Choose an open source project that you care about. Don’t spend your time working on a project if you don’t believe in it. It is more important to work on a project you like than one that is high profile.
You don’t have to choose a famous project. You don’t need to work on Linux or the Apache HTTP Server. You may have never heard of Mercurial, Pentaho, or Scribus, but they are all popular open source projects with sizable communities. In open source, being a bigger fish in a smaller pond can help you stand out.
Small to medium sized open source projects give you more of a chance to make a difference and show off your skills. Smaller projects also tend to be more focused which makes them easier to talk about. It doesn’t matter if a potential employer has never heard of the open source project you are working on. An open source project can be a useful place to show your skills as long as:
- The project is easily found using Google.
- You can give a comprehensive description about what the project is, who will use it, why it is important, and what you did for it.