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It depends on the company and the type of job.

If you're looking for work at a cool startup tech company, then, yes, you will need to have that covered. If you're doing front end work, having a good portfolio will be even more important. This might also extend to sales & marketing support positions at some larger corporations.

But, if you're looking for a job in a typical corporate IT department writing reporting apps for accounting and finance, probably not. All they care about is if you can extract the data they want onto an Excel sheet quickly.

To others, it's just another social media checkbox, like checking out your LinkedIn or Facebook. It will be rather superficial, mainly looking to make sure your profile isn't toxic in some way.

 

It seems more like "checking a box". You really can barely tell anything from someone's public GitHub without a lot of additional context. But it probably helps to have filled out your profile to demonstrate that you're part of the coding mainstream.

 

I've only brought it up in an interview if they included it on their resume. I've never actively looked for it. Funny thing is the couple times I've had people include it there was actually nothing impressive on it and was basically just forks of other mainstream products with no commits of their own so not sure why they felt the need to include it.

From my experience, most people are writing code that isn't public because it's for their jobs so I don't really expect them to have anything out in public.

 

Most people fork big projects, not necessarily to contribute to them but to learn from them. I think that is even more important.

 

I do, and I even actively search for one when an applicant hasn't included it in their CV. While not being a hard requirement, it makes me much more favorable towards someone when I see that they are active on GitHub (or GitLab).

Their GitHub stars show me in what they're interested in. If they have source repos, I can have a look at their programming style and their commit frequence graph indicates their activity.

Even if they don't have a profile, I always bring the subject up in interviews: it's often interesting to learn what they think about Open Source and why they are (not) working with it.

 

My thought has been similar to others in that it "checks off a box." Setting things up like Github, social media, and a personal site/portfolio/blog are mostly just good ways to confirm you're real and active. However that matters a lot less than knowing how much value you'll give the company, and that can never measured with things like those.

I would say get something set up with it, but keep their importance in mind when deciding to devote your energy. Don't make a github repo or write posts while just thinking about what recruiters or HR reps will think. Do them if they actually line up with your work or other things you like to do.

I like to tweet and blog since they're actual interests of mine. My github repos are only projects I want to save and reference for actual reasons. If that doesn't apply to you, and you're so busy investing in more important things you don't touch those areas, that's a much better path. Set up the basics if you really need to "check that box," but don't divert too much energy from activities with a better return on investment.

 

Well said, Max! From your point of view, what gives the best return on investment as you mention?

 

That's hard to say, as it often depends on what job you have or are looking for, and what your specific goals are. For example, my own goals right now are around fundamental javascript and component libraries, so for me that investment is in design systems and front-end architecture, and also some React. What one invests in all depends on what return they want :)

 

As a senior engineer I review applications and occasionally do first interviews. If a github link is offered I absolutely look at it first and pretty deeply, because it's a familiar format that doesn't require downloads, unzips or installs (I have other things to do). I look at it even before I open the resume to see the name/age/gender (partially a personal rule to reduce bias). It's a good insight into a candidate's interests and real skill-set (can't trust a list of languages written on a resume)

Not having a presence on github isn't fatal, as long as a portfolio is provided in some other easy-to-digest format.

 

I find it really funny that a lot of developers are thinking "Oh my gosh! I must have a presence online with my own blog and social media posts showing how smart I am because some guy with his own blog told me I need one!"

 

While I've noticed that employers typically don't look at my GitHub. I generally do get questions about my blog in interviews. And the interview process seems to be more streamlined since I started a blog. Not sure if that is related.
I don't blog often. I typically blog about things I found hard to get info on, or gotchas.
Also do talks at your local meetups.

 

Out of about a dozen software interviews in my young career I have had 2 interviewers mention my Github, and one who actually took a deep look around.

As an interviewer myself I like to take a look for a Github profile, mostly to see what a candidate is interested in and ask them questions about their projects. I certainly don't put too much weight on the account itself (unless it is very impressive).

 

I think that one of the main reasons I got hired as a front-end dev was my Github profile and amount of my activity in the previous year. I work for a relatively big startup now and they are actively contributing to open source stuff so that might be the reason they were interested in my Github/Gitlab account. My suggestion is that it doesn't hurt to have some code on GH an to be relatively active there, just in case :) If you love open source as I do, then even better!

 

For me, absolutely! I've just been through a series of interviews with different companies (all greatly enjoyable experiences) and quite a few had a look at my Github and my Codepen pages. Not only did one company bring up my projects, but they also had a look at my style of commits and what I was into at the moment.

I had no idea that companies would look at my Github so actively, but in the end it worked out pretty well for me, even if my Github doesn't contain project with loads of stars.

 

I've been hiring now on and off as a developer myself for 10 year or more. I never ever look at anybody's previous code. It isn't a good indicator of anything to me.

I've worked with some of the 'big names' with large open source contributions and what you learn pretty quickly is they're hardly ever solving the hard problems you find when you're in a domain for a few years or more. Not to bag on anyone because open source contributions are important but they're general in a different space of problems to what you might find in a full time job. The pressures an incentives are different.

Personally I'd far rather focus on what the person is interested in and how they problem solve and whether these are going to mesh with the problem/s we're already solving on the team they want to join.

All the best developers I've worked with do next to no work you could ever even see due to NDAs and professional etiquette. Personally I've never worked on code professionally that I could show to another developer even if I wanted to and not to toot my own horn but I've never needed to provide a resume in the last 15 years.

I think the whole aesthetic of "code ninjas" and having a large amount of public contribution hasn't shown any value to me. Generally the best developers are the best not because of the code they write but the way they think and communicate anyway.

 

I do hiring for MousePaw Media, and I absolutely look at GitHub!

I also look at any other social media connected with your name, email, or usernames. What you do online matters!

Classic DEV Post from Dec 8 '19

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