get those good connections. I kind of hoped that “making choices” part would come to my life at some point. But, I never knew that it would be so early in life. (I am still 20 😁)
Welcome to the Dark Side.
I hope your journey into open source would be as enriching for you as it has been for me.