Guide to Hacktoberfest and winning a free T-Shirt

September 24, 2020 4 min read

What is Hacktoberfest ?

Hacktoberfest is a month-long virtual programming festival held annually to celebrate open source contributions. If you are totally new to the open source world, I would highly recommend reading What’s Open Source Software + How It Makes Money 2022 that goes into explaining history, objectives, adavantages and disadvantages of running open source software. Last year during the month of October 2019, a developer who creates a minimum of 5 pull requests on Github is eligible for a free T-Shirt!

Why ? As a developer, I have used multiple open-source libraries in my life for professional and personal use. I feel this is somehow the best way to give back to my community of developers. . It might be intimidating at first but once you start your journey there's no looking back. Hacktoberfest is a perfect opportunity to break this barrier and enter the world of open source. You don't have to be an expert in programming. Anything can be considered as a contribution right from creating a new issue, bug fix, suggesting improvement and documentation change which helps enhance open source platform.


How do I get started?

To get started, signup for Hacktoberfest 2020. Its Preptember time, so learn how to make some pull requests before you get started. You could follow a hands-on tutorial on Github to help you get started.

- Laozi
Translation: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

The best way to contribute to any open source project is to look at libraries and projects that you use. This is usually a great way to dive into the open-source world because you have knowledge about the product and possibly know about the areas to improve on. You could try and patch a small bug, update documentation if it is outdated and possibly file a new issue suggesting them about the next big change

If you are thinking, "Great! Let's create the next big thing in React or AngularJS" for individuals starting the first time, a project like that might be a little daunting. I recommend looking for labels like easy, first-timers-only, or good-first-issue.

Here's a list of resources that could be useful for a newcomer:

  • First Contributions — Offers you a hands-on tutorial to help you get started through contributions workflow on Github.
  • CodeTriage — Subscribe to your favorite open source Github repo and get a new issue to your mailbox every day.
  • Good First Issues — Aggregator websites that for Github issues marked with the label good-first-issue
  • Up for grabs - Another aggregator website for a project that needs help. Includes labels such as up-for-grabs, jump-in, or help wanted.
  • Open Source Guide — Check this out for more in-depth details and more great resources like the above to help you discover projects to contribute to!

My 2019 experience

When October 1st came, I signed up for HacktoberFest 2019; I knew my time to work on pull requests alongside internship preparation and the fall 2020 semester at the University of Florida would be challenging. At first, I would browse through a long list of issues with the hacktoberfest tag. It was daunting and would consume a lot of time. Instead, I would narrow down my search to those repositories that I've used in past.With this, I restricted my search to Circle CI Orbs, Kong and Grafana. These projects interested me and kept me hooked for a month.

Although my pull requests weren’t large but every request offered me something valuable to learn. With each contribution, it felt rewarding by giving back to the community. It also gave me satisfaction that my contribution is benefiting many more people than just myself

A great way to start into open source is to participate in HackertoberFest and keep contributing. Looking forward to your particpation, Happy Hacking, and have fun!

My Swag


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