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I've heard much talk about your Github profile being your CV and companies supposedly using Github to find employees. But I've never heard of anyone actually being hired primarily due to their OSS contributions. And then I see something like this, where potential employers still expect the candidate to complete pointless, unpaid assignments, despite the candidate's publicly available OSS contributions being in the relevant problem domain.

The refusal of employers to use OSS contributions as a means of gaging competence and the continued insistence on candidates, however impressive their publicly available OSS portfolio, answering CS trivia questions and completing unpaid assignments suggests that if they really value OSS contributions at all, it's probably only because it demonstrates enthusiasm, and enthusiastic employees are easier to manipulate and abuse. That's it. A Github profile will never shorten an interview or spare your from having to write a function to reverse a linked list in-place.

Maybe I am being too cynical. Has this actually worked for any of you, whether in getting hired or in hiring someone?

closed as primarily opinion-based by The Wandering Dev Manager, gnat, Philip Kendall, mxyzplk, Chris E Mar 30 '16 at 13:48

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I've never hired one single person on the basis of their Github profile in 17 years of hiring, leading and managing development teams. – Jane S Mar 30 '16 at 9:06
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    Yeah, opinion based, voting to close. – The Wandering Dev Manager Mar 30 '16 at 9:11
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    This sounds a bit like a rant, and basically a continuation of the linked question. But the linked question actually had a question that inspired discussion. – Brandin Mar 30 '16 at 9:33
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    A GH account proves nothing really. Anyone can upload source control and nothing says it is from you. It wouldn't hurt you but if a company hires right from a GH page would tell me they probably aren't that experienced in hiring and they're just hiring as many people hoping one or two would be good then either fire the rest or use them for minor tasks. – Dan Mar 30 '16 at 12:16
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    After almost 20 years of firmware development I have very, very little that I could put on Github. The vast majority of what I've done is at least to some extent work-for-hire, and not really mine to publish to the world. My lack of a Github account really shows nothing about my capabilities. – brhans May 3 '17 at 21:32
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I have never been hired or not hired nor have I hired or not hired someone based on their Github profile or other OSS contribution.

I do ask questions in interviews that with the skillset demonstrated on a github page should be trivial and boring.

Why?

Because a link to a github page proves exactly nothing. It proves you can take a file and upload it. Yes, testing a candidate is sometimes boring for a candidate. But if you are the interviewer, you sit through countless interviews where candidates cannot answer those pointlessly boring questions. And you wonder how they managed to tie their laces this morning. But they could still have a github profile.

Having a github profile is nice. It's a bonus. It won't make me drop any questions. If the candidate is really that smart, the 30 minutes questioning will be done in 5 and we are both better off knowing for sure what his skill level is, instead of taking a guess based on an internet link.

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    I disagree - a good GH account shows several things: it can show that the candidate understands source control, it can show how the candidate interacts with random people, it shows how a candidate can evolve a project, refactor when necessary, works via best practices etc etc etc. Don't just look at the files, look at the PR's, the issues, the documentation for projects etc etc etc. I don't hire based solely on GH, but it does allow me to tailor the interview process a lot more and not waste time asking the basics. – Moo Mar 30 '16 at 11:06
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    @Moo you still need the basics. How else would you verify, that the person running the github page is actually your candidate? – nvoigt Mar 30 '16 at 11:15
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    As I said "I don't hire based solely on GH, but it does allow me to tailor the interview process a lot more and not waste time asking the basics". If they can't answer the more difficult questions in areas that their GH account suggests they have experience in, then that gives me the information I need. Asking questions such as "when would you do a git rebase" rather than "do you use git", or "talk to me about why you use XUnit for unit testing" rather than "do you do unit testing". Questions that get you a bit more than a single line response without prompting for more. – Moo Mar 30 '16 at 11:26
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    Actually having a Github profile doesn't even show proficiency in source control unless the person is a contributor in a project with multiple developers. Many people just use git as a fancy form of back-up-- a straight line of commits, no merging, no branches, no collaboration. (these same people will say "git is easy"). If the project is interesting, it could be good as a springboard for some discussions, however. – teego1967 Mar 31 '16 at 2:06
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    You'e right it usually doesn't, but having it on a resume can be beneficial for the selection process. I have been told in final interviews that my knowledge of Git helped in the narrowing of candidates. I've also had someone reach out to me for an interview because they were impressed by a project on my GitHub profile. It's not like it's common practice to hire someone because of Git, but I can't see any drawbacks from not having it out there. – Russ Wilkie Oct 24 '18 at 13:26
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I owe my current job in large part to my Github repository. While it didn't make the interview process any shorter, it did nudge me from a chat over the phone to an in-person interview. I hadn't done much with my profile (I still haven't) and didn't advertise that I had one, but it was the only way I could provide a code example in the requested time frame. Thankfully the fits, starts and various abortions that are my Github projects showed consistent naming conventions, formatting, and documentation and I was offered an interview before the end of the call.

I once heard someone say on Pete Holmes' podcast that "a comedian without a Twitter is like a 90's rapper without a demo tape"; a presence on Github is such a cheap and easy way of giving folks a sample of your wares that it's silly not to have one.

  • #metoo. Though I don't have a shallow GitHub page with nothing on it, but instead with a lot of stuff accumulated over the past 10 years. – phresnel Oct 25 '18 at 8:18
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Hiring decisions are not based on just one factor. A Github profile can benefit developers who have little employment experience, certification or education. It can also help if you're looking to change the type of programming you do (e.g. Switch from web to mobile.).

If a candidate included their GitHub contribution as part of their CV, I would:

  1. Consider the volume of work relative to the history and frequency of contribution. This would be evaluated in the context of this being a full or part-time endeavor. Difficult to hire people that take months to fix a bug. Having a work-ethic is important. Those who want to hire slaves and just let them burn out probably won't take the time to look at a GitHub post. They'll just threaten you once you're hired.
  2. How involved were you in the design of the project? Hiring a junior dev on an experienced team may not make this very important, but if I need you to play a major role in the design of an app, you need to show you know how and didn't just add a few features to an existing one or just copy a project.
  3. Did you really write the code? We've all had our copy and paste moments, but at some point, you have to prove you can write code, utilize some sort of IDE or various tools to create code that can run.

Even the most esteemed CS programs have turned out a few developers who don't know what they're doing, so other factors need to be considered to weed them out. That's not an argument for not getting a degree. There are no guarantees in the workplace.

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