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Purge or Keep old, unfinished projects in GitHub?

Bradley Collins
Web Project Manager looking to make a career switch to Web Development. Currently learning Javascript and improving my HTML and CSS skills.
・1 min read

Context: I started learning to code off and on a few years ago and only now am I really digging in and trying to make a career switch.

With that, I have GitHub repositories over a year old with unfinished projects I started when I really didn't know what I was doing.

What should I do with these repositories? Should I delete them and pretend they never existed? Should I keep them as trophies/reminders of where I came from?

If a recruiter/interviewer saw these repositories, would they give me the stink eye?

What I am thinking:

  • Update the ReadMe files to explain the project (they are empty right now D:)
  • Figure out if I want to finish any of them and then get them on a schedule to make sure I finish
  • Any projects I plan on not finishing, make sure I explain why in the ReadMe


I just delete them and never look back.

Disclaimer: This is my first post. If my tags are wrong, the format is gross, I am open to any feedback/advice posting.


Discussion (5)

deciduously profile image
Ben Lovy • Edited

I don't see any reason to get rid of them. You may revisit these later, or want to remember how you solved a specific problem. Interviewers and recruiters aren't going to be digging deep into your GH graveyard to see if every commit you've ever made was a smash hit, they'll be scanning your featured, polished work.

Updating your READMEs is a great idea, but I think you only need to spend the time doing so for projects you'd specifically like the opportunity to talk more about with an interviewer.

quinncuatro profile image
Henry Quinn

What Ben said. No reason to nuke stuff.

Update your READMEs if you think a potential employer might ask questions about certain repos.

What I did was keep everything that at least had a "version 1" completed. I made private most repos that were some kind of "follow along with the tutorial" or projects that I just kind of started then lost interest in. That way they're there if I ever want to revisit them, but my GitHub won't be full of projects that didn't yield some kind of result.

bradleycollins profile image
Bradley Collins Author

That does make sense. Hopefully I'll push em down anyway with new projects.

README updates it is!

maniflames profile image
Maniflames • Edited

Agree with the others but if you really want to signal that the project is old, consider archiving the repositories. It will still exist and people can stil fork and star it no longer actively push to the repo. If you decide you want to work on the project again you can unarchive it.

bradtaniguchi profile image

I don't think any recruiter will go into your github profile and look at every single one of your projects and scrutinize them. Best-case scenario is you have a few projects you can point to as your "current" ones that best reflect your skill. The rest are just "there", and no one expects your first projects to be perfect haha.

I'd leave them as-is, or updated the README just so you can remember what it is in the future. πŸ˜„