Open source projects are a crucial aspect of the tech community, allowing developers to collaborate and create software for everyone to use and improve. For many tech enthusiasts, contributing to open source software is not just a hobby but a way to pursue their passions and interests, build a reputation, and potentially earn some extra income.
Tapas Adhikary, an invaluable Friend of Fountane, sees open source as the perfect side hustle, offering valuable experiences, opportunities to network, and the potential to earn income. This edition of Friends of Fountane explores Tapas’s perspective on open source as a side hustle and provides insight into the steps you can take to get started with open source as your own side hustle, but first:
What is a Side Hustle?
A side hustle is a gig or business venture that an individual pursues outside of their regular job. It is often motivated by a passion or interest and provides a platform to build a personal brand and network with like-minded people. For many, side hustles are a source of additional income, but they can also provide a heck of other benefits.
In today’s fast-paced world, a 9-5 job is no longer enough to fulfill the aspirations and needs of most individuals. Side hustles provide a way for people to explore their interests, develop new skills, and even make a little extra money in the process. In addition, they also offer a sense of personal fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment.
Why Open Source is a Side Hustle for Tapas?
To Tapas, side hustles are activities that he does for a variety of reasons. He pursues them because he is passionate about them, they are interesting, they help him gain a good reputation, connect with people, build a steady profile, and potentially earn some income. For a side hustle to be worth his time, it must meet at least 50-60% of these criteria.
Open source meets all of these criteria and more, which is why Tapas sees it as the perfect side hustle.
- Passion: Tapas is passionate about open source software and the concept of it.
- Interest: He has an immense interest in bringing people into the open source community and correcting any wrong perceptions they may have.
- Reputation: Open sourcing gives him the opportunity to network and build teams, which helps him build a positive reputation in the tech community.
- Experience: He gains valuable experience outside of his main job through his open source contributions.
Open source software aligns with these criteria as it allows individuals to:
- Contribute and maintain open source projects as a side project in addition to their full-time job
- Pursue their passion for open source and its principles
- Network and build teams with like-minded individuals
- Gain valuable experience and skills outside of their main job
Income is an important aspect of a side hustle, but Tapas sees it as secondary to the other benefits of open sourcing. The monetization of an open source software depends on the type of project and the community around it. For example, the ReactPlayIO project generates income through sponsorships, event registrations, and paid courses or workshops, while other open source projects may earn through usage plans.
Common Misperceptions about Open Source
Despite its many benefits, open source software is not without its challenges and misconceptions. Here are a few common ones:
- Time Commitment: Many people believe that participating in open source requires a significant time commitment. However, it is possible to participate at a level that is comfortable for you and still make valuable contributions.
- Lack of Support: Some developers worry that they won’t have the support they need to be successful in open source. However, the open source community is generally welcoming and supportive, and there are many resources available to help newcomers get started.
- Lack of Recognition: Some developers believe that open source contributions are not valued as highly as commercial work. However, many companies, including major tech firms, place a high value on open source contributions, and they can be a valuable addition to a developer’s portfolio.
Busting these misperceptions is what makes open source a perfect side hustle. Now, what does it take to consider open source as a side hustle?
How to Start Open Source as a Side Hustle?
Starting with open source software as a side hustle is not as intimidating as it may seem, as Tapas explains. Here are his tips for getting started:
- Choose a project you’re passionate about: Select a project that aligns with your interests and skills. This will keep you motivated and focused.
- Learn the basics of Git and GitHub: Git is a version control system and GitHub is a platform that hosts open-source projects. You’ll need to learn how to use both to contribute to projects effectively.
- Collaborate with others by submitting bug fixes and feature requests: Collaborating with others is a great way to learn and get involved with open-source projects. Start by fixing bugs or submitting feature requests.
- Share your work on social media: Share your contributions on social media platforms to showcase your skills and build your personal brand.
- Attend online events and meetups to network with the open-source community: Attend online events and meetups to connect with other open-source contributors and learn from their experiences.
- Create a blog to share your experience and progress: Writing about your experiences and progress in open source will help you build a personal brand and showcase your skills.
- Build a reputation: Keep learning new skills and contributing regularly to open-source projects to maintain your momentum and stay engaged. Don’t be afraid to take on challenging projects to push your limits.
- Leverage the experience and reputation gained to grab earning opportunities: The experience and reputation gained through open source contributions can be leveraged to grab earning opportunities, making open source a true side hustle weapon.
What’s stopping you?
In conclusion, Open source is an ideal side hustle for tech enthusiasts as it offers valuable experiences, opportunities to network, and the potential to earn income. With the right approach and mindset, anyone can start contributing to open source projects and reap its benefits.
Tapas Adhikary, a valuable friend of Fountane, is a testament to this as he sees open source as the perfect side hustle. With common misconceptions debunked and tips on how to get started, there’s never been a better time to pursue open source as a side hustle. By choosing a project you’re passionate about, learning Git and GitHub, collaborating with others, sharing your work, attending events, and writing about your progress, you too can join the open-source community and fulfill your aspirations.
Want to start open source right away? Read this: Beginner’s Handbook to Help You Start Contributing to Open Source by Tapas Adhikary.