Age is not a barrier for contributing to open source.
My name is Neil Naveen, and I’m a 14-year-old middle schooler who’s been coding for seven years. I have also been coding in Golang for two years.
From our partners:
Coding isn’t my only passion, though. I’ve been practicing Jiu-Jitsu for four years and have competed in multiple competitions. I’m passionate about coding and Jiu-Jitsu, as they teach me important life lessons.
I started coding on Codecombat, which taught me many fundamental coding skills.
One of the most exciting moments in my coding journey was when I ranked 16th out of around 50,000 players in a multiplayer arena hosted by Code Combat. I was just 11 years old then, and it was an incredible achievement for me. It gave me the confidence to continue exploring and learning new things.
After Codecombat, I moved on to leetcode.com. This site helped me hone my algorithm coding skills with tailored problems to learn specific algorithms.
When I turned 13, I moved on to bot programming on Coding Game. The competition was much more intense, so I had to use better algorithms. For example, when creating ultimate tic-tac-toe AI, I used algorithms like Minimax and Monte Carlo Tree Search to make my code fast and efficient.
One day, I saw my dad using an open source tool called GitHub CLI, and I was fascinated by it. GitHub CLI is a tool that allows users to interact with the GitHub API directly from the command line without ever having to go to GitHub itself.
Another day, my dad was reviewing PRs from a bot designed to detect vulnerabilities in dependencies.
Later, I thought about GitHub CLI and this bot, and wondered whether GitHub CLI itself was being monitored by a security bot. It turned out that it was not.
So I created a fix and included a security audit for GitHub CLI.
To my delight, my contribution was accepted. It was merged into the project, which was a thrilling moment for me. It was an excellent opportunity to contribute to a significant project like a popular tool like GitHub CLI, and to help secure it. Here’s the link to my PR: https://github.com/cli/cli/pull/4473
Commit your code
I hope my story will inspire other young people to explore and contribute to the open source world. Age isn’t a barrier to entry. Everyone should explore and contribute. If you want to check out my website, head over to neilnaveen.dev. You can also check out my Leetcode profile. And if you’re interested, check out my talk at CloudNativeSecurityCon recording.
I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had so far, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for me. Thank you for reading my story!
By: Neil Naveen
Originally published at Opensource