Here’s Why GitHub DOES MATTER If You’re A Developer

Written By Jason Humphrey

Does Github matter if you're a developer in job-hunting mode? Will Github help you when it comes to the job searching process?

More and more often, recruiters are demanding more from developers when it comes to the hiring process. After all, they need to know if the person they are hiring really knows how to code.

One of the questions that often comes to developers, as a relatively new practice, is “Can we see your GitHub?”.

What better way to share code you've written, or demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in the field? Sure, recruiters are still going to vet you in person using questions and tests, but if they can check out your code or see where your technical knowledge is at before you even walk in our door, you're going to be miles ahead of the competition.

Github could be really known, today, as a portfolio for code. However, it does NOT replace your resume.

In today's video, we're going to discuss whether Github is a good fit for you as a developer when it comes to getting a job, how YOU can implement it all so that you get the MOST out of your job searching process.

Transcript Of The Video

Jason Humphrey: Today, we're going to be talking all about does GitHub matter, does it matter on your resume, does it matter in the interview, does it matter at all?

Does GitHub matter? That's the question. And, well, what is the answer? Kind of like a yes/no. It's kind of 50/50. I say 50/50. I think it's going to lay or sway one way more than the other. Let's talk about does GitHub matter. Yes. Let's go with yes first. I'm going to start by saying yes because when it's on your resume, it allows me as the interviewer to do a lot more in depth research on your, to not only look at your code but look how much have you been doing, how active are you. It's an absolutely great research tool that I love to use when people allow me to see it.

Begs the question, though. What if I'm not active? Well, then it can almost be useless sometimes, because it's just a dead link, and I've now wasted my time. But I'll tell you this much, it is actually extremely appreciated when you have it, and you have really good code on it. And I don't mean you got to be the perfect coder, I mean code that represents you as a developer, because far too often, I don't get an idea before you come in to know what type of coder you are, but your GitHub will tell me. Especially, if you have personal projects you've been working on, portfolio projects. If you've contributed to opensource work, that is fantastic. See, I love someone who's contributed in OJS while we're using Node, or maybe Angular.

I love to see those things. Or maybe one of my favorite utility packages, Lodash. If you commit to those opensource repositories, and you give back, it is a big bonus. So, yeah, GitHub matters, but that's not the only thing.

It shows to me, also, that you've been practicing, and that you might have some ambition. I know I could trust you to do whatever it takes to figure out how to build an app in say, React. Because I see about your GitHub, you're always learning stuff in the after hours, you're always committing to things you want to learn. You show that ambition, you show that hard work, that drive, that dedication to your craft to be a great developer.

And that's why I was rephrasing that from a second ago. It's not about you taking work home, and being a crazy worker. It's about you as a developer always getting better. The problems don't stop at 5:00, right. You have to learn how to solve stuff up here, and if you just stop at 5:00 every day, you're not going to get very far in your dev career. Your dev career's going to go very slow, and that's not going to be fun.

So, your GitHub's the way, also, for you to show me, hey, I'm ambitious, I'm going to do whatever it takes to learn your technology. Now, yes, a lot of this has to be inferred to the interviewer. But I'm telling you right now, it is very easy to see someone who's been working hard over the last year, and has a solid commit line of just commits every single day on different projects, different ideas. Maybe even just one big project. But it shows and it's shining light on your GitHub. So, for all of those reasons, which I'll sum them up later, it's a yes, GitHub matters.

Now, that's an answer to the GitHub matters on your resume. Let's talk real quickly in the interview. Does GitHub matter in the interview? And I'm going to say, yes it does, because if you are … There's a couple different types of coding interviews you can get, and I've seen a bunch throughout my career. One of the ones I remember earlier in my career was when I actually sat down for a half day with a company to program with one of their programmers, and I was the one at the keyboard, and when it came time to commit, and to add your messages, and then push it up, pull down, maybe do a re-base, maybe do a pull request. Granted, you don't do a pull request in the command line. But knowing how to interact with Git in the interview became very apparent very quickly that if I didn't know how to do it, I was going to look silly next to this other developer who would've been my peer if I had joined that company.

So, yes, it can matter. I don't know why I'm pointing. But yes, it can matter. We just talked about how Git was important in interviews and your resume. Let's talk about the opposite side of the spectrum. No, no it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter potentially, because you've been working on maybe top secret clearance projects, projects that companies, maybe where it's also proprietary software, where you can't do things outside of work, or you've signed an agreement that you will not work on any public code outside of your current job.

As much as I hate to say this, it's somewhat common out there in the industry for certain companies to do this to their employees, which I feel as though really hinders them from becoming an even better developer, because then they don't get to work with the opensource community, they don't get to work with other people, they don't get to put their stuff out there and get feedback, which is crucial, especially earlier in your career.

A majority of interviewers will never hold that against you, and more than likely will just go by the wayside. They're like, oh, no GitHub, all right, we'll move on, and so it becomes not a really big deal at all, especially if you have one of those reasons as exactly why you don't have a GitHub, and so it's okay. So, no in that case, a GitHub doesn't matter.

Also, you don't need a GitHub if you can prove yourself in person. So, if you can in there and do the coding challenges, and knock them out, and show them how good of a developer you are, having a GitHub doesn't help you. As long as you know you can go in there, and you've practiced, you've studied, you know you can do the all coding problems, you can do recursive functions, and all these great things out there, you can do it all, then you have no need to worry, and a GitHub won't matter for you.

Bringing all of this together, which way do you think it sways? Because I do believe it is a yes/no answer. Does GitHub matter? It goes both ways. But to me, it really rests on the side of yes, it absolutely matters, because it can validate you before you come into the interview, and will allow you to really showcase your dev skills ahead of time, and so they understand you as a coder, and the level you're at, and it'll allow you to get a better interview experience.

Overall, I encourage you to make sure your GitHub's up to date. I encourage you to take the time to put a couple side projects up there, commit a couple lines of code a week, to be responsible on there, and potentially give back to opensource code, and to take your time to show the world what you can do as a developer. Until next time, see you later.