Toward the end of my coursework, Bloc had me contribute to open source projects to get involved in the developer community and get my name out there. I decided that a good first step would be to go to a local Meetup called Boulder Ruby Group to try and find out what people in my area were working on. At one of the meetings, I wound up meeting Kate Catlin, who started an open-source project called Women Rising: a Ruby on Rails web application that helps women find mentors in their chosen industry to give them advice and help them advance their professional career.
So, it became my first pull request to allow Women Rising mentors to provide mentorships in multiple industries. This required a significant migration of existing user data in production, database migrations to add a MentorIndustry table and a MentorIndustryUser join table, changes to the existing model, view, and controller architecture, and an addition of several Rspec tests to the project. In other words, it was a big PR, and really ran the gamut of everything there is to do in a Ruby on Rails project. I ultimately changed 25 files before getting it approved and merged!
I really enjoyed making this my first major open source contribution because I consider the goal an important one. It also worked out in my favor with my Bloc mentor, Cyle, who was pleased with how large an undertaking it was and counted the one PR as several open-source contributions rather than just one. Additionally, the contribution was challenging enough that I wound up collaborating on it with Rebecca Jackson and Ben West of Radial Development Group, a local software development consultancy (who later hired me!). I feel extremely fortunate to have found Boulder Ruby, Kate, and the Radial team, because everyone involved made working on this open source project a fun and welcoming experience!
If you would like to check out the Women Rising project for yourself, it can be found here.