IT managers advise job seekers to contribute to open-source projects to help them stand out from the crowd.
This is the view of a panel of industry experts, who believe working on such schemes allows developers to demonstrate coding skills, technology interests and collaboration abilities. Furthermore, it means hiring managers can offer better perspectives on soft skills and technical abilities than a reference alone.
John Nagro, director of engineering at HubSpot, commented that engaging in open-source projects would go a long way to give managers an opportunity to assess a prospective employee. This is because it gives a strong insight on work ethic and increases the types of technology the applicant will be exposed to.
Another plus point to taking part in such projects is the opportunities they will give candidates to break into up-and-coming areas of IT. For example, a developer who has a desire to work in the data science sector could get into the industry via participation with open-source work. Even if they have no experience in the area they want to move into, taking part in a big data scheme could bridge the skills-gap. This would be as a result of their code contributions and the comments of peers on their work.
Executive director at The Linux Foundation Jim Zemlin described open-source as being the dominant form of development. He argued that because it was now in the forefront of people's minds, contributing to such schemes will immediately catch the eye of managers.
He added: "I suspect if you participated in these projects and got code into it you'd be highly sought after by a large number of companies. There's just all upsides to participating in these projects, which is why you see so many people doing it."
The opinions about the dominance of such schemes seem to be backed up by research, according to figures from the latest Future of Open-Source Survey. It found that in 2013, 63 per cent of respondents believed the majority of purchased software over the next five years would come from these projects. This is opposed to just 26 per cent the year before.
Despite the obvious plus points to open-source schemes, experts state the demand for software engineers is so high, developers would still be able to find jobs without participating in these projects. They did warn, however, that they may be missing out on potential opportunities to impress potential employees.
Posted by Jon Aspinell on 14th February 2014
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