In this blog post, I will mention some open source initiatives and programs that can help you get started or more involved with Open Source.
Google Summer of Code
Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a program for university students to collaborate remotely with an open source organization during the summer. Students earn a stipend during this period. I participated in this initiative as a student collaborating with Systers Open Source organization. This is how I really got into understanding the spirit of Open Source and got to learn about it on many levels, initially as a contributor and then also as a maintainer. This year I am participating as a GSoC Admin with AnitaB.org Open Source (previously Systers Open Source).
Outreachy is a similar program to Google Summer of Code, but instead of targeting university students, it supports participants from underrepresented groups in tech (not required to be in university). These are paid remote internships.
24 Pull Requests
24 Pull Requests happens during December. You can find on this website a list of issues ready to be taken or projects that are looking for contributors. I did my first contribution to open source, contributing to a markdown based project with resources for people looking for jobs (my PR #9).
Google Code-in (GCI) is a competition for pre-university students between 13 and 17 years old. Participants have to complete tasks created by multiple Open Source Organizations in many categories, such as coding, documentation, research/outreach, design, and quality assurance. This year I had the pleasure to work as a GCI Mentor and witness creative work from participants. I really like that this program does not focus on coding contributions and explicitly promotes different types of contributions.
Hacktoberfest happens during the month of October. This is a great way for people to give back to open source during the month of October, just like 24 Pull Requests. You can win Hacktoberfest t-shirts once you submit a 4 amount of pull requests. I never participated as a contributor, but I did as a maintainer when I labeled certain issues form the projects I maintain with “Hacktoberfest” label.
Other programs and initiatives
There are plenty of other programs that help people get into open source, a few examples are Rails Girls Summer of Code, Season of Docs, etc.
There are some open source organizations that have their own programs that help people contribute in a structured way to their projects.
A while ago I found this collection of Open Source programs that has an extensive list of initiatives: tapaswenipathak/Open-Source-Programs.
If you are interested in finding open source projects but are not interested in participating in a specific program, it can still be useful to check projects and organizations that participate in these programs. Some of them can be well established and actively welcome contributions from the community (e.g.: organizations accepted on GSoC).