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Contributing to open-source projects.....

subhadeep chakraborty
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 29, 2006
Posts: 67
hi,
Can i contribute to open source projects? The technologies that i know are servlet,jsp,struts,oracle.My doubts are :
1) Do they pay for it?
2) What are the pre-requirements ?
eg. net-connection at my residence.
3) How tough is the work? I am a average java guy. Can i do it?
4) Do you think one can take it as a life time profession.
5) I want to work on core java. Is it possible.
I am jobless and need one soon.Any suggesions will be helpful.

Thanks,
subhadeep
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 41096
    
  44
1) Do they pay for it?

While some companies pay employees to work on OSS projects, it's the exception. And you'll probably not get to work on those projects until you've proven yourself in other ways.

2) What are the pre-requirements ? eg. net-connection at my residence.

At a minimum, you'll need to communicate with a project team, and you'll need to access remote source repositories. So yes, a net connection (from somewhere) is a must.

3) How tough is the work? I am a average java guy. Can i do it?

That's impossible to say. There are any number of projects where average is good enough. But few people are cut out to do Linux kernel development, to give just one example.

4) Do you think one can take it as a life time profession.

See #1. Some companies/people can live off that (often by earning service revenues from people who buy support for the software), but for most people it doesn't pay. The compensation is in the satisfaction of accomplishing something, and seeing other people use your stuff.

5) I want to work on core java.

Define "core Java".


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Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 41096
    
  44
Here's a high profile project -from Apache, no less- that's downright begging for someone to take it on. It gets asked about every week in these forums - you'd be making a lot of fellow ranchers happy, and it'd look really good on a resume.
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3219
Originally posted by subhadeep chakraborty:
hi,
Can i contribute to open source projects? The technologies that i know are servlet,jsp,struts,oracle.My doubts are :
1) Do they pay for it?
2) What are the pre-requirements ?
eg. net-connection at my residence.
3) How tough is the work? I am a average java guy. Can i do it?
4) Do you think one can take it as a life time profession.
5) I want to work on core java. Is it possible.
I am jobless and need one soon.Any suggesions will be helpful.

Thanks,
subhadeep



Ulf has summed it up. You can improve your chances of finding a job via open-source contribution, volunteer work, and an effective resume.

Contribute to open-source projects to gain much needed hands-on experience in sought-after technologies and frameworks. The choices are plenty ranging from widely used products such as NetBeans, Eclipse, GlassFish, etc to smaller hobby projects, which have been open-sourced by their developers. Pick the one depending on your level of experience, interest, and motivation. If your motivation is to learn Spring & Hibernate, then pick a project that uses both. How do you benefit from open-source project contributions?

Gives you a pretty good big picture of different technologies, tools and frameworks used in a typical application. A typical Java application uses Eclipse, NetBeans, or similar IDE, Java, JUnit, Log4j, Ant, Maven2, Spring, Hibernate, Apache commons library, etc. Try to analyze and understand how all these pieces fit together.

You get to read a lot of code and learn from it. You can not only learn the best practices, but also can learn to identify potential issues.

Write your own small programs just to learn the language and libraries (APIs) used in the open source projects. For example, Java APIs and Apache commons library that has very useful utility methods such as StringUtils, CollectionUtils, MapUtils, BeanComparator, Validate, etc. Observe the coding and formatting standards.

Learn how to use the tools like CVS, SVN, Eclipse, Maven2, Net Beans, etc.

Experiment by making changes to your local copy of the code. Try going through JEE deployment descriptors, Spring, and Hibernate configuration files to understand how different pieces are wired up.


Also try voluntary work. Voluntary work shows commitment and initiative, even if it is not mentally stimulating. It can increase your industry knowledge, give you the much needed hands-on experience, enhance your soft skills, and give you something to write in your resume without any prolonged gap of employment. Since the task of applying for a paid full-time position can take up considerable time, you could start working voluntarily 2-3 days a week, even weekends if required. Even if it does not involve Java/JEE, provided you can gain any other sought-after technical skills like SQL, XML, integration technologies, Web development, etc and more importantly valuable soft skills, domain knowledge, software development processes and methodologies that are easily transferable to your future dream job.



Good luck


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subhadeep chakraborty
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 29, 2006
Posts: 67
hi,
Thanks for the advice.I am sorry, but i have a doubt with Ulf. As mentioned this "high profile project" has been here for sometime and nobody is taking this up.Why is that? and
I have another doubt with Arulk. Could you advice me on how can i find "Voluntary work".

Thanks so much,
subhadeep
Paul Clapham
Bartender

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18541
    
    8

Originally posted by subhadeep chakraborty:
As mentioned this "high profile project" has been here for sometime and nobody is taking this up.Why is that?
My guess is, because there is a huge amount of tedious and nit-picky work to be done. But really, that's just like real life. Everybody thinks they are going to be working on the next Facebook, but in reality they are writing applications to assign garbage collectors to scheduled routes.
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 41096
    
  44
I don't have an answer to your question - I'm just an interested observer and user of the POI project, and I see that it gets discussed here all the time. My guess would be that a lot of people would rather just code, while what's asked for here is much more - it's project leadership, analysis, design, and implementation. Note that the change list actually shows progress being made with HWPF - just not in an orderly, planned fashion. (Which, to me, is the more challenging and interesting approach.)

I think Paul makes a very good point. Linux, Apache and OpenOffice are in everyone's mind, but in our day-to-day work with Java it's libraries like iText, Lucene, Jakarta Commons, POI, JFreeChart, JasperReports etc. that help us get our work done, and which always seem to be missing that one feature that would make our work soooo much simpler. And those are projects that everyone in the Java world knows (which is what counts for your resume).

But you'll need to be really committed to something. There are no easy or quick rewards; it takes time, dedication and work to help out a project in a noticeable way.
arulk pillai
Author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2007
Posts: 3219
I have another doubt with Arulk. Could you advice me on how can i find "Voluntary work".



You would be using the sme channels as a paid employment, but you will have to clearly mention it in your cover letter that you are prepared


-- Published Job Market: Review job leads via offline advertisements in printed news papers, journals, etc and online advertisements through job banks, job networks, recruiter websites, Java forums, etc. This is a very important, but highly competitive and most common channel.

-- Hidden Job Market: This channel allows you to apply for a job that has not been advertised, and can improve your chances of getting a job by tapping into 40% to 75% of the market. If it has not been advertised, then less people will know about, which means that you are competing against fewer people. The hidden job market is a numbers game and more people are working on your behalf (e.g. friends, former colleagues, former managers, former acquaintances, recruitment agents, etc), more applications you send out, more phone calls you make, and more targeted your efforts are, the better chance you will have finding a job. You can tap into this market in a variety of ways as described below.

== Networking: Start by asking your existing network, past employers, recruitment agents, past colleagues, friends, etc. It is vital that you build up your network as you progress in your career. Next, expand your network through paid or unpaid work in your field, registering with online network sites like http://www.linkedin.com/, joining relevant professional associations, attending conferences, attending user group events, taking part in Java forums, attending career (or job) fairs, etc. Here are some Java related links to start with:

http://www.nofluffjuststuff.com/home.jsp
http://javasymposium.techtarget.com/
http://community.java.net/jugs/
http://www.springone.com/
http://www.javacom.co.nz/
http://www.cafeaulait.org/usergroups.html
http://community.java.net/jugs/listing_country.csp?region=apac
http://www.javaranch.com (go to Careers forums)
http://forums.java.net/jive/forum.jspa?forumID=61

Also, do your research by searching on google for "Java community", "Java symposiums", "Java user groups" , "Java discussion Groups", �Java Career Forums� etc. Unless there is an urgency to fill the position, employers prefer to try their networks first and rely on referrals to find the right person. Referrals are basically the most popular method in the hidden job market and recruitment agencies� worst nightmare. Referrals can not only save money in advertising cost and commissions, but also can save valuable time in advertising and finding the right person. The resumes brought in via referrals do get a better attention. While networking, remember to apply dedication not desperation.

== Unsolicited applications: Make a list of employers you would like to work for and send your cover letter and resume to express your interest in working for them. If you wish to use this method it�s important to target each application carefully and remember to follow up with a phone call or call before sending the application to ensure that some contact has been made prior to your details appearing before someone in print.

== Cold calling or direct contact: Cold calling (over the phone or in person) means approaching employers directly and preferably by establishing relationships with people who work for the organization through previous networking activities, to make this technique less daunting. I generally prefer building up a good rapport with selected recruitment agents who had represented me in the past. Alternatively, you can contact a number of recruitment agents in your local area and sell your accomplishments along with an impressive resume to perform door knocking on your behalf. This can result in a win/win situation for both. Carefully prepare what you are going to say and be ready to answer some preliminary questions about what you have to offer the organization. Have your resume up to date and tailored to the job you�re targeting.
Carl Williams
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 27, 2007
Posts: 10
We recently discussed at our blog whether open source will be eliminated as the economy goes in the tank [ UD: removed link ]
[ November 17, 2008: Message edited by: Carl Williams ]
[ November 17, 2008: Message edited by: Ulf Dittmer ]
Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 41096
    
  44
Carl,
every single post you've made on this site has been to promote content on your site. This one in particular is egregious - there is no discussion or information, just a link to a ludicrous article (as the author of that post says himself), and more links to content on your site. Please stop this; if you want to promote something, post it in the "Blatant Advertising" forum.
 
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