I used to have lot of converstaion in Telegram with our fellow community members. A week back one contributor pinged me in-person asked whether we are contributing in the right track and will it be helpful for us in future. I was very happy to answer his question, and I mainly suggest the contributors to contribute to areas which they are interested or which they feel it will be really helpful for them.
Recently MozillaTN community had its first meetup at Coimbatore, we choosed some of the contribution areas and share knowledge about those areas, at the same time we built shareable resources based on those areas
Areas we focused
- QA & WebCompat
These areas are carefully choosen by the core team who worked for days before Meetup and even now these people constantly work to improve community along with other contributors. One of the main goals while chosing these areas is it should align with Mozilla mission and also align with participation/innovation team goals.
How this areas help Mozilla
We know Rust is system programming language and gaining more traction in past years. In Mozilla it is mainly used for developing Servo
Mozilla helps making web a better place. Mozilla doesnt want VR content available to specific set of hardware, it should be available in Web so everyone can access it easily. So Mozilla supported a framework A-Frame which is very helpful in building VR experience using HTML.
It is very important to have software in the language which we are comfortable with. There are many non-english software users. Contributing to Localization is very important, due to huge number of contributors in L10N project Firefox is available in many projects.
QA & WebCompat
It is very important to make sure a web page is behaving in same manner across browser. Web Compatibility is very important and many developers forget this. Mozilla Webcompat contributors are helping the website owners to fix this in one way.
Firefox QA is very important, there are millions of devices available in this global and it is not possible for Mozilla to have so many devices. Contributors test the browser and share whether features are working well in their hardware. Collectively Contributors are shaping browser. And increasing the Nightly adoption in community makes it better right from start of feature implementation.
Firefox Add-ons helps us to customize our browser. Now from Firefox 57 only WebExtensions are allowed, these WebExtensions will be written once and can run in major browser like Chrome, Opera and Edge. Bringing more WebExtension developers will help AMO to grow.
How these areas help Contributors Professional
I wanted to answer these questions and the answer here are based on my personal experience and my reading.
As said it is System programming language. In the past 1 year there has been a trend where most companies move to GoLang or Rust, you can check the companies which are using rust in the website. Now companies which do product development (in India we are seeing more product development companies coming) are trying Rust. And also in stackoverflow survey it is named to be Most Loved language. So learning it we can become full time back-end developer.
When we see software in our local shops it will be mostly in local language and sometimes the big super markets will have in english. When we make a software in local language it is easier to get more customers. So many companies work hard to bring software in many local language. Contributing to Localization projects you can learn what is the professional way of translating the software. I personal know many contributors who are getting paid by external agencies for localization.
QA & WebCompat
No software development is complete without Quality assurance. When we write them it should be checked well and checked at different hardware. When I contributed to QA I generally learned more about the different test involved in particular feature, the more ways we learn to test the more test case we think while developing software.
Browser Compatibility testing is very important for when we develop Cloud based software. Have seen due to in-compatibility in Safari, customer drop-off during purchase steps.
I have not much contributed to this and not able to find directly where I can use in my professional life. Will update what other contributors say about WebVR.
Why I contribute
I started my contribution in 2013, I came into community to learn more about HTML5. I learned them and started writing articles on how to use them and shared it with others. I wrote some articles on MDN and learned what are the things will be there in documentation of HTML tags, and API documentation. Currently I am trying to create platform for students to learn Emerging technologies with help from other contributors. I develop add-ons write blog on how to develop them from my experience, teach students to develop add-ons. I also get in touch with other project members to learn and share with other student contributors. I also use the skills I gained here in my professional life many ways.
When I use the skills I gained from community it means I am consuming community members efforts, the only way to pay back is to teach it to other contributors like me.
I hope to some extent this post will clarify the doubt first time student contributors have, all our contributions can be used in our professional life, and our professional skills can be used to contribute it takes sometime to learn and do the things. Start slowly and steadily we can become a good contributor and get self satisfaction someday.