From the dawn of the first computer (ENIAC) until today, it’s never been easier to start learning programming. Nowadays, there are endless ways of learning how to code, from coding schools, self learning courses or getting yourself a degree in computer sciences, everyone can find the path that suits them best. However, once you have the basics down, the question becomes how do you fine tune your coding skills?
Probably the best way to hone these skills is by doing, and in the case of developing, this means contributing and learning from some of the top open source projects.
The open source community provides endless opportunities for new developers to improve their skills and get inspiration and support from like-minded people. But most importantly, these projects can provide a great starting point for developers to get a better understanding of the different kind of projects they can use in building applications.
By starting to work with open source projects, you will learn important skills such as patching a bug in a library, sending a pull request, or even writing a piece of documentation. In the spirit of summer ending and everyone is back in the school mood, we are highlighting 7 different open source projects which young developers should use when starting out.
Who runs it: The Apache Commons project was created by the Apache Software Foundation.
What can you get from it: The main purpose of Apache Commons is to provide reusable open source Java software. Commons projects consist of three different parts: Proper (A repository of reusable Java components), SandBox (A workspace for Java component development) and Dormant (A repository of components that are currently inactive).
Why it’s great for n00bs: For new developers this is a fantastic place to grab and view some of the most well known Java components which they can use when writing an application.
Who runs it: The Guava project was created by the open source team at Google.
What can you get from it: Guava is a set of core libraries that includes new collection types (such as multimap and multiset), immutable collections, a graph library, functional types, an in-memory cache, and APIs/utilities for concurrency, I/O, hashing, primitives, reflection, string processing, and much more.
Why it’s great for n00bs: It’s open sourced version of the core libraries used by almost all Java programs at Google. If Google uses these libraries then we can say it’s safe this project is a good place to start.
Who runs it: AVA was created by the GitHub user avajs.
Why it’s great for n00bs: Its original author decided to mark the easy issues using the “good for beginners” label.
Who runs it: Pinax was created by James Tauber in late 2007.
What can you get from it: Pinax is an open source platform built on the Django Web Framework. It is an ecosystem of reusable Django apps, themes, and starter project templates.
Why it’s great for n00bs: On their GitHub project page, you can easily label easy issues with the first-timers-only label. Then, they have documented each one so that you know what you should be doing.
Who runs it: Deployer was created by Anton Medvedev.
What can you get from it: One of the lesser known deployment tools you will find on GitHub. This deployment tool aim is to make deployment easy for PHP developers.
Why it’s great for n00bs: What makes this great for new developers is that it’s easy set up and has many handy features to integrate the deployment process into your team’s workflow.
Who runs it: Sinatra was designed and developed by Blake Mizerany
What can you get from it: Sinatra is a domain-specific language or DSL. This means it is designed from the ground up to build web applications with minimal effort.
Why it’s great for n00bs: For young developers, this project takes care of some of the heavy lifting to let you focus on the more important details.
Who runs it: Moby was created by Docker.
What can you get from it: Moby is an open framework created by Docker to assemble specialized container systems without reinventing the wheel. It provides a “lego set” of dozens of standard components and a framework for assembling them into custom platforms.
Why it’s great for n00bs: For those open source developers looking to experiment with containers and test their project in a variety of different systems, Moby offers the tools to make learning playing around with the basics much easier.
While we only named just a few of these helpful open source projects, these should help you get in the right direction. But don’t stop there. Developers should continuously seek the different and creative ways to gain the right skills to become a better developer. On GitHub you can find an endless amount of projects that will help you gain the tools needed to make awesome applications.
Every senior developer started somewhere, playing around with projects. Some have the best have given back over the years, giving some of their time and talents to open source projects. Just remember though, no matter how good you get, never forget that there is always more to learn.