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Networking and Open Source: The What and the Why

Vaibhav Khulbe 23 April, 2020 | 4 min read

We are in the year 2020 and this is the century where people have evolved over the years making friends, acquaintances, bosses both personally and professionally. What we have learned in this digital age is no work can be done without communicating with your peers professionally. We all are liking someone's post on Instagram, commenting on a friend's Facebook activity or retweeting our company's new product announcement to let our followers know what our interests are, what we want them to know. Did you see what we are doing here? In a nutshell, we all are networking!

Also, with the onset of digital age and products, some of us, as programmers are combining our coding skills with networking while we work with or for an open source environment/product. So, what is networking, how is this done and what does open source mean? Let's explore all in this article.


What does networking mean?

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If you visit the Collins Dictionary, you will get to know the actual definition of the term:

Networking is the process of trying to meet new people who might be useful to you in your job, often through social activities.

Networking is also about building long-term relationships. This not only helps you professionally but also, you meet with people whom you can put faith on.

These 'followers', 'friends', 'acquaintances' and 'bosses', they're all nothing but a part of our network. Simply we, as working professionals need to find and grow our network over the years as we progress because, in the end, we need someone with whom we can trust to get help professionally. This 'help' can be anything from getting a referral to helping to fix a bug. Also, this doesn't mean only those network who want to get a job, a student in his early days of getting a formal education can also take baby steps to make a strong foundation of his career. We all want to be future-proof, don't we?

Why should I start networking?

If you're having this question in your head right now, let me give you top 3 benefits you get:

  1. You strengthen connections: if you're an active person who creates long-term connections by regularly engaging with them, asking questions, getting help or just asking them about their product, working scenario etc, you are inherently making sure that the two of you are having a solid bond and this will directly impact your career growth.
  2. You get more access to more jobs: compare a person who isn't socially active in today's world, he doesn't engage with others professionally and constantly searches for jobs by calling his friends, applying to random companies and getting rejected in initial steps. Then comes someone who's regularly engaging with company's newsletters, news, tweets or public announcements. He has an edge as he's got a strong network of peers with whom he can directly interact to get a new job or a promotion. The people in his network already know him for his abilities and skills and boom! he's already past the competition.
  3. You get a wide and different perspective: whenever we search for a term on the internet, we get lost in a pool of information and picking the best and truthful source can be daunting. Same goes when you don't network. You have no connections so you are shy of expertise of people of a particular skill set which you may possess. By networking, you build long-lasting relationships, you have like-minded people, you get most of the professional support from them and it's unlikely you come out in a confused stated after you talk to them.

What is open-source?

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You may have heard about terms like 'open-source software', 'OSS', 'GitHub', 'GitLab' etc. There are all come under the vast whirlpool of open-source.

As you might have guessed, 'open-source' is made up of two terms open+source. So, in general:

Open source products include permission to use the source code. It most commonly refers to the open-source model, in which open-source software or other products are released under an open-source license as part of the open-source-software movement

Source: Wikipedia

In simple terms, it refers to something people can modify and share. Why? Because its design is publicly accessible and anyone has the permission or right to modify its content or features. Now let's move on to a sweet part, Open Source Software (OSS).

An OSS is a software product with its source code available to the public for them to modify, enhance or change it in their way.

This is why companies like GitHub exists, one of the largest open-source platforms available for programmers.

There are so many advantages of having something like this both for programmers or non-programmers. Let's discuss these next.

Why are people using Open Source Software (OSS)?

  1. Ultimate control: guess what, you can see the entire code from which a website was made, a software tool, or an iOS app! You name it, the list won't stop. You can examine the code or make some changes to it if you don't like how a method was implemented. You are given the control of dealing with the software project.
  2. Strong community: some of the successful OSS software were made to start an online community, to bring together a group of like-minded people. Of course, some people become a fan of the product but deep inside there is super cool community support who regularly commit to that product and produce a better version.
  3. Security and Stability: when you are given a chance to fix a bug that might be violation a user's privacy in an app, the open-source contributor will see this, fix it and request the changes it needs.

Start making networks and contribute to open-source

When you start interacting more in your professional network, you might come across a company's OSS, they might be interested in hiring someone who's an open-source contributor. If you how to deal with such a product, you may be hired or at least you will be in the radar of such connections next time!

So, make the perfect use of social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook Groups, start networking, start contributing!

Further reading

Author's avatar
Vaibhav Khulbe
Web developer/designer | I write stories on @thepracticaldev
    javascript
    Python
    react
    node.js

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