Many of the best tools for data science workflows are open source and community-maintained. Tools such as scikit-learn, pandas, and numpy in Python, as well as dplyr and ggplot2 in R, are basic building blocks for almost all data scientists in industry and academia today. At Civis, not only do we rely on these tools to build our data science platform and power our client engagements, but we also give our customers the opportunity to use them too! CivisML is powered by scikit-learn and our Platform’s Jupyter Notebooks offering has — no surprise! — the very same notebooks you use on your laptop running in the cloud.
This Hacktober, our colleagues across our engineering and data science teams have coalesced around a company-wide effort to contribute to the OSS community. Even though we already stay active in the community by supporting initiatives like NumFocus and presenting at conferences like JupyterCon, we wanted to do more! That’s why this year, not only are our engineers and data scientists participating in Hacktoberfest using their hackweeks, but Civis is matching them with additional company time to help out. So, during the month of October, we will be setting aside some of our development time for fixing bugs, writing documentation, and adding features to our favorite open-source projects!
Being involved in OSS is important to us for a variety of reasons. First, it helps ease the burden on volunteer contributors. Maintaining the quality and stability of open-source software is hard work, and we hope to help fill in the gaps with our own contributions. Second, this is a great opportunity for us to use our skills as power users of this software. We spend a lot of time developing on top of open-source packages, so we know places where we can help spruce up documentation, or features we’ve always hoped to see. Finally, there’s no better way to understand a piece of software than to help write it. We’re looking forward to a chance to learn while we contribute. It’s a win-win!
Want to get involved too? Hacktoberfest is a great time to contribute to open source, whether you’re an open source newbie or vet. Check it out here! And be sure to let us know what you’re working on by tweeting @CivisAnalytics!
This post was co-authored by Jamie M.