Published: 3rd Nov 2022

Hacktoberfest, and 5 reasons to contribute to open source and get hacking

Hacktoberfest is an annual event that is run by digitalocean each October. The concept is all around contributing to open source throughout the entire month and focuses on code, hacking and fun.

Matt Sutherland - Head of Technology

This year, for Hacktoberfest, we decided to take a day out from client time to spend the day ‘hacking’ as a tech (and wider) team. We were contributing to the open tickets on Umbraco ‘up for grabs’ tickets by either working as a team to on potential fixes for them, or accessibility and acceptance testing existing parts of the platform.  

It can be easy to overlook the value of both contribution and hackathons to your agency and indeed your technology team and developers. 

Hackathons in particular can be a great way to get your hands on new technologies, a chance to be innovative, creative and collaborative. Obviously (as is the case with Hacktoberfest) there is also always the chance of some swag or prizes but ultimately trying to create something in a finite amount of time can be incredibly fun. During our day hacking it was fantastic to see the team working together, having fun, sharing different ways of solving the same problem and learning from one another. 

Sometimes the trade-off of billable time versus internal can be a difficult thing to balance. So I thought I would offer up 5 reasons why you and your team might want to contribute to open source and get involved in hackathons. 

Your 5 reasons to contribute to open source: 

1. Giving back to the community

Fundamentally contributions from the community helps push open source projects forward. It gives an incredible chance to be part of progress on projects that you utilise in your day to day work or side projects. Contributing is a way of giving back and making a positive impact. 

2. Skill development 

Contributing to open source projects allows you to work on real-world projects, improving your technical skills, your coding abilities and a chance to play with either new technologies or build a better understanding of existing ones. 

3. Networking 

It’s a great chance to meet other like minded individuals as it forces a collaborative approach as you are working with the community 

4. Career opportunities 

Whether it is package development, pull requests, talks or anything in between participating in open source projects can help you build your portfolio and increase your visibility in the tech community. 

5. It’s fun and awesome 

It can be extremely rewarding to contribute to an open source project and see your work get accepted into the platform and then into production where other users can make the most of it. Why not try it?