I created my GitHub account last year during my first week – perhaps day – as a 2012 Code for America fellow. I had to do this in order to complete a challenge that would earn me the coveted CfA track jacket. It’s been over a year now and I push to GitHub daily.
In what could be a long post of its own, GitHub and open source – the tool and community – I didn’t know existed before Code for America, were those things I couldn’t quite put my finger on that were desperately needed in government technology (where I worked prior to the fellowship). There was no turning back for me. It’s been this tool and community that has given my work more purpose and filled my calendar with events and a whole new set of friends in a state I’d never been to before packing up and moving cross-country for CfA.
Before I wax poetic anymore, I’ll cut to the chase. I’m currently at DIY.org – an amazing group of people who have created a network of kid-makers. These makers complete challenges to earn skills and share with each other how the process went – you know, being all open source about it. I’m at DIY to build out a suite of skills in the “hacker” category. We’ve retooled the n00b skill and launched Web Designer and most recently we’ve launched Open Sourcerer.
The backbone and goal of the challenges in Open Sourcerer is to have each maker fork a copy of a repo on DIY’s Github with a story in it. They’ll each add a part to the story, push it back to their fork and submit a pull request to add it to the DIY original. There is no coding involved – just pure collaboration and learning the basics of Git and GitHub.
Returning to the not-so-long-ago time that I learned these things, I created a companion guide for this skill. The Open Sourcerer Guide walks through each of the challenges, which happen to also be the basic elements of contributing to open source on GitHub. While the site is aimed a younger audience, the guide works for every beginner.
So all ye who have thought about open source but haven’t made the leap or were wary of Terminal, take the first step! And to all ye who push in your sleep (or don’t sleep because you push) have a look at the guide (and its repo), send issues or pull requests to help improve it!
Questions? Comments? Hit us up @codeforamerica.