GitHub is universally known as the Social Network for developers, with over 31 million users to date. If you’re here to find out what it’s all about, I’m guessing you’re new to programming or just generally curious. On the contrary, if you call yourself a developer and you’re still not on board, all I can say is: it’s about time! GitHub will open many doors for you by supplementing your knowledge and skills.
GitHub – the Global Developers’ Pub
All the hype about GitHub is legit, because it is literally the place every programmer must be at. It is the key that will provide you free access to millions of open-source projects, let you share your own code with the world, allow you to contribute remotely and help you find ready-made solutions to every problem.
It all started with ‘Git’, an open source project initiated by the creator of Linux. It is basically a version control system for code that stores and manages revisions of various projects; similar to a number of drafts for the same document. In a way it works like Google Docs, where you can see a history of changes made to a document; you can know exactly when and where it was altered.
So Github is a website that was built upon Git to enable developers from all around the world to host their code online and make it available to the public. If you think your code is sacred and everyone should keep their projects classified, I have bad news. Nobody thinks like that anymore, except maybe a few highly classified corporations. Sharing your code will not hinder your progress, but in fact do quite the opposite.
Apart from being a code repository for international collaboration, GitHub is also used within teams to keep track of closed source projects. Developing teams may be distributed among different parts of a city, country, continent or the entire world. However, Github lets them stay in the loop and work together collaboratively from any place and any time. Unlike older platforms, it allows developers to work offline and easily sync data when they have access to an internet connection.
Although free and open source is the norm of GitHub, you can go for paid plans that allow you to keep your code confidential or set limitations to who can view and manipulate it.
The Scope & Benefits
GitHub is much more than a repository; it is a command line tool with a graphical interface. It provides access control and a variety of collaboration options, including an array of task management tools and wikis for different projects. It’s the user’s choice whether he/she wants to use someone’s code as it is or make changes to it. Moreover, if they do wish to manipulate or alter the code of a foreign project, it’s up to them to keep it to themselves or let it be public.
One can simply import another person’s code to their system, change it locally and use it without telling others. If you wish to share your changes, then you’ll simply have to send a notification to the project owner; this notification is called a “pull request”. The owner can then merge your changes with the original code and the world can see your contribution. It is a lot like a democracy, where everyone gets a chance to show their skills and make code better.
GitHub is an excellent platform for developers to build a professional profile. You get credit for all the changes or contributions you make to projects on this site; given the owner approves. All IT recruiters know about GitHub and will look forward to scrutinizing your achievements on there. Truth be told, many organizations seeking competent developers actually browse Github to find suitable candidates. If you manage to impress any of them with your work, it might lead to a swell job offer.
Learning, collaborating and finding solutions to complex programming issues was never as easy as it is with GitHub. It’s no less than a treasure for young developers who have just started off their careers. It helps them grow, discover out of the box strategies and explore endless possibilities. They also get to discuss and implement their own ideas; and get constructive criticism from experts or experienced individuals.
You can lay the foundation of any project on GitHub, and among the millions of strangers out there, quite a few will be willing to help you complete it. Aside from professional advantages, you get to know more people like you. You can communicate with developers from various parts of the globe and share common interests. It really helps developers make connections, broaden their social circle and even form the best kind of friendships.