It is coming up on my one-year anniversary as a contributor for SUMO Mozilla and MDN. I stumbled upon the opportunity to become a volunteer through my job search for a technical writing position. As I had obtained my A.S. degree a few years earlier then was pregnant, then had my daughter, it took some time to get the mindset to focus on a writing career path and start my journey.
Well, beginning my research to get into the field of technical writing I sadly found out that most jobs required, at least, two or more years of experience and or a bachelor’s degree.
One of my research leads directed me toward doing pro bono or volunteer contributing for an open source project. I then looked for open source projects or companies looking to recruit volunteers and came across Mozilla. Of course, I knew of Mozilla, I had been a fan of the Firefox browser for years!
Since being a volunteer contributor was all new to me, it was a bit confusing on how to get started. Once I signed up to contribute to Mozilla SUMO I got on IRC (internet relay chat) and people were very supportive and welcoming. They directed me to the places on the forum to either answer support questions or where to go and whom to contact to become a knowledge base contributor, which was my primary interest since I wanted to become a technical writer. After I gained a sense of direction, I just took the plunge and dove right in.
As I was doing some contributing in the SUMO forum, I ran across a link to MDN, which is the Mozilla Developer Network. I recall in my lessons studying web development while working my way toward my degree I used MDN’s resources to guide me in my course work. It seemed familiar to me. Moreover, I found out how to become a volunteer contributor here as well, sweet! So, I signed up, got a warm welcome and have been an active volunteer contributor and part of the community ever since. Most of my involvement can be seen in the learning area for the glossary as well as proofreading and editing technical documentation for developers.
I have gained much encouragement and continual gratitude for my volunteer work with both SUMO and MDN. By becoming a volunteer technical writer, it has been a great stepping-stone in pointing me in the direction toward my goals to become not just a writer, but I have also learned to engage and participate in an open source community.
I have met so many wonderful people and mentors who continue to support, encourage and guide me. The amount of knowledge, skills and things I’ve learned are plentiful and never-ending. I have not only become a better writer and a more educated individual because of this involvement with Mozilla, but I feel a part of something bigger than myself.