As someone who’s been around the coding block for a while, I’ve noticed that many newbies stick to online tutorials and guides to learn coding. While these resources are great for gaining knowledge, they often miss out on giving hands-on experience.
That’s why I always recommend diving into projects that let beginners apply what they’ve learned. Whether you’re working solo or with a team from all over the world, these projects are gold for learning.
Open-source projects are especially awesome for this. They have folks of all skill levels pitching in, which creates a rich learning environment.
In my experience, getting involved in open-source projects is the best way to learn. It’s hands-on, practical, and teaches you what it’s like to work with others toward a common goal. Hence, in this article, we will be discussing the same. Let’s begin!
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How To Contribute To Open Source As A Beginner
If you are wondering about how to contribute to open source as a beginner, don’t worry. We have got you covered. Contributing to open source projects does not necessarily mean that you have to know how to code. Yes, having coding skills is an additional benefit undoubtedly, but there are also various ways for you to contribute to open source projects as a non-coder. Here are some common ways to do so.
- Adding any sample output to see how the code works.
- Offering mentorship to other contributors
- Proofread, fix any typing errors, and help in systematically arranging all the work folders.
- Adding translation to a project
- Providing in-depth tutorials for the project
Different Roles in an Open Source Project
Before delving into the different types of GitHub open source projects for beginners that are available, let’s take a look at some of the different designations that you can find in open source projects.
- Author- He/she is usually the person who is the creator of the project. They have the full authority to assign new responsibilities to other members to help with the maintenance of the project.
- Owner- He/she is the administrative owner of the project. In certain scenarios, the author and the owner can be the same individual.
- Maintainers- They are usually responsible for driving the vision and goal of the project.
- Contributors- Contributors have to undergo the same code review process, and comply with the same requirements on code style, as all other members. Their task is to contribute or add to the project in one way or the other.
- Community Members- Last but not least, community members are assigned the task of giving feedback on features, bug reports, and many more.
Choosing Open Source Projects
Open Source projects are available in many sources on the internet. Each source is different depending on the type of content, languages, dedicated platforms, and levels of difficulty that they offer.
The most popular repository for projects is GitHub, with projects of all languages, platforms, and levels of difficulty in their list. It has over 31 million devs looking to store their projects and network with fellow coders and is a great place to learn from.
Open Source projects can vary in size, scope, and level of difficulty. Therefore, it is important to choose the right project at the right stage of your progress. Beginner level coders should choose projects of that level of difficulty. You can find this on GitHub by looking for projects marked with “Beginner” or “good first issue” labels.
Here are some great projects and repositories for beginners looking to gain knowledge and some hands-on experience. These projects are widely popular, with contributors of varying degrees of proficiency from beginner to expert. It is important to note that many of these projects are hosted on GitHub and contain many levels of problems. You can search for other beginner level entries by looking at the right tags.
1. 30 Seconds of Code
In short, this is a repository of easily digestible data that can simultaneously be used to learn and contribute to beginners. This may not be a project that beginners can contribute to, but it is still a great start for people looking to grasp concepts.
2. First Contributions
This project is, quite obviously, for GitHub users who are looking to make their first contribution to GitHub. It walks you through the procedural steps that you would have to take to make a contribution to open source projects. After you are done, it will also redirect you to a list of projects you can tackle through their own webpage. It has over 13,200 stars and almost 33,000 forks on GitHub.
3. TensorFlow Models
TensorFlow projects are for those new developers who are interested in Machine Learning and Deep Learning. Beginners should ideally learn from some TensorFlow Tutorials and observe the official models before contributing to any project.
Currently, the GitHub TensorFlow Model Garden contains projects of Natural Language Processing and Computer Vision. These official models are a collection that uses TensorFlow’s high-level APIs and is to be properly curated, tested, and updated to keep up with the latest build. These models are also intended to be properly optimized so that they run the same or faster with each new build.
VSCode is an excellent open-source code editor from Microsoft that has many functionalities for automation. This flexible tool is compatible with various programming languages along with an active ecosystem of extensions, which allow developers to make their coding environment tailored.
Developing VSCode lets beginners understand the network of code editing software, thus explaining how one widely used industry tool operates. It is a chance to interact with an active crowd, improve coding techniques, and learn the intricacies involved in managing a highly advanced code editor. Contributors in VSCode act either through bug fixes, feature addition, or extension development and each of these acts greatly influences the user experience of millions of developers worldwide.
5. Linux Kernel
The Linux Kernel, being at the heart of all things down in this system known as Linux opens up a huge challenge and opportunity for developers. Participation in this open-source project presupposes working with system programming at the level of operation systems, understanding complex systems, and improving performance.
The Linux Kernel project with its now enormous codebase and worldwide footprint is an unparalleled learning opportunity for first-time programmers. Participating in kernel development allows contributors to influence one of the most popular OS features and stability. It is a trip into the very essence of computerization, providing in-depth knowledge about how software interacts with hardware and being invited to participate in the continuous trajectory of Linux.
Working within the framework of React development provides contributors with insight into component-oriented architecture, state management, and details related to virtual DOM implementation. Since React is often used in web app development, raising contributions does not only increase the skill of individuals themselves but also directly changes user experience with apps on the web. It’s an opening to learning modern web development techniques under the supervision of a group.
The most widely used container orchestration platform Kubernetes provides an intense immersion in the environment of containerized applications and cloud-native technologies. Contributing to Kubernetes is about addressing issues concerning distributed systems, scalability, and automation. This project allows novices to interact with containerization, cluster management, and disentangle deployment of applications at this level.
The project’s wide range of documentation and active community provides a favorable learning atmosphere. It helps in improving the understanding of how application orchestration and management can be done effectively when it is provided with a dynamic cloud environment. It is a thrilling adventure for those eager to learn about the cutting-edge current approaches in software deployment.
8. Jupyter Notebook
Jupyter Notebook, an open-source web application, makes interactive computing and data science detection easy. The developers working on Jupyter projects are at the point where coding and data visualization intersect. This allows beginners to develop better skills in integrating user-friendly interfaces for live code, equations, and visualizations.
Jupyter Notebook is collaborative, meaning that contributors can dive into the realm of data-driven applications and learn about aspects of workflows in data science as well as interactive computing. By engaging in Jupyter projects, developers not only engage with a key tool for researchers and data scientists, but they also take up an adventure that intersects coding, analysis of information as well as production of living documents across the emerging world of technology based on facts.
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There are many projects on GitHub and other similar sources that are aimed at beginners. Some of these are meant to educate by providing you with study materials, while others are more like walkthroughs or practice exercises. Whatever the case may be, these are beginner-friendly projects and often the place to start. However, this is not at all the case in all projects marked as a “good first issue”.
Some of the high-level apps, websites, platforms, and projects also offer work that is fit for beginners. This is mainly because the high-level works are done by people who have the necessary qualifications to do so, but the project is still open-sourced and contains many tasks to be done on all levels of difficulty. Here are some intricate projects that also offer a spot for the newcomers to tackle real issues while learning the ropes.
Zulip is one of the fastest-growing open-source projects on the internet and is an open-source group chat application. It combines instant real-time messaging with the utility of threaded conversations and runs on open-source platforms. The app’s team offers many tasks that a beginner level programmer can perform to learn as well as add to their portfolio.
On Zulip, you can be one of the many contributors to the platform by contributing code as well as performing non-code contributions such as reporting issues, translation, or giving feedback to improve the app. You can also host and run a Zulip server, which runs on many platforms, including Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic, Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial, and Debian 9 Stretch.
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Neovim is tagged “good first issue” on GitHub, which indicates that it is suitable for people looking for their first open-source projects on GitHub. Vim is a powerful text editor over two decades old and has a rich, fostering community surrounding it. It has accumulated over 300,000 lines of C89 code that very few people can even comprehend, and even fewer dare to touch.
Neovim puts forward a solution to the headache of fostering Vim by re-factoring its source code. This aims to make maintenance easier by accelerating bug fixes and addition of new features, add modern UI without affecting the source code, splitting the work among multiple devs, and add a new plugin architecture that will improve its extensibility power.
This project is not a mission to rewrite Vim but to change it to suit modern times. The changes will have as little impact as possible on the source code. With almost 40,000 stars on GitHub, this is a very popular project in the community.
iGraph is a library that is usable from C, R, Python, and Mathematica. The project is for creating, manipulating, and analyzing graphs. It is a library of network analysis tools and emphasizes efficiency, portability, and ease of use. The Igraph repository on GitHub has over a thousand stars and many suitable problems for beginner level devs to solve.
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Scrapy is a high level, fast and accurate data scraping tool built on a Python framework. It is used to scour cyberspace and collect the required data from many online sources, according to the user’s requirement.
It is used for data mining, monitoring purposes, and even testing. This high-level web crawler also has a rich GitHub repository that can serve as a good place for beginner-level entrants to try out. This project should be interesting for Data Miners and scientists as well.
Jina is a search framework that has cross-modal search implementation capabilities. It is powered by Deep Learning, and it can be used to enable text, image, and audio searches in the cloud. It can be extended using Pythonic interfaces, is plug and play, cloud-enabled, and contains great AI modals, among other capabilities.
It can be installed on Linux or macOS with Python. This is a high-level Deep Learning project which also has relatively easier tasks for beginners. Anyone interested in AI, Cloud Computing, and search engines should definitely take up this project.
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Latest GitHub Projects For Beginners 2024
Open source GitHub projects for beginners are undoubtedly one of the best ways to begin your journey in the software development field. By engaging with open source projects for beginners, you get to participate in the development of significant projects alongside collaborating with experienced coders and developers. That’s why we have curated this list containing some of the latest open source projects for beginners available on GitHub.
Based on Apache Lucene, Elasticsearch is a full-text search that is distributed and multitenant-capable. It was developed in Java and specifically used for Cloud platforms. It enables you to process full-text queries and supports linguistic search through documents. Currently, it is rated as one of the top enterprise search engines.
The second one to make it to the list of GitHub open source projects for beginners is this artifact repository manager written in Java, called Strongbox. With the help of this platform, you can easily host binary artifacts irrespective of the user’s repository layout. The developers of this project aim to build a universal repository manager that can seamlessly host and serve artifacts in some of the major formats which include NMP, NuGet, Raw, and Maven.
With the help of this platform, you can now write anonymous reviews about your colleagues, teachers, and students. It is a free open source project, with the educational community being its main target group. What’s more, this project also enables you to host various polls so that members of the same group can now rate each other’s performance and teachers can give valuable feedback to their students.
- Wikimedia Commons Android App
Last but not least, Wikimedia Commons Android App is yet another very popular open source project. It enables its users to upload images and other content directly to Wikimedia Commons, through their Android mobile devices.
If you have never worked on any open source projects before, then you should definitely refer to this above-mentioned list, to get started in this journey. It will also provide you with some real-applicable work experience so that you can later add the same to your resume.
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Open-source software has revolutionized Computer Science in many ways. It is now a field powered by a vibrant community of developers who work on their passion projects while making a living with their skills. Open-source projects drive many people from beginner to expert levels of knowledge and skill. These are vital to the growth of any aspiring programmer.
GitHub is like a goldmine for new programmers starting their careers. It’s the perfect place to team up with others and learn while you contribute. You’ll find projects just for beginners and huge collections of advanced ideas. Take advantage of these opportunities to learn and improve your coding skills as you go.
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How to choose an open source project?
Open Source projects can be found in a variety of places on the internet. Depending on the type of content, languages, specific platforms, and levels of difficulty that they provide, each source is unique. GitHub is the most popular project repository, with projects across all languages, platforms, and levels of difficulty. It is a terrific platform to learn from, with over 31 million developers looking to store their projects and network with other coders. The scale, scope, and difficulty of open source initiatives can all vary.
How can I contribute to open source projects as a beginner?
Look for projects or organizations to which you'd like to contribute. Visit their GitHub repository, read the instructions, and perform the search for first-timer issues. Working on as many issues as you can, either across projects or for a single project, is a good idea. Join their IRC channel (Gitter, Discord, Slack, and other similar services). When you're stuck, introduce yourself and ask for assistance. The links to the channels can be found on their GitHub pages. Start engaging in open source programs after you're comfortable contributing to open source.
Why should I contribute to open-source?
There would not have been as many features and upgrades in the software. This is where the open source community can help. Contributors from all over the world assist in the development and improvement of the software for all of us who use it. As a contributor, you will have the superpower of being a part of something that has a huge impact on so many people's lives. Apart from the impact you may have, it also helps you grow as a developer and, over time, as a good mentor, leader, and team player.