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Contributor Spotlight

Kevin Martens

Boston, Massachusetts, USA
First Commit: 2022
Date Published: 2024-05-08

Kevin Martens is a technical content developer and the Documentation Officer for Jenkins. He is a musician at heart, with a love for education and writing. Despite joining the Jenkins project somewhat recently, Kevin's presence is felt whether leading documentation office hours or providing reviews for contributors.

Outside of documentation, Kevin can usually be found picking out a record to listen to or playing guitar along to his favorite artists. He’s also a fan of all kinds of games, favoring card and video games the most. On top of all that, Kevin loves to explore around New England with his wife and then come home to their four cats.

What is your background prior to contributing to Jenkins?

My first experiences with open source involved game emulation, but I was strictly a user in these cases. In college, I utilized open-source versions of documentation and presentation tools, since there was no cost involved. I went to school for communication & education, going on to teach after graduation. However, I learned during this time that despite my passion, teaching was not going to be my career.

After realizing this, I spent time in different areas of the tech space, providing support and training on various hardware and software platforms. Ultimately, these roles were not as fulfilling as I had hoped. Even though I enjoyed helping users figure out their issues, I felt like something was missing. Thanks to my wife’s encouragement, I decided to break out from what I had been doing and apply for roles that would utilize my writing skills and background. This change brought me to CloudBees, and through this role I was introduced to the Jenkins project.

How long have you been using Jenkins?

I have only been contributing to Jenkins for the last two years, so I am still new to the project.

Why choose Jenkins over other projects?

It wasn’t so much a choice of Jenkins over other projects, but more of being given an opportunity to contribute to Jenkins as a technical content developer. Since I am a CloudBees employee, my relationship with Jenkins is a bit different than most. However, since joining the Jenkins community and contributing to the project, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have been welcomed and encouraged by the Jenkins community through every step of my journey and truly appreciate just how open everyone has been. I am a newer technical content developer, so I was incredibly nervous at first due to the project being so established. However, my concerns soon faded as I got more familiarized with Jenkins.

What problems has Jenkins solved for you?

Jenkins has not necessarily solved problems for me, but it has afforded me several opportunities that I fully believe I would not have had elsewhere. I am able to work with the Jenkins community on documentation and have taken on the role of Documentation Officer since joining the project. My knowledge and skills have grown exponentially thanks to the work being done around me and the availability of community members. I am very happy to be part of the Jenkins project, and hope that I am paying it forward to the existing and future contributors.

Is there an aspect of Jenkins that you’re particularly passionate about?

I am primarily involved in documentation, while also working with the other SIGs and officers on various projects. I have the utmost respect for the community as a whole, as I have formed bonds & relationships with people from all over the globe. The Jenkins community has welcomed me with open arms, and shown just how exceptional an open-source project can be.

What sort of contributions have felt the most successful or impactful?

Topical, but the contributor spotlight has been very rewarding to work on, as it not only showcases the hard work that goes into Jenkins, but gives everyone a glimpse into the people that are doing this work. I’ve learned a lot just from working with contributors and understanding what drives them.

I have also seen the work that is done in preparing Jenkins releases, so all of my respect and thanks to those that participate in the release process. This is no easy feat and takes the effort of several people to make sure is ready for launch.

Advice for new developers and new members of the open-source community

Never be afraid to ask for help when it comes to joining a project. Jenkins has lots of elements to it, and no one expects you to know everything right away. Take time and learn about the project and its structure, so you can ask the right questions and get the full picture.