GitHub Shows How Much Developers Love Open Source


Technologists might do any number of things with their spare time, but as GitHub’s latest State of the Octoverse report makes clear, many of them choose to spend their nights and weekends working on open-source projects.

GitHub’s administrators, having analyzed millions of repositories for the report, suggest that enterprise-related developer activity drops on weekends and holidays (just as you’d expect), replaced by a surge of activity related to open-source development. Of course, GitHub suggests that employers encourage their developers’ urge to contribute to whatever projects they might find interesting: “Organizations should examine policies around external work and technology to ensure they allow time to engage with learning programs and that moonlighting policies allow for external projects.”

With technologists stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, engagement with open source has increased—GitHub notes that open-source project creation has risen by 25 percent since April (year over year). For technologists, starting and participating in open-source projects confers another benefit: The chance to collaborate and make connections with others who share similar interests. Building out your network is an invaluable part of growing your career (and perhaps finding your next gig), and contributing to repositories allows you to do that even if you’re stuck at home.

After the pandemic ends, GitHub assumes that “remote and hybrid environments are likely to be the norm” as teams return to the office. It asks employers to provide “flexible solutions” so that developers can create schedules that make work sustainable; if the long months of remote work have taught the tech industry anything, it’s that workloads and schedules can quickly expand unless there’s a conscious, concerted effort to balance out work and life.

Or as the Octoverse report puts it: “Our analysis on work timing and work volume shows that developers benefit from flexibility that allows them to do their work by spreading it out. “

As we close in on 2021, and you consider updating your résumé and other materials for the new year (whether or not you’re actually looking for a new opportunity), highlighting your participation in open-source projects can boost your appeal to employers. Not only does contributing to projects show that you have the technical chops necessary for whatever position you want; it also highlights how your passion for technology extends beyond the workplace. When a developer uses their free time to contribute to a project they feel passionate about, they’re not just having fun—they’re also boosting their career.


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