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I would like to know whether work experience in Open Source Projects will really brightens the job prospects/resume of a developer other than their day time programming job or doing certifications are more than enough for a developer?

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closed as off-topic by MichaelT, Bart van Ingen Schenau, Corbin March, GlenH7, Yusubov Sep 1 '13 at 19:00

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5 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Yes, absolutely yes.

Now if you have a lot of experience in the industry and come to me, we'll talk about what you did. If you don't have experience... then you've got little to prove to me how good you are, or even if you're capable at all. If you can point to some existing OSS code, then we can talk as if you have industry experience and I will ask you all about how you integrated your code with the existing codebase, how you decided which parts to work on, and what problems you faced doing this... ending up in a job offer.

Certifications are usually not worth the paper they're written on. I know, I have some.

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Where should one start looking for such a project to work on? Say you have some (Uni graduate) experience with Java. Is there a way to 'filter' available OS projects to find one you can join and contribute? –  latusaki Aug 6 '12 at 18:42
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Working on an open source project will increase your experience and chances of getting a (new) job. So will a lot of other things, like learning some hot new technology or starting a blog about programming. Which one of these things will help you the most? It depends on a lot of things.

If you're really inexperinced and can't find a job because of that, working on an open source project might be a great way to break that vicious circle... But even then it might not be the best thing you can possibly do.

In summary, having worked on an open source project will always be a plus (if you want to know why, skim through the related questions), but nobody can tell you much more beyond that.

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I would say the answer is a qualified yes (my experience: looking for work last October, both companies I applied to checked out my GitHub and my blog, both of which were mentioned on my CV). Whatever Open Source project you are involved with, be it your own or an existing one, you must be able to show a significant amount of your own work in it, and that you have solved real-world challenges. What do I mean by that? I mean coding under constraints that you did not choose: e.g. interfacing with a third-party API with a specific language, in response to a request from a user of your project for a feature you had not thought of yourself.

A solid project on Github, backed by good documentation, and perhaps a blog to chronicle the development process, is worth 1000x any certification.

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For sure, YES !

Having an interest in developing for community and being involved to open-source development is a BIG Golden Plus for developer. In fact, you are also gaining good amount of experience from the project, peer developers and feedback on how to improve the project.

Because, it shows will to learn and improve, give back and passion for work that you are doing !

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there's a nuance!

  • First case: some vendor (e.g. Redhat, Oracle) had released its product as opensource and you worked on that project
  • Second case: you tell HR that you spent a year trying to fix a Linux kernel bug.

Oh noes come when you realize: if the company you're willing to join is ignorant to practicing open-source koans (uses Jira instead of Trac, runs its servers with Ubuntu, etc), you'll never get hired - unless you've got like 10 years on this field (which is effectively an equivalent for 'never').

Also, one can get some luck by contacting directly with person who is both CIO and HR at the organization, telling him about abilities of writing code in all languages unspoken, but its a dead end with a sole HR in established company (the one which reached a perfect homeostasis of "take old stuff, invent nothing, produce nothing new");

Another possibility to score is at online interviewing, usually they end with a coder-to-coder dialogue where a wise man can show himself right after succeeding with buzzword attack on the first interviewer.

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