DEV Community


Posted on • Updated on

Go Update Your GitHub.... NOW!!

If you are a code newbie and haven't heard of GitHub.... chiiilllle you betta get with the program right now!

Ok, so you guys know that I like to be as honest and transparent with you all of the time. So here is my new confession: I just now started updating my GitHub account. Why now? Because I didn't understand it or the importance of it until now. (insert face-palm)


I started coding in July 2020. I had and still have no mentor. I have been doing this coding journey on my own ever since as a new mom and well within the first year of my marriage.... well, a little over a year.
I have always heard about GitHub, but even with the Youtube videos and such, I still didn't understand the concept. (I'm ignorant, I know.)
I would play around with it and make some commits every now and then but that was it. I still had all of my notes and code files on my laptop and that's how I would do it.

Fast Forward to the Present:

I'm strolling around on LinkedIn and I saw someone who made a post about his struggles on finding a job. He had a lot of feedback from his post and one particular person commented with her feedback from his profile.

She listed 3 things and amongst those things, she talked about his GitHub account and how quiet it was. Quiet meaning that he hasn't been active on it and hasn't had a lot of commits(activities). She said that it was important to "light up your profile with green commits" because it:

  • showed employers the quality of your code,
  • how often you code,
  • how well you work with others on their code and vice versa.

Where's the green?

So I went to my GitHub account knowing damn well that I haven't made any kind of commits on there, and it literally shows that I only had activity in October (one green square), January (one green square), and February (two green squares).

I freaking panicked!!

I didn't want employers to look at my account and judge it as I'm not serious about coding or that I was a fraud, or a lazy ass... you get the drift?!

So, the only thing I can do is to "commit" to GitHub, upload all of my code projects back from August 2020 to their own reps, and also upload my notes to their own reps.

What if I'm still learning?

Because I am still learning, and there are times where I am not coding, but I am taking notes from my studies.

Uploading your notes will also show your commitment to coding and will also "light up" your account green for that day.

Question: When did you start using GitHub and when did you start taking it seriously?

Top comments (19)

thomassjogren profile image
Thomas Sjögren

I really don’t like how some people treat the activity graph as some kind of metric for how good of a developer you are. There are so many aspects of development that doesn’t get reflected.

Some people even gone lengths to negate the effect of the graph by using bots to create patterns, figures and text in there, just so you can’t use it for anything.

If people want to use git to evaluate your skills and dedications, they should dive into your actual commits, PRs, issue activities and code reviews. Not some aggregated metric by the platform that can be modified by simple scripts or bots.

xoshly profile image

I strong heartily agree. I’m still learning this industry and one thing that I’ve come to conclude is that there are a lot of misguided and “do this, not that” advice (good and bad). You REALLY have to do what you think is best and make it your best.

egilhuber profile image
erica (she/her)

I feel like there's two paths to take to show off your code. GitHub, of course. However, it's not a perfect metric. If you don't have time to code every day or aren't writing 'commitable' code very often but still do meaningful project work, maintaining a portfolio website that you've made yourself can be equally, if not more, meaningful than an active GitHub profile. You can still outline your work and learning on a portfolio site through archives, blog posts, etc. It's also a place to show off your development skills! This can be especially helpful for recruiters that aren't programmers, but will still be wowed by your site.

xoshly profile image

OMG, you have given me such relief. I was very upset at myself because I thought that employers would reject me for this reason. I am still working on my portfolio site and I will start putting my blog posts on there.
Thank you sooo much for your comment.

ajxn profile image
Anders Jackson

You should Still use git and gitlab/github to store your code and configurations.

I use it to store my Emacs configures, and use it to move code/data/configs between different computers.

And using it for notes is a Good use.

Might recommend that you use Emacs/Org-mode for documentation.

Easy to generate different documents from the org-file.
Easy to do simple graphs with tools in org-file and external tools.
Easy to write example code within the documentation with Org-mode.

And Emacs got Magit mode for doing everything, yes everything, with Git.

darkwiiplayer profile image
𒎏Wii 🏳️‍⚧️

I find it very concerning that potential employers expect people to not only write code in their free time but to also publish it on the internet. It doesn't say anything about skill.

xoshly profile image

I think that every employer and recruiter have different views on this. Some want to see how consistent you are when it comes to coding and others just want to see if you write quality code and if it's finished. I am trying not to sweat it too much because there are other ways to showcase your coding skills, such as your portfolio. :)

ayomiku222 profile image
ayomiku olatunji

Good learnt something from you. Thanks for sharing it... I am an ardent webmaster and this really help me

mjablecnik profile image
Martin Jablečník

Publishing code into Github is good practice because every your potencial employers can see how quality code you write and what you really know if you are beginner and don't have a lot of experiences yet.

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

What if you choose to use something other than Github? Are you promoting the idea of essentially duplicating every commit into a service you don't like?

xoshly profile image

Yep, I agree.

lesleyvdp profile image
Lesley van der Pol

I've never really been actively trying to keep my GitHub green purely for future employers. My GitHub has quite some green activity due to some hobby projects I do on my own, or hobby projects I mess around with with other friends of mine. Although most of these projects are private, it still shows that I'm relatively active.

I've never really considered GitHub to give me the upper hand however, although that might just differ based on country. I do agree however with the people that GitHub is a good place to show off your coding skills if it's open. Although I think that the interested employer will get ahold of your coding skills also without GitHub.

I personally wouldn't stress too much on trying extremely hard to get that profile in the green with commits and pull requests left and right, purely to have it in the green and have commits and pull requests left and right. It should be more of a natural thing! If you enjoy coding, and sharing your code, GitHub is the place to be. Although I don't think it should be enforced to have a better shot at getting a job or something.

retronav profile image
Pranav Karawale

I signed up on GitHub in mid-2019 just as a site to store my toy projects. But I also didn't took too long to realize its importance. From few months I've been pushing commits to a single project (I make things when I don't find any that fit in), and in free time, I'm helping people out in some other public repos' Issues and Discussions. Doing so makes me feel connected to the community and so here I am :)

mzaini30 profile image

Hi~ Visit my Github too 🐈

Svelte       12 hrs 51 mins  ███████████████░░░░░░░░░░   60.13 % 
JavaScript   3 hrs 2 mins    ███▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░   14.21 % 
JSON         2 hrs 4 mins    ██▒░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░   09.71 % 
Markdown     1 hr 34 mins    ██░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░   07.37 % 
HTML         35 mins         ▓░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░   02.77 % 

xoshly profile image

Awesome sauce!! Sure will :)

karllhughes profile image
Karl L. Hughes

From an employer's perspective, I actually see a junior dev with a million half finished projects on GH as a red flag.

Show me you can stick with one thing and go deep.

xoshly profile image

THIS! This makes a lot of sense. It shows quality over quantity. And if I was an employer seeing a lot of commits but "half-ass" projects, this would be a red flag for me as well.