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Amy Codes
Amy Codes

Posted on



Let's talk about Microsoft's Github acquisition!
Lol. Jk.

Nah πŸ˜‚. This past week a really important conversation surrounding inclusive hiring practices arose because of this tweet:

It caused a lot of people to ask the question: "Should companies exclude candidates who do not have github projects?"

My answer: No

If you're interested in more of my thoughts on the topic, check out my video:

πŸ€” What do you think?

Definitely make sure to follow me on for more awesome content

Top comments (23)

lacanlale profile image
Jonathan Lacanlale

I remember when I first started programming, the common message was "If you want to get a job in programming, contribute to GitHub!!" but now that I'm further in, the whole message is almost confusing.

The major platform message of GitHub is about community and contributing to community projects that you want to contribute to in your free time. It's to enjoy and build together on your own enjoyment (at least, from what I've seen and understood). Wouldn't this whole message be useless if everyone that contributes did it for the sole gain to work? (I imagine it'd get draining, too.)

And what about people that can't contribute? What if you just like programming as a job? What if you're a full-time student with an internship? What if you have a different opinion about OSS? In my own view, it almost seems unfair to judge people off their github profiles.

amycodes profile image
Amy Codes

Totally agree that it is unfair to judge people based off their github profiles. My opinion is that at best, depending on the open source contributions / personal project, github profiles can be a positive signal. But it absolutely shouldn't be a negative signal if you don't have a github profile.

I don't code when I'm not working. It is very expensive to get me to code 😜

agusnavce profile image
Agustin Navcevich

I have the same perspective, I am a student and a developer, so I only code while working. And actually using codeCommit from AWS.

So seems not fair to me that a person with a github account and more commits than me have a better oppotunity than me.

This speech should change.

amycodes profile image
Amy Codes

@Agustin right there with ya.

david2999999 profile image
David Jiang

I don't think companies completely judges you based on your Github portfolio. Most of them still wants to give a technical examination.

I am a full time student with an internship. I prefer to create some personal stress free projects or just tinker with new technologies, instead of contributing to open source.

javierg profile image
Javier Guerra • Edited

This is companies being lazy. Do technical tests when hiring. Also trust people, and trust people will grow better. In my hiring experience I have seen really good devs evolve in very short time from mnay backgrounds.

gmartigny profile image
Guillaume Martigny

I agree with the "trust" part. But for me, hiring test are a mistakes. There's no way I can perform as good in interview as behind my computer. We've all done personal project at one point or another (at github or not), better show that.

javierg profile image
Javier Guerra

Right, technical tests are hard and you should give people space and the right conditions.

david2999999 profile image
David Jiang

Github is just a good starting point for an interview. Technical test is still required.

pbnj profile image
Peter Benjamin (they/them)

So, this is an interesting discussion.

On the one hand, I agree that we should not exclude folks who do not have any online presence.

On the other hand, actions speak much louder than words. Especially, in our field of software engineering, I would much rather see the qualifications of a candidate in the form of their work. These could be any number/combination of:

  • [GitHub|GitLab|BitBucket|SourceForge|...etc]
  • a zip file containing some work
  • [FreeCodeCamp|CodinGame|CodeCademy|...etc]
  • [Whiteboarding|Coding] challenge

But, you have to show for your technical ability somehow since this is a technical field.

david2999999 profile image
David Jiang

Yup. Technology is moving so quickly. Spending more time learning outside of work can be very beneficial.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

The whole part about GitHub being used as a resumΓ©/CV makes little sense to me.

We do think profiles make sense for this purpose though πŸ™‚

amycodes profile image
Amy Codes

Haha. I see what you did there 😜

kostjapalovic profile image

I am working on NDA Enterprise apps for 12+ years. I had no time for contribution and had very little activity on gh. On the other hand I've seen people who contribute a lot, but some of them were the most terrible people and developers I've had honor to work with that i even don't want to see them in my day to day life ever again.
Gh profile is only one tool among many others.
Hiring is too complicated topic to be only about having gh profile.
After all only yhing that matters is actually doing job and it only can be checked in doing real tasks within real team(or without, depending on situation).
Gh profile is good place for publishing your attempts with new tech you are playing with.
But oss contributions alone mean nothing alone, because how person behaves under work pressure/schedule/deadlines is what matters. Contribution on GH leaves everybody with context, rendering it unreliable source of.. anything.

tachyons profile image
Aboobacker MK

GitHub is definitely a good tool for hiring,it is easy to measure using real-world code and discussions than using a whiteboard or coding excercises

Problem is when we use it as filter, an active GitHub profile typically means that person is good in coding, but an inactive or dead GitHub profile is neither good or bad sign for hiring decision. Do GitHub for filtering candidates only if you can afford large number of false negatives

scottishross profile image
Ross Henderson

None of the stuff I code at work will ever land on GitHub. We don't need it. The only time I'll ever need to use it is if I ever get some time to finish my Full-Stack course which I'm really struggling with finding time to do.

ferricoxide profile image
Thomas H Jones II

If it's a company's sole method for determining, "do I want to reach out to this person," then, at best, it's short-sited. I mean, at the very least, trolling GitHub to find people to cold-call is likely to have a low conversion-ratio: 1) you're assuming that the people you're cold-calling are going to be receptive to such a call; 2) you're probably not the first, at this point in the recruiting game to have contacted the person this way.

As to the fairness of trolling GitHub while not contacting those who don't have a GitHub presence? It's like my parents told me from a very, very early age: "life's not fair."

Personally, as someone who's looking for more talent to add to my teams, looking at GitHub profiles is simply one path to getting to understand someone's skills. Personally, I'd rather see someone's blogs - as they tend to provide a better view into how someone solves problems and their personality - than only looking at bare code. Frankly, it's at least as much the softer skills - "how people think" and "how people communicate" - as it is the technical stuff that makes me interested in a candidate. If someone's a great tech but a horrible communicator, they aren't going to last long in my organization (or, worse, they'll cause others to leave)

niorad profile image
Antonio Radovcic


I'm already more than happy if the candidate has their own website. Or has a little something online that is googlable.

It's not critical, but it makes it easier for me to prepare for the interview(s). "Frontend" is such a broad term that one applicant could be mostly experienced in CSS and a little JS, and the other could be an Angular-person with no interest in styling. But both have similar keywords in their CV.

So I think it's not required. It helps the company decide earlier on, so it may go both ways.

jhadur profile image
HG and the dream of horses

Don't forget how this impacts people with caring or parenting responsibilities outside work. It makes sense to want to hire people who are passionate and commit time developing their skills, but using this as a filter makes it much harder for people with limited free time outside work, which is likely to discriminate against people with (for example) young children. If you want to have a diverse workforce, it's important that github history be considered positive but not the only way to prove your skills!

robencom profile image

The Programming world is sprinting ahead at the speed of professional Kenyan athlete, while most of us are fat, untrained and exhausted guys/girls.

We cannot keep up with such speed. You prepare for something then BAM, something new is up there. Now they are using github as resume?

Until I boost up my github a new "trend" will be hip and so on and so on.

Interviews are becoming more and more complicated and long and painful.

Too much complications in something we all love. My question is, why?

pancy profile image
Pan Chasinga

I don't know any engineers who value github activities of a candidate to the point of letting a her in easily. In my experience, mostly recruiters jump onto those with a fair-looking github profile (like me). I have worked with many talented engineers who were more experienced and better programmers than myself, and they barely did anything outside of private repos.

It just so happened that I write code outside of work, but that's changed a lot since I gave birth to my daughter.

mrlarson2007 profile image
Michael Larson • Edited

All the code I work on can't be put on public site like github. After that I don't have time for side projects. I agree you can't force everyone to do this.

ghost profile image
Ghost • Edited

Being a freelancer I have very little time to contribute or post on GitHub. After 35 years in this business having code on GitHub honestly doesn't mean much at all to me, nor my clients. When it comes to "showing my stuff", I have a portfolio. I do use GitHub to keep up with things like my favorite add-on's for editors and such. I also have published some code snippets and very small projects there for others to look at if they are interested. In my experience, any company that is legitimately looking at someone to hire full-time is going to test their knowledge and people skills face to face. Javiar hit it spot on. If they are putting a lot of weight on your GitHub repos or contribution they are just being lazy IMHO.

With that said, I think think it is a great thing for a junior developer to build some projects on GitHub and contribute to an open source project or two. Anything to expand their knowledge is a great thing!