How to get paid for open source contributions

How to get paid for open source contributions

To be frank, my first-ever contribution, earned me a modest $300. The next month brought three merged pull requests and a total of around $1,200.

Getting Paid for Open Source Contributions

While I didn't immediately quit my job and go all-in, I could sense the drumbeat of possibilities. These pull requests, in a nutshell, included:

  • 1. Frontend Anvil Devtools: Before Rivet, I developed a tool that interacted with Anvil cheat codes directly from the UI, eliminating the need for Cast or Solidity scripting.

  • 2. Implementing the UUPS Proxy Pattern: Implementing the UUPS proxy pattern for the protocol's core contracts was a nerve-wracking experience. I sweated bullets during the review process.

  • 3. OpenAI GPT Integration: I integrated OpenAI GPT into the UbiquiBot GitHub repo manager, creating a simple /ask function that drew answers from OpenAI's GPT-3.5-turbo based on linked issues, PRs, and other conversational contexts.

Since then, I've opened approximately 12 pull requests, with 6 or 7 successfully merged. Along the way I grappled with impostor syndrome, which is not uncommon in the field in the slightest but the best cure for that is to just dive in.

Overcoming Self-Doubt and Taking the First Step

I'll admit it—my approach to my making my first open source contribution may not be for everyone. Instead of openly starting a bounty and risking public scrutiny for my ability to set up or complete it effectively, I chose a different path. I began by setting up privately, implementing the changes locally. Once I was confident in my abilities, I made it public, started the issue, and opened my first pull request.

My rationale was straightforward: if I couldn't independently set things up using publicly available knowledge, readmes, Telegram chats, and code base reviews, I'd be wasting both my time and their's. In such a scenario, I needed to improve my skills first.

I successfully set up and implemented the specifications, but I hesitated to open the pull request. Fear of judgment for my code, approach, or lack of knowledge loomed large. Nonetheless, I took the plunge and opened the PR, which was merged within a few days. I felt elated—I had made my first open source contribution and received compensation for it. I had officially become a paid open source contributor, and I was hooked.

As someone who often grapples with impostor syndrome, this approach suited me perfectly. I needed to validate my skills and knowledge first. After achieving that, I sought validation from experts—those currently working in the specific sector of the Web3 industry I aspire to join.

Those anxieties have since dissipated, and I now open pull requests without self-judgment. I've learned to trust my abilities and leave the review process to the experts. Learning remains a continuous journey, and I firmly believe that if you're the smartest person in the room, it's time to find another room. So bring on the brutal reviews!

Not All Contributions Are Equal (But All Are Valuable)

One of the best decisions I made for my professional growth was delving into open source contributions with UbiquityDAO. While the financial gains were a significant motivator for me, they are just the cherry on top.

However, beyond the financial aspect, the experience, knowledge gained, and insight into my own abilities have been invaluable.

If I said anything that is incorrect, of interest, or you have any questions, please reach out to me on Twitter. I would love to hear from you!


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