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How I open sourced my way to my dream

Laravel employee #1, Mohammed Said, recently gave an interview at codeforaliving.io on his career and how he started with open source. Terrific story. A lot of what he says resonates with how I feel about working on open source.

Said believes many developers, in the Middle East and elsewhere, are interested in the open source community, but not sure how to get started: “They think they have to wait until they have something perfect.” That’s simply not the case, Said maintains. He encourages developers to dig deep into their favorite projects, especially into software they work with on a daily basis, and look for places they can offer “enhancements” to existing code.

Open source, he believes, is the best experience a developer can show in an interview. “Tech interviewers want one thing,” he says: “Show me your code.” You can share code you’ve written for your day job, but it’s probably impersonal or boring or even proprietary and closed source, so you can’t share it at all. Some code at work is done as part of a team and you can’t pick out what you did and what Jane down the hall did. Open source, on the other hand, is all you. It’s your passion, it’s publicly accessible, and it has your name on it.


Freek Van der Herten is a partner and developer at Spatie, an Antwerp based company that specializes in creating web apps with Laravel. After hours he writes about modern PHP and Laravel on this blog. When not coding he’s probably rehearsing with his kraut rock band.