Monday, April 17, 2017

Open source software on your resume

Continuing my advice for students now getting ready for graduation, I wanted to share this great article from IT World, What to Include in Your Open Source Resume.

Do you participate in an open source software project? Maybe you fix bugs, write new features, test new releases, update documentation, maintain a website, manage their social media, or do any other other million things you can do to contribute to a project. If so, you should be sure to mention these in your resume. From the article:
Any job seeker wants to stand out, and if you're selling skills that you gained in an open source project you have additional opportunities to do so. At its most obvious, the experience makes you more attractive to open-source-friendly companies.
Listing your work in open source software can help you to stand out with a hiring manager. Among other things, it shows you can work independently while also working as part of a larger team. That's a rare ability that's sure to get you noticed, especially at a company that's friendly to open source software.

Zack Grossbart, software engineer consultant for Novell and author of The One Minute Commute, provides this advice in the article:
Open source or otherwise, you need to give potential employers enough background and details to they can be confident in the information you're giving them, says Grossbart. "If you're a C++ programmer from a big company that might look like, 'I was a C++ programmer for IBM for five years and worked on the following projects.' Your open source skills work the same way, 'I've been a committer to OpenOffice for five years and worked on the following features.'" The big difference: you probably need to tell someone what OpenOffice is and define "worked on."
Grossbart says to organize your contributions on your resume like this:
Describe the project.
Make it descriptive, but keep it short. If you can, describe the project in no more than one or two sentences.

Describe your contributions.
What did you do on the project? What did you work on? Provide more information than just "I worked on X project," but find a balance that doesn't list every commit. For example, you might say "Wrote programming libraries, including a library to support international languages."

Describe the team.
Hiring managers will want to know how the team was organized, and how you interacted with them. Was it entirely online, via email? Or did you work together in person. What was your role in the project?
Your work on open source software is valuable experience. Leverage it to your best effect in your resume.

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