Women Contributors in the Spotlight

We recently announced our #FirstASFContribution Campaign to showcase how diversity fuels our community. Our members’ diverse backgrounds, identities, experiences, input, and skills spark creativity and innovation. Whether you contribute code or service, your unique contributions make us who we are at the Apache Software Foundation (ASF).

Our First ASF Contributions Campaign celebrates those who embody our “community over code” ethos – our belief that open source community is ultimately more vital than open source code.

Without further ado, we’re pleased to spotlight the first ASF contributions from three amazing women.

Priya Sharma

Technical consultant, developer relations advocate, and engineer Priya Sharma started her open source journey by fixing and reporting small bugs and testing PRs. 

“Initially, I was very skeptical about how to proceed [with my first contribution]. I didn’t want to commit a mistake, make a fool out of myself, or worse…destroy something already working,” she said.

Her first contribution was a small bug fix patch for Apache OFBiz, an open source resource planning system that provides a suite of enterprise applications that integrate and automate business processes. 

“It was a surreal experience when I received the email in my inbox saying, ‘Thank you, Priya Sharma, for the patch,’…that first contribution gave me so much confidence for the next time,” said Priya.

Lorina Poland 

Engineering team leader, technical writer, trainer, and curriculum developer Lorina Poland got her start in open source through technical documentation for Apache Cassandra, an open source NoSQL distributed database.

For her first contribution, she proposed an update that would provide flexibility in redesigning the Cassandra OSS pages. She completed the work by switching the documentation from rST/Sphinx to AsciiDoc+Antora to simplify the building and publishing of docs.

“Apache Cassandra is such a great database,” said Lorina. “While my first contribution was an update to the documentation, I now have many years of experience writing documents for Cassandra and related commercial projects.” 

Bowrna Prabhakaran

Software engineer Bowrna Prabhakarn started her ASF open source journey by submitting a fix for Apache Airflow, an open-source workflow management platform for data engineering pipelines.

Initially, when she was following the existing documentation to set up her machine for Airflow development mode, she found a few commands didn’t work. As it turns out, it was because she was working in zsh shell, and the command given in the documentation was compatible for bash shell. She contributed changes in the documentation to support zsh users. 

“My first-ever contribution to a huge project was a simple environment-related settings change to set up the development environment for Airflow…” Bowrna said, “And now I am currently working on my 40th contribution to the Airflow project!”

We hope these first-contribution stories have inspired you to share what you’ve learned in your own open source journey. To share your first ASF contribution story, fill out our short form at https://lnkd.in/gZaWRnzT.