Building an Open Source Developer Program

As an open source nonprofit organization, your goal should be to work with as many quality volunteer developers as possible. This requires that you understand the nuances of what volunteers are looking for, and how to manage their expectations so that both you and they have a consistently great experience.

Your aim should be to deliver as much specific technical help to volunteers with as little interference to your organization’s engineers as possible. With scalable processes, you should rarely have to ask your core technical team to take precious time to keep on-boarding new developers. It can take some time to develop a truly efficient program that addresses the unique needs and management styles of your organization, but we’ve created some basic information that can help you get started.

Some of the main technical tools that both your technical and non-technical staff need to become familiar with are:

  • GitHub and Git
  • Jenkins, Docker
  • JIRA / Confluence, GitLab
  • Amazon Web Services and Heroku
  • Accessibility Testing Tools

Everyone in your organization that has any relation to how your technology operates should become familiar with these tools or their equivalents. Each part of your technological stack has common tools that your engineering teams setup, and many are already familiar to the open source community. The more you can standardize the operation of these processes across your organization, the better you’ll be at working with outside help.

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