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A Beginner-Inclusive Approach to Open Source

SeaGL 2020

The feeling of being accepted, guided, and given the opportunity to improve irrespective of current abilities is priceless.

There’s a need to set up a specialized team in open source communities and organizations whose primary goal is advocating, embracing, and integrating beginners into OSS. This team should focus on implementing roadmaps and personal guides with an inclusive and accessible approach to address the challenges first-timers face when joining OSS projects.

There has been massive progress in the acceptance and practice of open source globally, but we have lagged in teaching the ideology of contributing to and taking advantage of open source with beginners.

Data from two Twitter polls on open source contribution show:

  • 42.1% of people do not know how to contribute.Here

  • 40.3% of senior developers do not contribute at all.Here

I’m convinced that the difficulties contributing to open source projects fuel these trends. We’ve missed out on their input, creativity, and impact on developing products to improve the world. With an analysis of the challenges involved, a sustainable plan of effective and beginner-friendly guidance by open source communities will educate beginners to contribute to open source.

As a beginner, I’m in a good position to relate and talk about the challenges beginners face when trying to understand and contribute to open source.


Ruth Ikegah


I’m Ruth Ikegah, a self-taught Python developer, technical writer, public speaker, open-source enthusiast, and a people’s person.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology. I am sparked about onboarding beginners into the tech system, especially the open-source space. Asides being actively involved in tech, I am a social volunteer and a voluntary blood donor. I love making new friends over a slice of cake.