You don’t have to be an expert developer to contribute to the WordPress project. Fixing a typo is enough to contribute. Seriously. The truth is every contribution counts no matter how big or how small.
By contributing you get the best hands on education in open source and WordPress core.
So how do non-developers contribute to core?
WordPress is looking for writers, designers, mobile developers, support agents, theme reviewers, testers and more that extend beyond core development which gives pretty much any interested person a chance to jump in and get started.
People from all skill levels and skill sets contribute to open source projects daily and they do so for many reasons. While we all have our own reasons, the biggest benefit is advancing your career, skills and knowledge by simply participating. Open source projects tend to be well documented and community supported. WordPress is no exception.
This experience also increases your chances if you plan to work in open source or a WordPress related company down the road. Additionally, you can gain referrals for the hiring companies as you get to know the community.
The Contributor Experience
I volunteer at the WordPress.org & WordPress.com support forums. My experience has been a positive one. Initially there is a lot of reading. I’ve been in the development field for 16 years now and I definitely got something out of the handbooks so make sure to take the time and read those. Most teams have their own handbook. You contribute the time you have and there is never pressure to do more than whatever you want to contribute.
I would like to share some experiences by others:
I wouldn’t have a job today if it weren’t for open source and WordPress, so I do what I can to give back to the community as a way of saying, “thanks”. I also know that the work we’re doing now with WordPress will help train and inspire the next generation of web developers.
Contributing not only gives back or helps to establish a voice in the community, but it’s also an enriched learning environment. I learned more in my first three months contributing than I did in three previous years of web development. It never hurts to have a subject matter expert on staff. And if you’re a consultant, you’ll be worth more to your clients.
When I meet friends of friends and they talk about blogging, it’s nice to hear they run a WordPress site. All in all, I’m happier today than a year ago just because I contribute more and feel like I’m a part of something big.
Non-Developer Ways to Contribute
WordPress has many needs in addition to core development:
- Design – Looking for testers and designers for the user interface. You’ll need to follow CSS Coding Standards.
- Mobile – This group extends to other areas such as Java, Objective-C, or C#. Your focus will be on Android and iOS.
- Accessibility – Lend your accessibility expertise to the accessibility group by making sure and core resources are available for everyone. You will need to read the Accessibility Handbook.
- Community – Focuses on community outreach such as meetups, events, programs and more. See current projects.
- Documentation – Writers can practice their skill on the documentation team. You can lend a hand in the codex, handbooks, inline documentation and developer.wordpress.org.
- Flow – The flow team works on usability and experience from a ‘flow’ perspective making sure everything…well…flows. Here is the glossary you will need to know and long term goals aka windmills.
- Meta – Meta team contributes to WordPress.org itself and makes tools to support other contributor groups.
- Plugins – Review and approve newly submitted plugins. You’ll need the Plugin Handbook.
- Polyglots – Help translate WordPress and assist with creating tools for translations.
- Support – Join the support forums or IRC to help answer user questions. Be sure to read the Support Handbook.
- Themes – Review and approve new themes submitted to the repository. Your handbook will be the Theme Review Handbook.
- Training – If you like to teach you can assist with online and offline material for instructors.
- TV – Use your video editing skills with the TV team helping others publish to WordPress.tv. Your handbook is the WordPress.TV Handbook.