Practical Open Source with Open Student Communities

Practical Open Source with Open Student Communities

Open communities lie at the heart of open-source practices. Communities act like fuel to the engine which drives open innovation.

Open communities are built on the principle of collaboration. Such a collaboration is more often the result of shared interest and vision. These communities could be large and distributed across the globe, or they could be small and local. These could also be led by professionals or students.

The open-source movement has been a driver of innovation and collaboration since its inception. The importance of open communities has only grown over the years. The benefits of these include:

  • They help you build your network and expand your skills.
  • They act as a platform for you to collaborate with like-minded people.
  • They act as a launchpad for you to develop your ideas and turn them into solutions.

The open-source movement has been boldly changing the landscape of technology. Open technologies are now used across industries by organizations of all sizes. This has opened several doors for students to get involved in it.

  • Participating in open source programs like Google Summer of Code, Outreachy, etc.
  • Getting involved with organizations and communities associated with open source.
  • Starting an open-source project and inviting others to contribute to it.

While this list could include various other means, this blog is going to focus on another great way for students to take their first steps in open source. This is by starting open student communities.

You might be aware of various student clubs in schools and universities. These clubs could be for arts, drama, dance, music, or even literature. You might also have come across local technical communities. Local technical communities are student groups set up locally (in an organization or an institution). These advocate technologies associated with tech brands like Microsoft, AWS, or Google Cloud, or are shaped in form of student developer groups.

Now, imagine a community that is completely student-run, where students can learn, collaborate and contribute to open-source practices. This is what sets the ground for open student communities. Starting such a community could be a great way to start with open source.

Here are some reasons why:

  • It gives you a chance to learn and get involved in various open-source practices.
  • It helps you build a network of friends and colleagues with similar interests.
  • It sets up the platform for you to contribute to open source and make a difference.
  • It acts like a bridge between practical open source at scale and you while also opening several other career and development opportunities.

Here’s how you could get started:

The first step is to identify a problem you are passionate about and think open source can help solve it. It could be anything from accessibility, data privacy, open data, even the environment, or open source adoption.

For example, you could start a community that aims at increasing the adoption of open-source practices in your school or university. This could involve conducting workshops and training sessions to help people understand what open source is and how they can get started with it. It could also be as big as using open-source practices/technologies to solve a real-world problem. It is important to remember that open source is not just about code. It is also about collaboration, community, and culture.

Next up, you should start forming a small team of like-minded students who are passionate about building this community. In case your school or university has formal methods to start a new student club, you could benefit from it.

Illustration - Early Ideation in Open Student Communities

Early members of the team could help in ideating, and setting up the team structure, defining responsibilities, and other early decisions.

The next step is to start planning and building your community. This is where you need to be creative and come up with ideas to get people interested in your community. You could start by creating a website or a social media page for your community.

Illustration - Open Student Community Outreach on Internet

This would help you get the word out and attract people to your work. You could also start by organizing events like meetups, workshops, and hackathons. These would be great platforms for you to engage with people and get them interested in your community.

The most important thing is to get started and to keep going. Open source is all about collaboration and community. So, the more people you have, the better. The key is to keep growing and expanding your community. This is what will help you make a difference. Also, know that there is no one right way to start an open student community. The important thing is to get many people involved

Your open student community could be the one that:

  • Advocates for the use of open source technologies in your school or university.
  • Works on projects that use open source to solve social problems.
  • Mentors other students and helps them get started with open source.

and a lot more. Being a part of open student communities could be a differentiator in your career, development, and interpersonal skills.

So, next time you think you find the right opportunity, go ahead and start your own open student community, and build the future you envision with open source.

KodeKloud's recently launched course on open source aims to get you started with open source. It will take you on a journey starting from understanding the open-source ecosystem, making your first contribution, all the way to managing your own open-source projects, and getting involved in open communities. It will cover open-source concepts, but also practical aspects, through conversations, demo sections, case studies, and labs where you can test your knowledge.

Learn about open source and more with Kodekloud. Enroll now in the Open Source Course.