Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

GitHub for Beginners

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The Basics

Over half of the Fortune 500 companies use GitHub, contributing to over 69 million projects by 25 million developers. This free platform has powerful tools and Git version control which allow developers to collaborate. By learning how to use GitHub, you can contribute to open-source projects and begin making a name for yourself with a create your project portfolio.

How to Get Started

Sign up with a school email for the Student Developer Pack. With database tools, domain hosting, and IDEs, these tools will help your projects look and feel professional from the very start. Follow the GitHub Guide and the Git Handbook to learn more. It's important to understand the GitHub flow to ensure edits are integrated smoothly.

Beginners should also learn about merge conflicts, which are common when you are collaborating with other developers on the same code. We also recommend trying GitHub Desktop so you can manage repositories without needing to use the command line.

What is Git?

Git is the open-source software that the GitHub platform uses to manage version control. Git allows developers to see a history of edits (who, when why) and restore a previous version of the project. Git uses the command line.

Best Practices

When you are publishing projects, you should document your project to explain how it's built and organized. Also, make your code citable so others can use it for their projects or research, depending on the license you choose. Ambitious developers might also want to use GitHub Actions to create an auto-deployment pipeline, which adds changes automatically so bugs are discovered and can be fixed faster.

Career Development Tips

  • Do not put reused class projects in public repositories or you are enabling plagiarism
  • Share your best personal projects by making them public repositories
  • Contribute to open source projects
  • Add your GitHub on your resume, either at the top or in the projects section, so that employers can see your work and skills
  • Include your GitHub on your LinkedIn, Handshake profiles, personal website


Check out examples of alumni, student, and even faculty GitHub pages for inspiration.