Benefits That Soft-ware Developers Gain by Contributing to Open Source Development
It may make no sense for any person to work at something for zero rewards. Why should you expend your mental skills in open source development while at the end of the day, its other people who will benefit from the sweat of your efforts? Of course we all love to work at something which is rewarding, and in many cases, rewards for work done comes in the form money. However, in the case of open source development, there are more enriching rewards which motivate soft-ware engineers to spend their time working to enhance the project. If you examine closely, they may seem to kind of freelance for no returns but these guys stand a good position to benefit much from what they do.
There are several benefits that these developers stand to enjoy and this article looks at the benefits of their contribution.
Building a Portfolio
Working for a large corporation as the IT ‘guru’ means a handsome paycheck at the end of the month. However, there is always a starting point for any developer before he/she gets to that position. These corporations such as Microsoft or Google will obviously require a certain level of experience and one way of gaining such experience is by contributing in open source projects. Whenever you make some beneficial enhancement to such a project, you must be credited for it and it’s through that credit that you are able to prove that you are a reliable soft-ware engineer who knows what should be done. This works at a magnet in attracting potential employer or even contracts.
It’s never always free
You will realize that most open source attract a considerable number of developers with different ideas. But not all of them. Open source projects which are initiated by commercial firms generally don’t attract as much because of there is the fear that a commercial firm may just take advantage of the zero-cost development and eventually when they are satisfied with the contribution they may decide to close the project hence no further developments. This demotivates developers from making contributions. Again, a commercial firm may even decide to sell the project to users. In such cases, commercial firms are forced to pay developers to make improvements. Thus it’s never totally free.
One way in which humans perceive to be living a purposeful life is through self-satisfaction which is derived from what a person does. By providing solutions which help other people, there is a sense of personal gratification for the achievements accomplished. This is the case of developers who contribute to open source projects. Whenever they make improvements, they feel satisfied and this is what makes them stick around and spend their time and efforts developing such projects.
In any field or discipline, a person with skills and abilities in a certain field always yearns to meet with other people possessing skills in that field. There’s the aspect of networking with others which may form a basis for future work together or help each other even at securing contracts or job opportunities. That’s why there are several forums where they meet.
Moreover, a developer may be good at one aspect of development such as coding and know some cool tricks which such a developer could share with the rest and also may learn something new hence it’s also about the sharing of ideas and helping one another get solutions which could be of help somewhere else.