Software Development with Linux

The key to a successful open source (personal) project

FRI, 23 MAR 2012

People who had to look for a new job recently probably know this : showing something you have done is a great way to increase your chances of being hired. That actually resonate well with how consultants or contract workers get new gigs. The more they can show, the more chances they have to get the contract. But now many people realize that the same is true for full-time employees as well. The issue is, full-time employees are often not allowed to share the code they have been working on for their employer. This is where open source projects come into play.

If you have done some works for an open source project, you can easily show it. This can be contributions to an already existing open source project, or your own personal open source application. While some prefer to contribute to existing projects, a (or many) personal project can be as rewarding or even more. But, you need to keep interest in your personal project if you want to pursue it. What is the best way to stay motivated about your project?

You have to work on something that really interested you. That is the most important criteria. Don't try to find something unique, that could be commercialized, or necessarily cleaver. If you have to choose between something you really like but has 0% chance of bringing you money, or something less interesting with a 10% chance to make you some, you have a lot more chance to stay motivated on the first project than the second. So if you drop the project because it does not interest you anymore, who care if it could have made you money? You will never know anyway.

So even if you think that your dream project has already been done a hundred times by others, even if you think that is a silly idea that has not much uses, or even if you think that other similars projects exist, it is still probably the best project that will keep you motivated to work on it. If it is able to achieve this, you will definitely gets something out of it. And isn't it all that matter?