Open Source Software Involvement: A Career Transforming Endeavor
by Brent Marinaccio
Should I get involved with open source software? Is it worth the time and effort to develop code for an open source software project in my spare time? These are just a few of the questions I hear from candidates on a daily basis. The people asking these questions must come to a conclusion on their own. I can only offer up my advice based on what I have seen happen to others in this field. In most cases, open source software involvement can have a meaningful impact on an individual's career. However, the ones that have gained the most, both personally and professionally, are the ones that have a genuine fondness for the open source software concept. Their passion leads to their success.
To help explain the possibilities that exist, I will provide a concise tale of ones success as a result of his engagement in open source software development. For the sake of this column, I will call him Adam. Adam was an application developer in the Midwest of the United States. He was in the midst of a nice career, but it was lacking fulfillment for him. In his spare time, he was the maintainer of a subsystem of the mainline Linux kernel. He started small, but was able to progress to this level through his dedication in his spare time. Since he did not have the ability to allot for much time in this endeavor, he was unsure if it would be enough to realize his goal of becoming a full-time kernel developer. Due to the high demand for individuals with this experience, I knew this would not be a problem for him. He has since gone on to expand his role in the Linux kernel community, all while doing this work on a full-time basis for one of the leading virtualization companies in the world.
Time and again, I have seen engineers that have decided to get involved with open source software transform their careers. The success stories are endless. And, they come from all parts of the world, from different age groups, and different genders. The beauty of open source software is that it does not discriminate. If your code is that good, there is no denying its entrance into the development cycle. Each individual controls their own destiny. If you have a desire to be a part of the open source software revolution, there is nothing that can hold you back.
Brent Marinaccio helped found HotLinuxJobs back in 2000. HotLinuxJobs was the first recruiting firm specializing in the placement of Linux / Open Source professionals.