Open Source Software (OSS) is one of the most critical drivers of software today, and virtually all of the software we all use today contains some element of OSS. But, this work doesn’t just magically appear–real people contribute hours and hours of their lives to move a project forward, fix bugs, and improve documentation with the result of software getting better and better.

During the whole month of October, DigitalOcean organizes their 5th annual Hacktoberfest in partnership with GitHub and Twilio to recognize and celebrate the open source community and SendGrid is one of the many companies with Open Source (OSS) ties participating in this virtual event. In 2017, the Open Source community blew us away with its contributions: over 1,000 pull requests (PRs) to SendGrid’s OSS projects alone.

Some of the internal open source work that we’ve donated to the community include Krampus, JusticeEngine, and UI Components. Hacktoberfest provides you with an opportunity to keep moving any OSS project forward.

New to open source?

You might think that you need to be a hardcore developer to participate in Open Source and Hacktoberfest. Not true. If you’re a developer who’s never contributed to an OSS project, Hacktoberfest is a great way to dip your toe into the water.

To help you figure out what might be in your wheelhouse, we tag issues with a difficulty level in all of our repositories.

Here’s an example GitHub issue from our sendgrid-nodejs project:

Docs like code

Projects from across the Open Source community can benefit from more than just code contributions.

Documentation is often overlooked, and sometimes even an afterthought for developers.

Documentation is a great way to learn about how to participate in Open Source. In fact, SendGrid practices a “docs like code” methodology. All of our documentation is in our public GitHub Organization.

How do I get started?

You will need to have a GitHub account if you want to contribute back and participate. Once you’ve created an account, our main library repos, Python, PHP, C#, Java, Ruby, Node, or Go, and or our documentation repo all have issues labeled with #Hacktoberfest and a size.

The larger the size of the task, the more points you get on our leaderboard–which will be live on October 1st. We will continue to add items throughout the month as we or our community identify opportunities.

We’re really humbled by the enthusiasm and amazing contributors who are members of the SendGrid Open Source community.

For more information about Hacktoberfest from DigitalOcean and GitHub, please visit the official Hacktoberfest page.

What’s in it for you?

GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath tells Tom Friedman in his book Thank You For Being Late, “The twenty-first century is all about the software. We cannot make more humans, but we can make more developers, and we want to empower people to build great software by lifting up existing ones and opening up the world of development to create more coders…so they can create the next great start-up or innovation project.”

Hacktoberfest enables you to expand your wings and get involved in a community of like-minded software developers, doc writers, quality assurance engineers, and so on that keep OSS vibrant and moving forward.

In addition, you’ll get some swag!

We’re still working on the exact design for the t-shirts, so stay tuned for our next blog post as we get closer to October 1st!

Thank you & hello!

We really appreciate your interest in our efforts to support Hacktoberfest 2018. No matter your expertise with Open Source, we have issues and tasks that you can definitely complete, from small changes to help you get your feet wet, to much bigger, hairier, tasks for people who are looking for a challenge.

Every contributor makes a difference, and their contributions matter to us (even if we don’t accept them!!). Please expect to get constructive replies, questions, and suggestions from SendGrid and our community members!

Stay tuned for more upcoming information as we get closer to the event and check in our documentation repo.

I’m proud to have recently joined SendGrid as the Developer Experience Product Manager and that SendGrid is a supporter of Hacktoberfest. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at @aroach on GitHub or Twitter or email me at ashley dot roach at sendgrid dot com.

Happy hacking!

Ashley Roach is a Principal Product Manager for Developer Experience at SendGrid. Previously, he was a Principal Engineer Evangelist for Cisco's developer relations team, DevNet. He has spoken and led workshops at many Cisco and 3rd-Party conferences. Prior to DevNet, he was a Product Manager in Cloud Collaboration working on APIs and XMPP technologies. Before Cisco, he was Product Manager at NewsGator Technologies, where he initiated the Social Sites product, the leading social software integration with SharePoint at the time. Before NewsGator, he joined Jabber, Inc. in 2003 where he was the Product Manager for the Jabber XCP server and launched the JabberNow appliance. Ashley holds an MBA from the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business and Undergraduate degree in History from the University of Pennsylvania. When not hacking on APIs, he enjoys playing guitar at blues jams around Denver, snowboarding, and camping.