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People assume employees are consistently working towards a promotion. This is not always the case. Some are not looking to get promoted due to timing or life events. Others just aren’t ready to take on the additional responsibility that comes with a higher job title.  

Regardless of  your location along on your professional journey, open source can accelerate your career and make it more resilient. Carlisia Thompson, Senior Member of Technical Staff at VMware, recently spoke about this topic at the Women Transforming Technology Conference 

Even if you are comfortable in your current role, there are several other factors beyond title and monetary impact that may apply to your career trajectory such as:  

  • Skill obsolescence – do you have the up-to-date knowledge and skills to fulfill your current and future roles? 
  • Career stagnation – do you feel a lack of engagement in your work? 
  • Career mobility – do you have the opportunity to move across levels, positions or industries? 
  • Employability – what qualities do you possess that make you an attractive candidate to an employer? 
  • Career satisfaction – how content are you in your current role/career? 

These questions and their answers shed light on career growth — beyond just title and salary. 

Enter open source.  

Open source can present a world of opportunities for those looking to accelerate or expand their careers. It invites individuals to choose what they want to work on based on their interests, skillsets and level of expertise. Additionally, some large projects provide formal mentoring or shadow programs for those looking to work on a new skillset with expert guidance.  

Since your contributions to a project are visible to the public, open source allows you to build an accessible resume and tangible body of work. From an employer’s perspective, demonstrating involvement in open source shows where you want to be — you are not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.  Your public body of work makes you a “known entity.” This makes it easy for an employer to evaluate your work, understand what you’re interested in, and imagine how you would fit into their organization.  

Open source contribution also provides an opportunity to collect references and partner with other project contributors and maintainers. This community participation strengthens your interpersonal and collaboration skills. Finally, companies hiring for an open source role are more likely to select a candidate that has already made a contribution (especially if it’s for their project) because that applicant has shown initiative.  

Are you interested in getting started in a paid open source position?  

In the video below, Carlisia shares the steps you can take to:  

  1. Start becoming a sought-after open source candidate  
  2. Gain significant personal and career satisfaction  
  3. Accelerate your career in a way that only open source can    

Watch the full discussion below: