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How we celebrated Hacktoberfest 2023

Hacktoberfest is a month-long celebration of open-source that brings together developers of all skill levels. We knew we wanted to take part in 2023 so we invited folks from our community to deep dive into the world of version control, open-source software, GitHub, and collaborative development. 

Keep reading to find out more about Hacktoberfest’s impact on the tech space, the contributions and learnings Code Like a Girl and our community made along the way and the final product: an accessibility-resources project that you too can build upon! 

What is Hacktoberfest?

Hacktoberfest is an annual event running across October led by Digital Ocean, encouraging people of all skills to contribute to open source projects. Hacktoberfest is the perfect melting pot for all kinds of tech enthusiasts, welcoming everyone from seasoned coders to fresh talent. For the newbies, there are even low-code or no-code options to try!You can join by submitting pull requests to participating projects on GitHub or GitLab.

“Hacktoberfest gave me the opportunity for a bunch of firsts - my first time participating in an open source project, syncing a forked repo, creating a pull request, and dealing with merge conflicts.“ - Lauren, CLG School of Code Student (Foundations of Web Dev)

Hacktoberfest provides a platform to make meaningful contributions to open-source projects, fostering collaboration and innovation. We’ve listed some of the joys in participating already but there are further benefits too, like: 

  • Boosting your GitHub: enhance your GitHub profile by actively participating in Hacktoberfest, showcasing to the world your dedication to collaborative coding.

  • Resume Building: Being able to show a project that helps the community and involves collaboration is an impressive add-on for potential employers. 

  • Professional Development: Hacktoberfest is a rare opportunity to upskill your knowledge and learn more about open source all while networking with other like-minded individuals and even, some of the Code Like a Girl crew. 

  • Understanding Open Source: This cannot be underestimated - understanding open source is not just a development methodology; it's a philosophy that encourages the free use, distribution, and modification of software. Open source projects, hosted on platforms like GitHub, create a collaborative space for developers worldwide.

  • Experience Pair Programming: We may be biased but the experience of coding along with others in a zero-pressure environment and having a bit of fun at the same time was icing on the cake!

  • The Warm Fuzzy Feeling Of Giving Back: Not only do you get to feel incredible for giving back to the community but for every contribution made to the project, a tree is planted somewhere in the world. How cool is that? As you progress you can collect badges that signify all the different achievements you have unlocked so far as well.

Our Project 

When the Code Like a Girl team was deciding on how we wanted to engage with Hacktoberfest this year, we knew we wanted to create something that would meaningfully benefit others and continue furthering our mission of an equitable tech future. 

Enter our very own accessibility-resources project on GitHub, a collaborative website that helps other developers create in the most accessible way they can. This project aims to provide web developers with tools and resources to help them be accountable for bringing accessibility into all stages of their web projects, aligning with our commitment to diversify the tech industry and emphasising the need for inclusivity online.

This project was the heart of our Hacktoberfest and was worked on by various members of our community. With bi-weekly Zoom hangouts and a dedicated Hacktoberfest Slack channel, folks were able to get involved and work through challenges together as well as celebrate the successes along the way. 

“The CLG Hacktoberfest crew were always willing to help, and the Slack channel is so much fun and so welcoming! It was great having a CLG project, and really fun to see all the collaboration with the Hacktoberfest participants via Slack” - Rebecca, CLG School of Code student (Programming with C#)

Hacktoberfest is an immersive experience, allowing our community to learn and develop vital GitHub skills: forking repositories, creating branches, making commits, pushing changes, syncing upstream repos, creating pull requests, and resolving merge conflicts. These are invaluable skills and our project team is now empowered to employ this knowledge further and hopefully continue their collaboration and open source development. 

“This year, I learned more about VS Code, and how to submit with Git Commands in the VS Code terminal. I learned lots of things on the side, like how to look at different terminals in VS Code, and more about Open Source. I also learned more about GitHub as I figured out how to add my earned badges to my newly built README.” - Rebecca, CLG School of Code student (Programming with C#)

Our takeaways

Hacktoberfest 2023 was more than just a coding challenge, it was a journey of collaboration, learning, teamwork and success as we finished the month with a collaborative website that spotlights accessibility and was created for/by the community. Want to help us build our toolkit? It’s open source! Create with us.

“Getting my head around how this all worked in git was a bit intimidating at the start, but I'm getting the hang of it now, and I appreciated the support from Sarah and Lara at CLG, who are always so helpful and encouraging. It was also great to work on a group project, and I learned a lot about accessibility along the way too through all the resources that we were all contributing to the project." - Lauren, CLG School of Code Student (Foundations of Web Dev)

One of the biggest highlights for us at Code Like a Girl was seeing how skill sets and confidence grew during the month. Participants were excited by open source and empowered to take ownership. We are already tinkering away with ideas on how we can continue fostering this culture of collaboration within the community year-round.

To keep up to date on experiences like this, our Slack community is your go-to spot. It is an exclusive group reserved for School of Code students/alumni, interns, partners, or members of our internal team. Get involved by enrolling in a course or applying for an internship.

“It's always worth joining any of the CLG projects at any level, as I always come away inspired, and with more knowledge than I started with. It's the stuff that you didn't know you didn't know that is the coolest, I think... The consequential stuff that you learn while learning to do the 'big thing' :D -  - Rebecca, CLG School of Code student (Programming with C#

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