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if one commits his or her time to an open source project, he or she may be invest a substantial amount of time without getting paid. As much as altruism is appreciable, I wonder whether it "counts" as an activity which can be shown and is valued in job applications. If the company is worth your time and working power, which it should be in my honest opinion.

So I wonder whether there is something like a common practice in open source projects for this matters. Say, something like

Mr. Martin has been working on our project for five years and has contributed this and that,[...] I we wish him very best for his future.

Mr. ChiefofProject

I think this is a just concern. Do have experiences you can share?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com May 22 '11 at 0:22

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Duplicate of stackoverflow.com/questions/3108938/… –  Sebastian Zaklada Mar 23 '11 at 12:03
Not a duplicate. I do not ask for the perspective of the employer, but for "common practice[s] in open source projects" i.e. how the procedure goes from the perspective of a project leader. –  shuhalo Mar 23 '11 at 20:40
That question and its answers shows exactly how it is done and how it it looks like. Open source movement is not aimed for getting extra points for community work, neither there are job reference schemes. People contribute because they enjoy it. Being able to showcase their work and make it a valuable asset while applying for a job somewhere is "just" an added value. If I were you, I would not think twice - engage! Find a project that you would really enjoy contributing to and make it bettter with each commit. Good luck! –  Sebastian Zaklada Mar 24 '11 at 0:46

4 Answers 4

Being an active open source contributor is the best way to showcase experience that I know of. It pays off a LOT.

If you can prove being an influencer in the field that is connected to your day job, I cannot imagine better work references. And no, usually you do not receive a formal recommendation, as this is not why people contribute. Yet, you can showcase your open source activity in your resume and tell about it during F2G interviews.

And when you are a very active and well known contributor, than... well, you will not be looking for a job anymore. The job will come looking after you.

The best example of the company that endorses open source activities among their employees is Google. As a general practice, Google also requires that its engineers spend 20 percent of their time working on personal technology projects unrelated to their primary projects, many of them being open source.

BTW, this question is a duplicate

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+1 for "you will not be looking for a job anymore". Maintainers and committers of major open source projects are in great demand by companies that want to use those projects as part of commercial products. –  Bob Murphy Jun 21 '11 at 1:47

Personally, I would always customize my Resume to match as closely as possible the requirements of the job (I have a long template and remove items as required) Having screened prospective team members in the past I can tell you that the shorter and more to the point the resume is, the better. If the open source experience is applicable to the job, then definitely include it. The beauty of this is that since most open source projects are quite transparent, it is easy for an employer to verify what you did or didn't do in the project. (By simply checking the commit history)

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In short: Yes. Open source elevates your career.


I have a rather low educational degree, no university degree or anything like that, no certificates, did not go through apprenticeship for even a single day or did anything else like this. Where am I today? Right, I'm getting well paid for developing software for one of the worlds leading software companies. Further I have never been unemployed unless I chose to. Did I mention the travelling?

Why? Simple, I love what I'm doing. Using the freedom of source code to make things possible allows you to build a set of references you could never achieve with proprietary products. Once I got a great job just through a little fun project of mine. At this point it was obvious. Not matter what you do, as long as you do it right there are always enough people out there who'd be so impressed by what you did before that they want their share of you.

So yeah, having references within the open source community sure pays off.

cu Roman

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Put a link on your resume to the project's version control system showing your commits.

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