Guest post by: Louis Pilfold, edX Student and Open edX Contributor. This post originally ran on the edX blog on 11/3/2014.

MITx’s Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python (6.00x) was my first online course. I heard about it on Reddit’s “learn programming” section. The course seemed to have an excellent reputation, so I figured it was worth checking out. The fact that it was from MIT didn’t hurt either!

I had been studying biology at university, which I found to be terribly uninteresting. MITx 6.00x  put me on an entirely new career path. The job I found after taking 6.00x was largely administrative, but I found that I could use what I had learned in the course to automate many parts of my work. A few months later, I was taken on as a developer, which has been great fun. I’m now a software engineer for a software-as-a-service company that provides solutions for financial institutions.

The course was really challenging, and extremely rewarding. It completely sold me on MOOCs and open online education. Since then, I’ve taken BerkeleyX’s Engineering Software as a Service Parts 1 and 2, and just started DelftX’s Introduction to Functional Programming, as well as a few courses on other similar platforms. I’m hooked. I’m sure I’ll continue to take these courses indefinitely as they’re a fantastic way to learn.

I love free, open-source software, and the philosophy behind it. I’m always keeping an eye out for ways in which I can contribute to open-source projects and the community as a whole. I recently contributed a visual bug fix to the edX-platform web application. When I realised that there was something I could improve on the edX platform, I jumped at the opportunity. After all, edX has given a great deal to me!

My experience coding on Open edX has been very positive. Everyone is friendly and welcoming, and I feel very involved in the whole process. It’s interesting seeing how my contribution progressed through the review process of a larger organisation, as I’ve only contributed to smaller projects previously. I’ve chatted with a few people within the Open edX community, and I look forward to working with them again soon.

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