From Lone Wolf to Pack Member: My Journey from Solo Coding to Collaboration

From Lone Wolf to Pack Member: My Journey from Solo Coding to Collaboration

Play this article

Why Collaborate?

What do wolf packs have in common with The Avengers and The Justice League fighting their enemies? They both collaborate with each other. Whether it's fighting Thanos to protect Earth, or hunting for prey, collaboration is a journey, not a destination, especially when it comes to coding. I know collaborating with people as a new coder can be scary, but it's not impossible to do. Let me tell you a story about how I went from a lone wolf in the digital coding forest to a pack member.

A book is opening

One is the loneliest number

When I first decided to start my coding journey, I thought I was just going to find a course, complete it, and walk out an awesome coder.

Boy was I wrong!

I was finding myself feeling frustrated at not understanding some of the content, or wanting tips on how to use certain HTML or CSS elements effectively in my coding projects. At this moment, I realized that I need to put on my big girl pants in order for me to grow as a coder.

Contributor at Real Station October 2022-Present

This is the place where I fell in love with open source projects. I first learned about this community through a colleague from Scrimba’s Discord community. Real Station is a repository where open source beginners can practice their skills by adding cool features to the community’s website. For example, I noticed that the resources in the website's Helpful Links section were missing tutorials that could be easily understood by people who are new to coding, so I raised this issue to one of the Maintainers(basically means someone who supervises a repository), presented my suggestion via a Pull Request, and got it approved.

See the one in the red circle? Yup, that’s mine! 😊

Through this community, I improved on:

  • Writing effective Pull Requests

  • Giving constructive feedback on other member’s Pull Requests

  • Working with JSON files

I had a great time contributing to this repo. It gave me what I like to call “Open Source High”. It’s a feeling that coding newbies and veterans alike get after they make their first contribution to an open source project.

Contributor at Accessibleforall October 2022-Present

After my high from contributing to Real Station’s repo waned, I was going through what I like to call “Open Source withdrawal”.

I need more!!!

I needed my fix fast, so I looked high and low to find a repo that could satisfy my craving, but I couldn’t find anything. Just when all hope was lost, I found Accessibleforall. It’s a great organization where open source contributors from all backgrounds can do things like:

  • Working on making their color palette tool more accessible

  • Adding links to resources that can aid developers in making their coding solutions more accessible

  • Send their websites to other members for feedback on their website’s accessibility

Open source projects were still new to me, so I decided to do the KISS method (Keep It Simple Stupid) and use my newfound knowledge of Markdown to revise any grammatical errors in the repositories. While I was scrolling through the Resources repo, I noticed that the “Youtube videos (from channels without an accessibility focus)” category were empty, so I raised an issue about this (for coding newbies, it’s basically a fancy developer term for writing a message to a team member.) to one of the main leaders on this repo, created and sent them a Google Doc that contains links for my chosen YouTube videos for their feedback. They loved what I suggested, so I added the links in my Pull Request, and viola:

screenshot of my contribution

It looks so beautiful that I could cry! 🥲

Through this experience, I find that I improved on the following skills:

  • Critically analyzing repositories

  • Proposing ideas to others clearly

  • Implementing their feedback

For a moment, my cravings for open source projects were satisfied, but then the hunger started to come back. So, I went off to find some more repositories to contribute to.

Me need food!

Contributor at EddieHub October 2022-Present

As I was hunting and sniffing for open source projects (well more like scrolling through the web with a mouse) on GitHub until I saw a picture of a nerdy-looking bunny underneath my colleague’s profile:

Hubber looks so cute! 🥰

So, I clicked on the picture, fell into the rabbit hole, and found a glorious wonderland called EddieHub. It’s a community where open source contributors of all levels come together and work on improving Linkfree, an app where you can post links to your social media profiles, websites, and track milestones that you experience in your professional life. It’s a free and cooler version of Linktree.

There are a lot of contributions that I enjoyed making in this community, but if I had to pick one, it would be helping make Linkfree’s website more accessible.

I was just scrolling through the Internet when I noticed a GitHub notification appeared. I clicked on it and saw that one of the members posted an issue where they listed website components from their pull request failed the repo’s accessibility tests and asked for volunteers to help them solve this problem. I love making digital spaces accessible so I volunteer to add an aria label to the line of code that depicts the GitHub icon on the navigation bar.

At first, I struggled with this task due to not being familiar with aria labels, but I eventually got it after doing a bit of research and receiving help from the other members.

Sometimes, the smallest change makes a big impact.

Through this experience, I learned how to write accessible code. Also, I improved on:

  • Researching skills

  • Communicating effectively

  • Critically analyzing content

Overall, I enjoy being a part of EddieHub, and I look forward to making more contributions in the future.

Conclusion

As cliché as this sounds, teamwork actually does make the dream work. I've learned so much from my fellow pack members(or were-coders 😂), and I've even started howling at the moon (figuratively speaking, of course, 😉). Who knew that collaborating could be so much fun? To all of the coders roaming alone in the digital forest, it's time to join the pack. If you're struggling to find one, you can join mine by following my blog and connecting with me via Linkfree.

Arroow!!!

Credits

Abbi Jacobson by Tenor

Bunny Logo and slogan by EddieHub

Once Upon A Time by Tenor

Rapunzel by Tenor

Wolves Howling by Tenor

Did you find this article valuable?

Support Christine Belzie by becoming a sponsor. Any amount is appreciated!