Get 'Em While They're Young: Cultivating the Next Generation of Open Source Contributors

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 from 11:00 – 11:45am in B304


Many open source projects participate in college mentorship programs, but what about younger students? Should we be cultivating the next generation of contributors from an earlier age?


Does your open source project participate as a mentoring organization for GSoC? WordPress does. Do you have other mentorship programs for college students? What about high school students? Middle school, even? This talk will go over some new initiatives WordPress is planning (through the WordPress Foundation) to help kids who want to use and/or design/develop for WordPress. From kid-specific workshops at WordCamps to partnerships with existing educational institutions, we’re trying to make it easier for younger students to learn more about getting involved with WordPress if they are interested.

Good idea or doomed to fail? By the time OSBridge comes around, we’ll have a couple of months of these projects under our belt, and can assess the progress we’ve had so far. It would be an interesting discussion among projects about whether investing in the next generation of contributors at a younger age will yield a return or if it’s a big waste of time. Is going younger an appropriate way of taking mentorship and education a step further?

Speaking experience