It’s no question that hiring open source talent is a top priority for hiring managers. But how can you gain the skills you need to stand out from the crowd? Training courses and certifications are a great place to start (and our curriculum is built by some of the world’s top open source leaders). But, likely, you’ll also want to advance your open source skills with real-world experience through a mentorship program.

Open source talent is in demand

Mentees and Mentors gather at a past Linux Foundation event.
Mentees & Mentors gather at a past Linux Foundation event

According to the 2020 Open Source Jobs Report, 81% of hiring managers said that hiring open source talent was a top priority. And these numbers are expected to grow, with more companies looking to hire new talent in Linux, DevOps, cloud, and security.

While this is good news for the open source job market, nearly all hiring managers (93%) say they’re struggling to find the right talent with sufficient skills. Current employees are also eager to up-level their skills, with 68% of open source professionals reporting they planned to get certified within the year (up from a steady 47% since 2016).

Remote work due to COVID-19 has made it even easier for many professionals to access these programs. But they can still be costly if your employer doesn’t cover exam costs or if you’re just entering the open source workforce. Additionally, many employers require previous work experience before hiring recent grads, which typically requires completing an internship or mentorship.

How Moja Global built mentorships during COVID-19

This is exactly the situation that many university students found themselves in last fall when traditional internship opportunities dried up due to the pandemic. Not only are these programs a prerequisite for graduation, they’re essential to landing jobs out of school.

Faced with this challenge, a group of students in India reached out to Moja Global (whose mission is to support ambitious climate change) about creating an internship project to tackle climate change and deforestation. Project leaders reached out to their community to source mentors, and this quickly developed into the Using Machine Learning to Predict Deforestation mentorship.

Moja Global Mentorship, Fall 2020
Moja Global Mentorship, Fall 2020

This fostered rich discussions between students and mentors from a wide range of backgrounds, resulting in innovative solutions to the project’s problems. And most importantly, mentees were able to build their skills through hands-on experience. They worked alongside mentors who are top contributors themselves, to develop open source projects with real-world applications.

Real-world experience through mentorships

While certifications and training programs can help you learn the foundational skills of open source, think of a mentorship as the chance to apply that knowledge. Moja Global’s program is just one of many hosted each year as part of the Linux Foundation Mentorship Program.

These mentorship programs are designed to give mentees real-world experience contributing to some of the world’s most critical open source projects. This program aims to help train the next generation of open source developers, with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

As a mentee you’ll learn from experienced open source contributors. You’ll work on real projects like the Linux Kernel, LF Networking, Hyperledger, and others. And you’ll have the chance to gain invaluable connections to your mentors and peers, which can lead to future opportunities upon graduation.

The entire program is run through LFX Mentorship, which streamlines everything from task assignments and progress reports, to stipend payments and mentorship communications. Upon graduation, you’ll walk away with a certificate of graduation and a lot of applicable experience.

Daniel W. S. Almeida credits his Linux Kernel Mentorship with helping initiate his software engineering career. “This remote internship provided me with a taste of what working with the kernel community is like,” he explains. “The mentorship program and its mentors’ structure is paramount to get new developers on track. It was also so much fun to be a part of!” He plans to continue contributing to the kernel and is now also a Vidtv Maintainer.

To date, 175 mentees have graduated from Linux Foundation mentorships and more than $700k in stipends have been paid out to mentees. We also have a thriving community of more than 200 active mentors who provide expert support and training. And these numbers continue to grow with new mentorships launching each term.

Current Mentorship Programs:

  • Linux Kernel
  • LF Networking
  • Hyperledger
  • CNCF
  • OpenHPC
  • Open Mainframe Project
  • GraphQL

3 tips to find the right mentorship fit

Interested in participating? The first step is to apply! But don’t wait. Spots are limited and the deadline for Fall term applications is this Thursday, August 12th.

Here are a few tips to apply:

  1. Read the program guidelines
    Before you apply, take some time to read through program resources. While expectations can differ between mentorships, we encourage you to read through the Mentee Guide for details including eligibility requirements and how to prepare your application.
  2. Find the right mentorship for you
    Carefully review program details and requirements before you apply. Remember: You’ll be working with this project for the next few months, so make sure it’s the right fit. Think about the skills you’re looking to build during this mentorship, as well as how the experience will help you in your future career.
  3. Submit a stand-out application
    Cater your application to the program, just like you would when applying for a job. Many programs receive thousands of applications, so be sure to customize your application for the role. In addition to your relevant skills, we want to hear more about you and why you’re interested in this particular program.

Find your mentorship today on LFX

Does a mentorship program sound like the right fit for you? If so, you’d better hurry – applications for the Fall term close on Thursday, August 12.

Good luck! We look forward to seeing your docs and pull requests, contributing to projects which are changing the world!

Are you on the hiring side, looking to attract top talent for your open source initiatives? Consider launching a mentorship or sponsoring existing programs. Find out more here.