Hack the Project Onboarding Process: Learning by Writing Tutorials as a New Contributor


It’s common for projects, especially open source projects, to have poor onboarding documentation for new developers, even if other reference documentation is good. This can present a barrier to entry for those interested in contributing to an open project, especially in firmware, which is already relatively inaccessible to many software developers. The talk will discuss strategies for new contributors around writing tutorial documentation which did not previously exist as a method of onboarding. By contributing developer-oriented tutorials early on (the “explain to a novice” method of learning), new contributors can learn about the project at a deep level. The tutorials they create will then speed the onboarding of even more new contributors later on, improving the documentation health of the project and smoothing the learning curve. Inspired by the author’s experience bootstrapping as a developer on the Git project; the talk will include examples and tips for contributors interested in learning for themselves by writing new documentation for any project.