The world of open source software is an ever-changing landscape. What appears to be the next big thing may fall by the wayside by some new development tool.The pace is fast and furious, and it does not look like it is going to slow down any time soon. In order to position yourself to be successful in the open source software arena, you must stay on top of the trends. If you reach a plateau and fail to constantly evolve your skill set, you are at risk of being left behind.
How do you prevent yourself from falling behind? There are a number of ways to make sure you stay on top of the trends, and thus make yourself a viable candidate for open positions.
First, make media (whether it be traditional or social) work for you. Follow certain Twitter feeds that will give you insight to market trends. Read articles from some of the leading open source software web sites. Put out alerts on Google or other search engines around topics that peak your interest. These are just a few of the measures you can take in this area. Luckily in the present, you can do all of this with very minimal effort.
However, you need to go beyond that to see how you stack up against your peers. Do searches in Github to find out where developers are spending their time relative to where you are spending yours. Is there more activity in another open source project than what you are working on? If so, would it make career sense to delve into that project? These are items you need to weigh in order to keep your skills relevant.
Time permitting, attend meetup groups in your area that involve a topic of your liking. This will give you the ability to network and make sure the direction you are headed is one of possible prosperity. Even do periodic searches in some of the leading job web sites to see how the number of open positions that are available with your skill set compare to another area. Are your skills in high demand? This will help answer that question for you.
Much like many other facets of life, you are going to constantly be surrounded by competition. To make sure you come out on top, you must do your best to stay ahead of your peers. One way to do that is by making sure your passion meshes with opportunities being offered by companies that peak your interest.
As I have mentioned countless times, the most successful engineers that I run into are the ones that are passionate about their craft. By the same token, their craft is also something that intrigues some of the leading corporations in the world.