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GitHub is the new resume, and you don't have to be a God of Programming for it to work - Elf M. Sternberg
GitHub is the new resume, and you don't have to be a God of Programming for it to work

I’ve been looking for work.  My last employer decided that remote didn’t work well, and gave its four remote workers the options of moving to California or accepting layoffs.  I accepted the layoff.  I was worried about looking for work; even a year ago, my search took several weeks and a lot of rounds of interviewing.

Between that time and this, I did something radical: I added this blog, my GitHub, and my StackOverflow URLs to my resume.

I’ve always been a little nervous about showing people my GitHub.  Most of those experiments are just that, experiments. They’re meant to be fun little demos, not serious work.  Some of them are tools that I developed for employers and, with their blessing, posted to Github.  Even that comes with the thought, “Who– aside from me– is ever going to use Grunt.js to deploy a CouchApp?”  It turns out at least seven other people.  A proper NPM-structured app is a good example of discipline.

And then there’s The Backbone Store, which shows my willingness to explain– in excruciating detail, if necessary, how I do my work.  It also shows that I do know what I’m doing with the tools of my trade, and that I’m willing to revisit and revise when I discover I’ve done something wrong.

In the past four days, I’ve had employers fighting over me.  It’s genuinely weird.  In one case, I traded my resume for a coding test, and then got the email: “Don’t bother with the coding test. We’ve been looking at your github.  Can you come in tomorrow at 10am?”  (Confession: I found this a relief, as the server-side of the coding test was required to be in PHP.)

There are people who I admire and look up to.  TJ Holowaychuk (Express.JS), Jeremy Ashkenas (Coffeescript, Backbone, Underscore), Doug Crockford, on the one hand, and then the guys on Stack Overflow who always seem to be on the ball much more than I am (then again, maybe they just have more time to answer newbie questions) on the other.  And yet, I don’t have to be any of those guys to have good code and make good contributions.  I just scratched a few itches, explained a few things to myself along the way, and had some fun.  And I put all that on GitHub.

Apparently, the kind of people I work for want to see that.  And that’s good, because they’re the kind of people I’d wont to work for.


4 comments or Leave a comment
shockwave77598 From: shockwave77598 Date: February 28th, 2013 06:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
fascinating! While we work in different fields, they are similar in some ways. I'll have to think about Github.

From: kistha Date: February 28th, 2013 06:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
blaisepascal From: blaisepascal Date: February 28th, 2013 07:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm... I'm concerned about how close they check. In my github is a fork of grbl, which I've made minor changes to. Do I have to be worried that a potential employer would think I wrote grbl?
(Deleted comment)
elfs From: elfs Date: March 1st, 2013 05:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I can comment on that. My fork of Django-Social contains fixes necessary for when I was working at Indieflix. Despite that, people keep downloading and forking it, but it's clearly not my work. The README doesn't have my name on it. I do believe that employers looking to see examples of your work will, in fact, look to see if the work is original or a fork.

My biggest problem is that I've made major contributions to two projects without forking them, or by forking them, fixing them, and then deleting the repositories since my work with them is done. The only record of that work, most notably with nodejitsu, lies in their repositories. I can point to it, but can't directly make a note to it in my own repository collection.
4 comments or Leave a comment