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What is GitHub?

Before we can explain GitHub, let’s talk about Git. Git is what we call a version control system–a tool that allows you to track changes you’ve made to your code and collaborate with others on your project.

Git vs. GitHub

Git refers to the version control system itself. GitHub, on the other hand, is a website that allows you to save Git “repositories” (which you can think of as projects). GitHub makes it easier to share your projects with others.

Why GitHub?

Asides from being a tool for collaboration, GitHub can serve as a portfolio of your work. It’s a popular practice for technical job seekers to list a GitHub repo on their resume. For college students especially, projects are one of the best ways to set yourself apart in the recruiting process.

Learning how to use GitHub in college can also prepare you for the workplace if you’re interested in software engineering/development because many teams use GitHub or a similar tool to work together.

An example of a GitHub profile
An example of a GitHub profile

 

What Makes a “Good” GitHub?

Like with resumes, there’s no one way to create an “ideal” GitHub. However, following the 4 C’s will help put you on the right track.

  • Completion. It’s better to have a couple of well-done projects than a bunch of unfinished ones. Employers want to see that you have the dedication to follow through on your work.
  • Consistency. Your GitHub profile shows a grid of how often you push code to GitHub, so try to work on projects frequently.
  • Collaboration. Get a couple of friends together and try out some group projects. Working collaboratively on a project is great practice, as it requires you to learn how to work with Git commands that you wouldn’t need while working alone.
  • Contributions to open source. Open source projects are projects that are publicly available for anyone–including you–to modify and use. Contributing to open source is an awesome way to make an impact with your technical skills.

Project Ideas

Ready to get started building your GitHub account? Here are a few project ideas that you can kick off with.

  • Personal website: a website highlighting you!
  • Simple games: tic tac toe, a Flappy Bird clone, etc.
  • Productivity tools: to-do list, simple time tracker