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From Open-Source Community Involvement to Career

From Open-Source Community Involvement to Career

At first I thought I had somehow won the lottery: I landed a job at an awesome company supporting their use of open-source software. Then I did it again with a different open-source project, and then yet again with another open-source project.

I soon met others who similarly "won the lottery" and found themselves supporting open-source technologies for various companies. I discovered that our stories had many common elements.

While I cannot guarantee you will obtain your dream job, I can teach you about these common elements and how they helped me, and others, turn community involvement in an open-source project into a personally fulfilling career.

Aaron Mildenstein

May 08, 2015
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  1. 08 May 2015
    From Open Source community
    involvement to career...
    The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step...

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  2. If I have seen further it is by
    standing on the shoulders of giants.
    –Sir Isaac Newton

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  3. How did I get so lucky?
    I have a career in Open Source...
    I hit the jackpot!

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  4. Luck is what happens when
    preparation meets opportunity.
    –Seneca

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  5. “I'm a greater believer in
    LUCK,
    and I find the harder I
    WORK,
    the more I have of it.”
    –Thomas Jefferson

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  6. Survivorship Bias, Luck, & Mindset
    http://youarenotsosmart.com/2013/05/23/survivorship-bias/

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  7. Survivorship Bias
    The Misconceptions:
    ✤ You should focus on the successful if you
    wish to become successful.
    http://youarenotsosmart.com/2013/05/23/survivorship-bias/

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  8. Survivorship Bias
    The Truth:
    ✤ When failure becomes invisible, the
    difference between failure and success may
    also become invisible.
    http://youarenotsosmart.com/2013/05/23/survivorship-bias/

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  9. Survivorship Bias
    “Survivorship bias pulls you toward bestselling diet
    gurus, celebrity CEOs, and superstar athletes. ...
    You look to the successful for clues about the hidden,
    about how to better live your life, about how you too
    can survive similar forces against which you too
    struggle.”
    http://youarenotsosmart.com/2013/05/23/survivorship-bias/

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  10. “If you group successes together and look
    for what makes them similar, the only real
    answer will be LUCK.”
    –Daniel Kahneman, “Thinking Fast and Slow"

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  11. Survivorship Bias
    “It might seem disheartening, the fact that successful
    people probably owe more to luck than anything
    else, but only if you see luck as some sort of magic.
    … The latest psychological research indicates that
    luck is a long mislabeled phenomenon. … [Luck is]
    the measurable output of a group of predictable
    behaviors. Randomness, chance, and the noisy chaos
    of reality may be mostly impossible to predict or
    tame, but luck is something else.”
    http://youarenotsosmart.com/2013/05/23/survivorship-bias/

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  12. Survivorship Bias
    Luck is the combination of:
    ✤ A pattern of behaviors, that coincide with
    ✤ A style of understanding and interacting
    ✤ with events
    ✤ and people

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  13. Survivorship Bias
    Unlucky People:
    ✤ Narrowly focused
    ✤ Crave security
    ✤ More anxious
    ✤ Instead of willingly approaching unknown outcomes:
    ✤ Fixate on controlling situations
    ✤ Seek specific goals with no room for randomness.

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  14. Fixed Mindset
    A “Fixed Mindset” leads to a desire to look smart and a
    tendency to...
    ✤ Avoid challenges
    ✤ Give up easily in the face of obstacles
    ✤ See effort as fruitless
    ✤ Ignore useful feedback or criticism
    ✤ Feel threatened by the successes of others

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  15. Survivorship Bias
    Lucky People (those who consider themselves Lucky):
    ✤ Constantly change routines
    ✤ Seek out new experiences
    ✤ Place themselves in situations where anything could
    happen more often
    ✤ Expose themselves to more random chance
    ✤ Try more things, and fail more often...

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  16. Growth Mindset
    A “Growth Mindset” leads to a desire to learn and
    therefore a tendency to...
    ✤ Embrace challenges
    ✤ Persist in the face of obstacles
    ✤ See effort as a path to mastery
    ✤ Learn from criticism
    ✤ Find lessons and inspiration in the successes of others

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  17. I haven’t failed. I’ve just found
    10,000 ways that don’t work.
    –Thomas Edison

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  18. “Unlucky people miss chance opportunities
    because they are too focused on looking for
    something else. They go to parties intent on
    finding their perfect partner and so miss
    opportunities to make good friends. They look
    through newspapers determined to find certain
    types of job advertisements and as a result miss
    other types of jobs. Lucky people are more relaxed
    and open, and therefore see what is there rather
    than just what they are looking for.”
    – Richard Wiseman, in an article written for “Skeptical Inquirer”

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  19. So, how do I do that?

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  20. Seek out new experiences
    ✤ Community involvement
    ✤ Grow your skill set

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  21. ✤ The part of LUCK that includes
    “interacting with the events
    and people you encounter
    throughout life,” including:
    ✤ Changing routines
    ✤ Placing yourself in situations
    where anything could
    happen
    ✤ Being exposed to more
    random chance
    ✤ The part of LUCK that
    demonstrates:
    ✤ Evidence of “experiences”
    ✤ You’ve learned, and can
    continue learning.
    Community Skills
    Definitions:

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  22. ✤ Self
    Community Skills

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  23. In the
    beginning, there
    was a penguin...

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  24. ✤ Self
    ✤ User Groups & Meetups
    ✤ *NIX
    ✤ Server Management
    Community Skills

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  25. “It's not what you know,
    but who you know that counts…”
    –Tired, Overused Proverb

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  26. ✤ Self
    ✤ User Groups & Meetups
    ✤ IRC
    Community Skills
    ✤ *NIX
    ✤ Server Management

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  27. Try more things, fail more often...
    Don't be afraid to walk away from a
    job that is not a good fit.

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  28. And then came
    the Beastie...

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  29. ✤ Self
    ✤ User Groups & Meetups
    ✤ IRC
    ✤ Friends & Family
    ✤ *NIX
    ✤ Server Management
    Community Skills

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  30. Try more things, fail more often...
    Find a niche that speaks to you.

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  31. Constantly change routines...
    "If you're not the worst musician in in
    your band, you should immediately
    switch bands."
    –Common saying among jazz musicians

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  32. ✤ Self
    ✤ User Groups & Meetups
    ✤ IRC
    ✤ Friends & Family
    ✤ Recruiters
    ✤ *NIX
    ✤ Server Management
    ✤ Shell Scripting
    ✤ SEC
    Community Skills

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  33. Always be polite to recruiters.
    Always.

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  34. Try more things, fail more often...
    Find a niche that speaks to you.

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  35. Zabbix
    The monitoring era begins...

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  36. ✤ Self
    ✤ User Groups & Meetups
    ✤ IRC
    ✤ Friends & Family
    ✤ Recruiters
    ✤ Forums & Email Lists
    ✤ Blogging
    ✤ *NIX
    ✤ Server Management
    ✤ Shell Scripting
    ✤ SEC
    ✤ Monitoring (Zabbix)
    ✤ Python
    Community Skills

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  37. GitHub
    Social coding goes mainstream.

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  38. How Lucky?
    ✤ Seek out new experiences
    ✤ Place themselves in
    situations where
    anything could happen
    more often
    ✤ Expose themselves to
    more random chance
    ✤ Try more things, and fail
    more often...

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  39. “Publish Or Perish”
    –Academics Everywhere

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  40. git push and flourish

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  41. ✤ Constantly change routines
    ✤ Seek out new experiences
    ✤ Place themselves in
    situations where anything
    could happen more often
    ✤ Expose themselves to more
    random chance
    ✤ Try more things, and fail
    more often...
    ✤ Narrowly focused
    ✤ Crave security
    ✤ More anxious
    ✤ Instead of willingly
    approaching unknown
    outcomes:
    ✤ Fixate on controlling
    situations
    ✤ Seek specific goals with no
    room for randomness.
    “Lucky” “Unlucky”

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  42. ✤ Constantly change routines
    ✤ Seek out new experiences
    ✤ Place themselves in
    situations where anything
    could happen more often
    ✤ Expose themselves to more
    random chance
    ✤ Try more things, and fail
    more often...
    ✤ Narrowly focused
    ✤ Shows controlled
    situations
    ✤ Cannot show how you
    respond to randomness.
    ✤ Ineffective at
    demonstrating your
    “Luck”
    “Lucky” Résumés

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  43. Résumés Are
    Dead
    by Richie Norton

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  44. Start Something
    Stupid
    ✤ Create a program that solves a
    problem at your work
    ✤ Create a community
    ✤ Start helping others succeed
    with no anticipation of reward
    ✤ Write an app that does
    something you want, even if it
    seems silly.
    ✤ ???

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  45. “A stupid decision that works out well
    becomes a brilliant decision in hindsight.”
    –Daniel Kahneman, “Thinking Fast and Slow"

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  46. “A stupid decision that works out well
    becomes a brilliant decision in hindsight.”
    –Daniel Kahneman, “Thinking Fast and Slow"
    Try more things, fail more often...

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  47. Steve Jobs
    As a college dropout, he and a few friends
    started building computers in his parent's
    garage. He was booted out of his own
    company. He kept going, and dared “to
    be one of the crazy ones.”

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  48. Linus Torvalds
    He was just a college student when he
    started work on the Linux kernel.

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  49. Shay Banon
    Wanted to remake his single-node search
    product into something more scalable.
    The result was Elasticsearch.

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  50. Jordan Sissel
    Created tools to help him be a better
    SysAdmin.
    Logstash was one of these tools.

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  51. Rashid Khan
    Was dissatisfied with the "Logstash Web"
    tool.
    Created Kibana as a replacement.

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  52. Logstash
    A new toy becomes an obsession...

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  53. The ELK Stack
    ...before there was even a company!

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  54. ✤ Self
    ✤ User Groups & Meetups
    ✤ IRC
    ✤ Friends & Family
    ✤ Recruiters
    ✤ Forums & Email Lists
    ✤ Blogging
    ✤ GitHub
    ✤ *NIX
    ✤ Server Management
    ✤ Shell Scripting
    ✤ SEC
    ✤ Monitoring (Zabbix)
    ✤ Python
    Community Skills

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  55. Curator
    Managing your Elasticsearch indices

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  56. “Change” your mind
    ✤ Overcome Survivorship Bias
    ✤ Practice the skills of success to become “lucky”
    ✤ Develop a growth mindset

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  57. ✤ Constantly change routines
    ✤ Seek out new experiences
    ✤ Place themselves in
    situations where anything
    could happen more often
    ✤ Expose themselves to more
    random chance
    ✤ Try more things, and fail
    more often...
    ✤ Narrowly focused
    ✤ Crave security
    ✤ More anxious
    ✤ Instead of willingly
    approaching unknown
    outcomes:
    ✤ Fixate on controlling
    situations
    ✤ Seek specific goals with no
    room for randomness.
    “Lucky” “Unlucky”

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  58. Service: Helping others
    ✤ Serve one or more communities by helping others find
    solutions to their problems:
    ✤ Online:
    ✤ IRC, Forums, Email Lists, Blogs, GitHub, etc.
    ✤ Offline:
    ✤ User Groups, Meetups, Conventions, etc.

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  59. Participation: Ask Questions
    ✤ Ask for help
    ✤ Be careful of “RTFM” communities, but do not
    follow suit.
    ✤ Share the knowledge you’ve gained by helping
    someone else with the same question (Service!)

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  60. Creation: Build something
    ✤ Build something...
    ✤ ...new!
    ✤ ...that supports another project!
    ✤ ...that makes your job (or your co-worker’s jobs)
    easier.
    ✤ Then share it with others (GitHub, etc.)

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  61. 08 May 2015
    Change yourself, change the world.
    Take that first step...

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