Introduction to Open Source

This course introduces you to open source software. You'll learn the key concepts, tools, and processes to contribute to any open source project.

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Data Science

3.32k+ Enrolled

At a Glance

This course introduces you to open source software. You'll learn the key concepts, tools, and processes to contribute to any open source project.

About This Course

"Open source" is a way of working on a project that relies on collaboration, decentralization, and access. Open source software makes source code available to users and invites a community of technical and non-technical contributors to build on and improve it.

This course introduces you to open source software. You'll learn the key concepts, tools, and processes to contribute to any open source project.

First, you'll be introduced to open source software at a high level: what it is, how it works, and why it matters. Next, you'll learn how to contribute to an open source project, from identifying the right project for you, to understanding the different ways to contribute, to following best practices in the open source community. You'll then get familiar with the tools you'll use to contribute to open source software projects, including Git and GitHub. Finally, you'll learn how to set up and host your own project and explore open source leadership, governance, and community.

This course focuses on open source projects in the context of software development, but you don't need coding skills to enroll and reap the benefits. You'll learn how open source software projects are built and improved by a wide range of contributors, including developers, designers, architects, editors, writers, and students. The learning materials are delivered through easy-to-follow slides, videos, and demos, and practice quizzes let you test your understanding of the material before you complete the graded quiz for each module.

Whether you want to gain an understanding of open source projects or simply refresh your open source development skills, this course is for you. If you're an experienced developer or have no coding skills at all, you'll quickly gain the knowledge and expertise to find, contribute to, and lead an open source software project.

Learning Objectives

On completing this course, the learner will: 

  • Understand what an open source project is 
  • Know how to use common open source tools 
  • Be able to find and contribute to open source projects 
  • Create and lead an open source project 



Recommended skills 

Learners should have basic computer proficiency. 


Module 1 – Introduction to Open Source Software 

  • What is open source software? 
  • Why OSS matters? 
  • OSS at IBM 

Module 2 – Contributing to Open Source Projects 

  • Choose an open source project 
  • Before you contribute 
  • Different ways of contributing 
  • Start contributing 
  • Best practices 

Module 3 – Open Source Toolbox 

  • Open source tools 
  • Collaboration 
  • Github basics 
  • Github cheat sheet 

Module 4 – Starting an Open Source Project 

  • Hosting your project 
  • Project setup 
  • Licensing 
  • Open source community 
  • Governance and leadership 

Module 5 - Final Exam 

  • Final Exam 


  • This course is self-paced. 
  • It can be taken at any time. 


Saishruthi Swaminathan

Saishruthi Swaminathan

Saishruthi Swaminathan is a technical lead and data scientist in the IBM CODAIT team whose main focus is to democratize data and AI through open source technologies. She has a Masters in Electrical Engineering specializing in Data Science and a Bachelor degree in Electronics and Instrumentation. Her passion is to dive deep into the ocean of data, extract insights, and use AI for social good. Previously, she was working as a Software Developer. On a mission to spread the knowledge and experience, she acquired in her learning process. She also leads the education for rural children initiative and organizing meetups focussing on women empowerment.

Gabriela de Queiroz

Gabriela de Queiroz

Gabriela de Queiroz is a Program Director at IBM where she manages and leads a team of developers working on Data & AI Open Source projects. She works to democratize AI by building tools and launching new open source projects. She is passionate about making data science available to everybody and is actively involved with several organizations to foster an inclusive community.She is the founder of AI Inclusive, a global organization that is helping increase the representation and participation of gender minorities in Artificial Intelligence. She is also the founder of R-Ladies, a worldwide organization for promoting diversity in the R community with more than 200 chapters in 55+ countries.

Upkar Lidder

Upkar Lidder

Upkar Lidder is a senior software engineer with 10+ years experience in IT development including team management, functional and technical leadership roles with a deep experience in full-stack technology. Currently focused on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, he can be seen speaking at various conferences and participating in local tech groups and meetups. Upkar went to graduate school in Canada and currently resides in the United States.


Estimated Effort

4 hours



Skills You Will Learn

Open Source




Anyone interested in Open Source

Course Level




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