Something I wish someone had told me a year ago
When you’re thinking of contributing to an open source project, YOU WILL PROBABLY NOT UNDERSTAND THE CODE. Especially, if it is a larger project, or you’re a bit unfamiliar with the programming language.
Code cannot be read like a book, where you look at it and automatically understand what it does and how it relates to everything else.
I use to never really contribute because I’d start looking at the code and never understand what was happening. I now realize that it actually takes time and effort before you begin to fully understand what the code does. You have to read the documentation, look at comments, google syntax you do not understand, look and multiple files and see how they connect. You’ll probably look at one file, go look at something else, only to have to come back to the first file and look at it again. AND THAT’S OKAY!
If you’re looking to contribute, you have to take the time to understand the code before you can start changing a thing. Sure, this may take some time, but slowly and slowly you will understand. Heck, you might not even understand everything, but you really only need to understand enough to get the job done.