Here are the traditonal steps used in becoming a Mozilla developer:

  • Hear about Mozilla from someone or somewhere
  • Download Mozilla or Mozilla Firebird and like it
  • Participate in discussions on Mozillazine forums
  • Start filing a few bugs
  • Help others get started with Mozilla
  • Learn some Mozilla terminology so you can help get bugs filed properly
  • Learn XUL
  • Start a simple project on mozdev.org
  • Start helping others with XUL and Mozilla questions on newsgroups and IRC
  • Submit your first XUL/JS patch for Mozilla
  • Check out and attempt to compile Mozilla for yourself
  • Continue submitting patches until people start to trust you
  • Get CVS access
  • Give code reviews for patches from other developers
  • Try to understand how the backend C++ code works
  • Submit your first C++ patch
  • Continue until people feel you are a key developer on some Mozilla code module
  • Become a module owner or module peer
  • Get hired by Netscape to work on Mozilla full time
  • Learn all of the secret in-jokes and make cryptic comments on your weblog
  • Keep developing until you get laid off
  • Say you'll continue with Mozilla development but to a lesser extent.

OK, so those last few don't apply any more. But, the farther you go up the ladder, the fewer people you find. Which is why there are so many more end users than developers and so many more XUL developers than C++ developers working on Mozilla.