If you’re working in computer science, you’re part of the fourth industrial revolution. A big part of that revolution is access to open source code and libraries that can help you build your dream projects. You do this to land a job, but how do potential employers know what you’re capable of?
One way to get your name out there is to start (or update) your Github. It’s a vast social network where you can build relationships, show off your own work, and make a name for yourself. If you aren’t on Github, or your profile is in pressing need of some love, you need to join, build, and optimize that languishing profile. Here’s why.
1. Social Media For Developers
It has over 28 million users and 57 million repositories, making it the biggest collection of source code in the world. Your profile can tell interested parties who you are and what you can do.
There are similar options but nothing comes close to the action on Github. You can follow users who are doing interesting work and opt-in to work on projects where users open the chance. You can build relationships and showcase your talent.
2. Version Control
Building code sometimes requires burning the village. Github keeps track of every change that’s happened so if your project is a bust, you can revert back two months and make things right. When that happens, Github makes it easy whether you have seven changes or 7000.
You can also make copies and work on your version separate from the central repository. Once you’ve executed your code, you can request it be merged with existing code using a pull request. This gives you the chance to practice (or show off) critical skills without worrying about sinking the entire project. It also opens your project up to collaboration relatively risk-free.
Github connects you to developers all over the world. You can collaborate whether you live in a town of 500 people or 5 million. It offers excellent interfaces that encourage collaboration and peeling back the layers of the black box.
In the old days, companies built projects in the dark, keeping the versions secret and leaving everyone else to guess how they created their projects. We don’t value secrecy like that anymore. Some of the most prominent frameworks and languages are open source now, allowing users not only to collaborate but improve on each version.
You also have feedback and encouragement as you get better at what you’re doing. When that happens, you’re more likely to keep building your skills instead of letting them rust.
You need well-formatted documents, but you don’t have time to learn another program. Github integrates Markdown directly so your content can be input into a formatted system without having to go through the trouble of training with a new program. The lightweight markup language takes your plain text and formats your README file for you. That step alone is worth the profile.
5. Open Source
That’s a big deal because some of your most significant projects are going to hit roadblocks and where can you go to fix them? Github. Chances are, the line of code is there. It’s the largest repository of open source code in the world, allowing users to download to their devices and when they’re ready, upload to be merged back into the big picture. Open source means that while all that code is just in one place, it’s also in every place. It’s in every developer’s personal device, and that’s a good thing.
6. Multiple Integration Options
Github makes it easy to integrate with other platforms, such as Amazon and Google. It highlights syntax in over 200 programming languages. It has services to track feedback, programs for forking, and an entire ecosystem that makes building and then implementing a lot easier than what you’ve got on your desktop. It’s one of the easiest, and biggest, ways to get your projects out into the real world.
7. Your Ideal Employer Is There
Here’s the thing. Even if the other reasons haven’t convinced you yet, the company you’ll eventually work for is (probably) already using Git. Netflix, Linux, Zendesk, even Amazon and Facebook are using Git to manage projects, develop systems, find talent, and coordinate multiple teams. Showing up on the platform already makes it easier for you to come on board. As the largest repository of open source code in a world moving rapidly away from the proprietary, your next job is probably already there.
Build Your Portfolio With Github
According to Alexa, Github is in the top 50 websites in the world, quite a feat considering the narrow niche. If an open source code repository can make it there, that’s a good sign it’s worth it to get your own profile or blow the dust off one that you haven’t touched in years. Once you’re there, you could find that the opportunity makes it more than worth it.
Editor’s note: Ready to get a career in data science? Attend the ODSC East 2019 Career Expo this May 3-4 in Boston!