A year ago my wife and I bought our first house. Like any other unprepared first-time homeowners we asked neighbors for advice, tools and a helping hand with projects. A year later we’re a little more confident, own a few more tools and now we get be the neighbor who can lend a hand. I think I’ve reached a similar point with web development.
When I started out I was a bit green and I looked to the community for advice, tips, tools and help with projects. I’m never going to stop going to people for advice/tools when I need them. But now I’ve gained some knowledge and I’ve got some useful tricks and ideas, I can offer something back to the web dev community.
Where to start?
Someone – I can’t remember who, sorry :( – gave me a great piece of advice on getting involved. Github. The social coding community is a great place to dive in and get involved with a project. You can check the issues page for a project and see if there’s a bug you can tackle. Get to know the project and suggest enhancements, or check the issue page again for someone else’s suggestion you think you can get involved in.
Choosing a challenge
For me, a great way to pick a project is to look at what I’m already using. If I’m already using it, I’m already invested and care about it. Something I’m already using is Fuel CMS. Fuel is an open source CMS built by and used at Daylight. I may be bias, but it’s rather fantastic. I use Fuel everyday and I care about it being better. For me this is a great starting point. I have got to know fuel well and I can begin to think about how I can be involved with improving it.
There’s also the option of starting something new. I’m working on something with a friend right now that I’m pretty excited about, but I’ll save that for another post.
Getting my feet wet
There are so many positives to getting involved with the wider web dev community, same as there is with getting involved with your neighborhood: You get to know some awesome people; you can learn from them; and it’s a great way to challenge and grow your abilities.
So, I’m diving in. Well, maybe less “diving in”, more “paddling around”. But it’s a start.
Wish me luck.