9 open source leaders I enjoy following on Twitter

Influential and inspiring developer advocates, sysadmins, and open source leaders to follow in 2020.
79 readers like this.
Twitter birds


Community is the cornerstone of what makes open source work so well, in part because innovation thrives on diversity of thought. I am always looking for inquisitive people who share clever ideas and question technology's status quo. Here are nine people in my feed who inspire my love for learning.

Tiffani Ashley Bell @tiffani

Tiffani Ashley Bell is an inspiring leader who uses her technology prowess to do good. Her Y Combinator-backed non-profit organization The Human Utility is a platform that helps people pay their water bills by connecting people who want to give with people who need help. She spoke about this project in a keynote address at O'Reilly's Open Source Software's Conference (OSCON) in 2019. Before becoming The Human Utility's executive director, she was a Code for America Fellow and Harvard Technology and Democracy Fellow. Follow her for Ruby on Rails content, stories about Black innovation, and loads of wit.

Stephon Brown @StephonBee

Educator turned full-stack developer Stephon Brown has been sharing his Java journey with Opensource.com readers recently. In addition to being a rad dad, he also makes time to practice Tae Kwon Do.

Brian Douglas @bdougieYO

Brian Douglas delivered a lightning talk at All Things Open 2019, where he compared the open source community to Beyonce's fans, known as the Beyhive. He is a developer advocate at GitHub and mentors new open source contributors through his project OpenSauced. You can follow him on Twitter or listen to his JAMstack Radio podcast, where he discusses JavaScript and APIs.

Mary Hemphill @limitless__lady

Dr. Mary Hemphill is the founder of The Limitless Leader, an educational program for individuals and teams to instill confidence to meet their potential. She is passionate about closing the gender gap in computer science, and her #IAmCS campaign uses an open source approach to enroll K-12 girls in computer science classes.

Kelsey Hightower @kelseyhightower

Kelsey Hightower is a sysadmin, open source thought leader, Kubernetes expert, and developer advocate at Google. Last year, GitLab sat down with him to chat all about the future of cloud-native technologies. I love his analogy using Tetris to explain the fundamentals of Kubernetes. His ability to explain complex cloud concepts is what makes him an approachable technologist for anyone to follow, no matter where they are on their learning journey.

Timirah James @TimirahJ

I started following Timirah James during OSCON in 2019, where she spoke about the basics of server-side Swift using the Vapor framework. Earlier this year, she launched #MyProgrammingHeartChallenge, a fun augmented reality experience on Instagram that helps people answer the question, "what programming language am I?". If that's not a testament to the joyful way she approaches coding, mentorship, and life, then jamming to her song Coderitis should seal the deal.

Angie Jones @techgirl1908

Angie Jones is a developer advocate and instructor for a series of test automation courses covering topics like Selenium and Java. When she's not designing software tutorials for grown-ups, she volunteers for Black Girls Code by teaching workshops for kids. Be sure to check out her talk during All Things Open in October.

Nathaniel Okenwa @chatterboxCoder

Nathaniel Okenwa is a Londoner and kickboxer turned developer evangelist working at Twilio, a cloud communications platform built with open source projects. He is the host of The Baby Developer Show, a podcast perfect for developers who are just starting out and seeking career advice.

Saron Yitbarek @saronyitbarek

I was fascinated by Saron Yitbarek's personal story, which she shared at Red Hat Summit's Virtual Experience in April. She transitioned from being a medical student to a journalist to a self-taught developer and community advocate. Her weekly Twitter chat evolved into a supportive, international community of coders called CodeNewbie (now owned by Dev). If you are a fan of the Command Line Heroes podcast, you will recognize Saron's voice as the show's dynamic host! As a fellow '90s kid, I find her to be an absolute delight to follow on Twitter!

Who inspires you?

There are tons of amazing open source leaders to include in your feed for inspiration. Who do you follow?

What to read next
User profile image.
Lauren is the managing editor for Opensource.com. When she's not organizing the editorial calendar or digging into the data, she can be found going on adventures with her family and German shepherd rescue dog, Quailford. She is passionate about spreading awareness of how open source technology and principles can be applied to areas outside the tech industry such as education and government.

Comments are closed.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.