The Job and Experience Paradox

Jun 14th 222 min read

#Open Source

The Context

Consider the following scenario: You are a talented and enthusiastic programmer looking for a job. You look through several job positions, pick a handful that fit you best, and apply, showcasing your abilities.

You then meet with the hiring managers for an interview, which goes something like this:

  • Manager: Tell me a little about yourself.
  • You: My name is X, and I'm a passionate programmer working with language Y right now.
  • Manager: Please share your previous experiences with us.
  • You: [confused] I've never done anything like this before. As a result, this is why I wanted to work here.
  • Manager: We sincerely apologize. You have got the necessary skills but, not the experience required for the job.
  • You: [disappointed]

The paradox

You must have experience in order to get hired, and you must be hired in order to earn experience.

How can we get out of that paradox?

The answer, of course, is open source! Demonstrate your skills in the open source community.

What is open source and how does it work?

  • As the name implies, the source of your code is visible, and senior software engineers can inspect the code quality and standard by visiting and looking through it.
  • You might help an existing project by reviewing and resolving issues or suggesting a new feature.
  • You can also open source a new project if you want to start one. Allowing other open source enthusiasts to contribute in your project's development.
  • The core premise of open source is to work together to learn, share, and grow.

Getting started with the open source

The majority of open source projects are currently hosted on Github. You could use github to,

  • Find a certain project by searching for it by name (if you know one).
  • Filter projects that use specific languages (e.g., JavaScript, Python).
  • Filter projects by label (hacktoberfest, SaaS, etc.).
  • Find and filter issues by label (bug, feature, hacktoberfest, and so on).
Good design is about process, not product.
- Jared Sinclair