What do wolf packs have in common with The Avengers and The Justice League fighting their enemies? They both collaborate with each other. Whether it's fighting Thanos to protect Earth, or hunting for prey, collaboration is a journey, not a destination, especially when it comes to coding. I know collaborating with people as a new coder can be scary, but it's not impossible to do. Let me tell you a story about how I went from a lone wolf in the digital coding forest to a pack member.
When I first decided to start my coding journey, I thought I was just going to find a course, complete it, and walk out an awesome coder.
Boy was I wrong!
I was finding myself feeling frustrated at not understanding some of the content, or wanting tips on how to use certain HTML or CSS elements effectively in my coding projects. At this moment, I realized that I need to put on my big girl pants in order for me to grow as a coder.
This is the place where I fell in love with open source projects. I first learned about this community through a colleague from Scrimbas Discord community. Real Station is a repository where open source beginners can practice their skills by adding cool features to the communitys website. For example, I noticed that the resources in the Helpful Links section of the website were missing tutorials that could be easily understood by coding newbies who are not familiar with tech jargon, so I raised this issue to one of the Maintainers(basically means someone who supervises a repository), presented my suggestion via a Pull Request, and got it approved.
See the one in the red circle? Yup, thats mine! 😊
Through this community, I found that I improved on:
Writing effective Pull Requests
Giving constructive feedback on other members Pull Requests
Working with JSON files
I had a great time contributing to this repo. It gave me what I like to call Open Source High. Its a feeling that coding newbies and veterans alike get after they make their first contribution to an open source project.
After my high from contributing to Real Stations repo waned, I was going through what I like to call Open Source withdrawal.
I need more!!!
I needed my fix fast, so I looked high and low to find a repo that could satisfy my craving, but I couldnt find anything. Just when all hope was lost, I found Accessibleforall. Its a great organization where open source contributors from all backgrounds can do things like:
Working on making their color palette tool more accessible
Adding links to resources that can aid developers in making their coding solutions more accessible
Send their websites to other members for feedback on their websites accessibility
Since open source projects are a whole new world for me, I decided to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) and use my newfound knowledge of Markdown to revise any grammatical errors in the repositories. While I was scrolling through the Resources repo, I noticed that the Youtube videos (from channels without an accessibility focus) category were empty, so I raised an issue about this (for coding newbies, its basically a fancy developer term for writing a message to a team member.) to one of the main leaders on this repo, created and sent them a Google Doc that contains links for my chosen YouTube videos for their feedback. They loved what I suggested, so I added the links in my Pull Request, and viola:
It looks so beautiful that I could cry! 🥲
Ever since I contributed to Accesibleforalls repo, I find that I improved on the following skills:
Critically analyzing repositories
Proposing ideas to others clearly
Implementing their feedback
For a moment, my cravings for open source projects were satisfied, but then the hunger started to come back. So, I went off to find some more repositories to contribute to.
Hunger strikes again!
Contributor at EddieHub October 2022-Present
As I was hunting and sniffing for open source projects (well more like scrolling through the web with a mouse) on GitHub until I saw a picture of a nerdy-looking bunny underneath my colleagues profile:
The bunny looks so cute! 🥰
So, I clicked on the picture, fell into the rabbit hole, and found a glorious wonderland called EddieHub. Its a community where open source contributors of all levels come together and help develop Linkfree, an app where you can post links to your social media profiles, websites, and track milestones that you experience in your professional life. Its basically a free and cooler version of Linktree.
There are a lot of contributions that I enjoyed making in this community, but if I had to pick one, I would definitely be helping make Linkfrees website more accessible.
I was just scrolling through the Internet when I noticed a GitHub notification appeared. I clicked on it and saw that one of the members posted an issue where they listed website components from their pull request failed the repos accessibility tests and asked for volunteers to help them solve this problem. I love making digital spaces accessible so I volunteer to add an aria-label to the line of code that depicts the GitHub icon on the navigation bar.
At first, I struggled with this task due to not being familiar with aria-labels, but I eventually got it after doing a bit of research and receiving help from the other members.
Sometimes, the smallest change makes a big impact.
Through this experience, I learned how to write accessible code. Also, I improved on:
Critically analyzing content
Overall, I enjoy being a part of EddieHub, and I look forward to making more contributions in the future.
As clich as this sounds, teamwork really does make the dream work. I've learned so much from my fellow pack members(or were-coders 😂), and I've even started howling at the moon (figuratively speaking, of course, 😉). Who knew that collaborating could be so much fun? To all of the coders roaming alone in the digital forest, it's time to join the pack. Trust me, you won't regret it.
Abbi Jacobson by Tenor
Bunny Logo and slogan by EddieHub
Once Upon A Time by Tenor
Rapunzel by Tenor
Wolves Howling by Tenor