Being a brand and working on open source projects are all part of making yourself publicly visible. It isn’t the only way. Sometimes a job offer will come from the places you least expect.
Bad Code For A Good Job
It’s kind of a funny story how [Mozilla] found me. I didn’t know this until I was already hired, but apparently at the end of a long day, someone was complaining to Bret [Reckard] about some code that was so bad, it was like someone intentionally made it impossible to read. Afterwards Bret randomly Googled for “code that’s impossible to read,” or something like that, and found the International Obfuscated C Coding Contest (ioccc.org). I was one of the winners back in 2001, and my email address was on the site. That was my in.
…Yeah, they do things a little differently at Mozilla. For what it’s worth, that’s not the worst reason I’ve heard for offering someone a job.
Programming contest are lots of fun and helpful. You can also answer programming questions on sites like Stack Overflow. However, the place where you have the most control over your visibility is a blog.
I know you’ve heard it all before. Open source isn’t new. Contributing to free software may be good karma, but its certainly good business. Open source helps you:
- Build your personal network.
- Build specialized skills.
- Learn patterns you can use in corporate software.
Open source projects will help you build your brand, but they aren’t the only way to get your code or your ideas noticed.