5 ways to bring open source to your job

Don't leave open source at home or in the data centers. Bring it to work and change the course of your career.
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Teamwork

Open source drives businesses and organizations around the world. This year, Opensource.com authors published several outstanding articles about open source at work. Topics ranged from contributing to open source, to mentoring, and productivity. Here are five of my favorite articles about how open source can help your career and organization.

7 strategies for success

I love reading stories about how people discovered open source software, and where that journey took them. I loved reading Trishna's article about discovering Linux, contributing to open source, and landing a job working with open source. Trishna describes seven key tips about working in open source, including building connections, collaborating, and maintaining transparency.

From user to contributor to CTO

Another great article that describes someone's experience with open source software is Jesse White's article. The possibilities are endless for anyone thinking about a career in open source. Jesse's article describes one example. From working as a network analyst, to contributing to OpenNMS and Google's Summer of Code Program, and eventually rising to Chief Technology Officer, this is an inspiring story. Simply put, it is about how working in and contributing to open source software helps us grow professionally, not just technically.

Productivity management

Open source is one of the most important technology trends of our time. Thabang Mashologu writes in his article about a productivity framework called SPACE that can help support collaboration and enhance participation among community members. SPACE stands for the five steps:

  1. Satisfaction and well-being
  2. Performance
  3. Activity
  4. Communication and collaboration
  5. Efficiency and flow

Thabang also shares some sample metrics to illustrate how the SPACE framework can be used for an open source project.

Mentoring as a power multiplier

Many enterprises leverage coaching and mentoring to help boost their teams. Mentoring helps staff to see the bigger picture, or to develop new skills. Mentoring is also a power multiplier in open source projects. Josh Salomon highlights in this article his experience mentoring students at a university. It also describes how they can apply to mentorship opportunities in open source software. A successful project with a positive experience for the mentees can lead to additional engagements in open source communities. New members who receive some kind of mentorship are more likely to stick with the open source project and make more meaningful contributions.

Secrets of making self-organized teams work

Managers and executives are in the business of managing people and resources. Managers usually carry an expectation that all organizations require hierarchy to remain productive. But that's not the way the open source world works. Open source communities are self-organizing teams. With a healthy community and a shared vision, self-organizing teams can outperform expectations. As Kelsea Zhang writes in his article, whether you work in open source or elsewhere, building self-organizing teams requires time and effort. But ultimately you can build stronger teams of individuals.

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photo of Jim Hall
Jim Hall is an open source software advocate and developer, best known for usability testing in GNOME and as the founder + project coordinator of FreeDOS.
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