Is a Computer Science Degree Required to Work with Open-Source Software?

Open-source software development is booming, and it is creating many innovations, much faster in recent years. It is no wonder that many developers and even students choose to showcase their skills and upgrade themselves with these latest trends.

Open-source software is distributed with its source code, which makes it available to use. Source code is a part of the software that most people don’t see. That code can be manipulated to control the behavior of a program or application. And programmers can access the source code, change an application, add to it or fix some of the parts that are not working properly.

The code is shared publicly or is stored in a public repository, and anyone can access it and use it. The Open-Source Software (OSS) comes with a license that includes all the terms that define how the open-source software developers can use, modify, study and distribute the software.

The most popular licenses are MIT License, Apache License 2.0, GNU General Public License 2.0, GNU General Public License 3.0, and BSD License.

Working with open-source code doesn’t require any kind of degree from students, although like with everything else, having the open-source computer science degree is just a big plus. In general, computer science is now a very promising and in-demand direction, so many Canadian students decide to enroll in such a university or college.

So if you decide to pursue such a degree, be prepared to write a personal statement that will set you apart from thousands of other students. This can be a daunting task, but the internet offers custom services for everyone’s needs, so you can easily ask experienced professionals for personal statement writing help. Some of the best universities around Canada where students get their computer science degrees are the university of Toronto, University of Waterloo, University of British Columbia, University of Montreal, University of Alberta, and McGill University.

Although, as we said before, you don’t need a degree to be able to work with Open-Source Software, many of the OSS developers are self-thought, thanks to the open-source community from all around the world that are creating libraries that everyone can access. However, some writings of personal statements of software developers say that the most difficult part of becoming a self-taught developer is the fact that you don’t have a mentor.

So if you are interested in becoming an OSS developer but have a hard time learning by yourself, you can try some following courses and programs that offer their services to students.


Udemy offers many courses for open-source tools, and some of them are:

  • Learn Adobe Brackets Free - It is an open-source editor mentored by Laurence Svekis. This course will show you all the things you can do with the open-source text editor.
  • The open-source backup software - Bacula 1 is mentored by Heitor Faria. This course will teach you how to build a free open source backup system using the community software of Bacula.
  • Beginners Guide for Video Editing – This course is taught by Robert Lee Reed, and with it, you will gain knowledge on how to do video editing with open-source software, with software like Audacity and OpenShot.
  • Open-Source Intelligence – This course is mentored by Steve Adams, and with this course, you will learn all the tools and techniques that an Open-Source Intelligence professional needs to have.

Linux Foundation

Linux offers a free online open-source software development course that will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to develop to use Git, Linux, and more.

Seneca Open-Source Web Programming

Seneca works with the best open-source companies, such as the creators of Red Hat and Firefox. They offer various courses that give you a chance to work with the best open-source software developers, and you will develop the skills required to work within demanding environments.


This is a program that works with students from all around Canada. This program offers a chance for students to learn how open-source software takes place and practice. Some students even get the chance to work on projects with faculty mentors of knowledgeable industry software that has real users.


This program prepares students to work as programmers with open-source software tools. The students will develop practical and theoretical skills in Perl and python, content management Systems, and Ruby on Rails.


Dedication and practice make perfect. You don’t need to be formally trained or hold a degree in computer science to contribute to open-source software. Just find what you are interested in, and you will figure out the rest.

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