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We often meet candidates who are, for lack of a better term, mediocre. While there’s nothing wrong with not being a rocket scientist developer straight off the bat, there is a lot to be said for the kind of developer who actively puts in the extra hours and energy to get better. But there’s a place you can go, where you can hang out with all the devs, because no dev does it all by their self. Just log in to GitHub. GitHub is renowned in the dev community as a superior way to collaborate. After all, why not just be better?

But what is GitHub?

There will always be something new to know, more to learn, a better way to do things and most importantly; a better way to code. It really is in your best interest to have your finger on the pulse. GitHub is a safe space for developers to share their code (not their feelings, they go somewhere else for that). Based on the premise that in order to advance our knowledge faster and create better software it is essential to adopt a collaborative approach to development. In this vein, open source software’s source code is available with a licence, enabling the licence holder to study, change and collaborate using the software. GitHub is a community created with the intention of facilitating collaboration amongst developers to this end.

How Does GitHub Work?

Git is a repository which stores a historical record of changes made to software and other computer files. This system allows multiple people to work on those files in a collaborative manner. Even when dev projects take a nonlinear workflow, Git ensures data security, support and speed. As an extension of this software, GitHub hosts Git repositories as a service to projects using Git. This allows you to collaborate with others to improve your code.

Why Collaborate?

Humans can be egotistical and selfish creatures but the protection of intellectual property is quickly evolving into a somewhat neurotic and archaic way of thinking. With the explosion of information brought about by the internet, it’s easy to see that there is sooooo much information out there on absolutely every conceivable topic. You can no longer be forgiven for assuming that something you created alone is the next greatest thing, furthermore that someone else cares enough to steal it in an effort to make millions off it.

For the most part each of us are narcissistically perusing our own endeavours and we simply couldn’t give a crap about what’s going in each other’s minds… except if there’s a way it can further our own agenda. By pulling together a heap of developers, we can ask and answer each other’s questions and there is reward in it – by growing each other’s knowledge, we are able to create things we were unable to create alone. Thomas Edison’s lightbulb was useless without electricity. No developer is an island and whether you have the energy to collaborate or not, it really is for the greater good and you’re actually just silly not to.

So GitHub is the Holy Grail?

Okay, let’s not go too far with this one. Canonising anyone or any single idea is short-sighted and ignorant at best. As with people, everything has its faults and shortcomings. But that’s the point of software development, isn’t it? It never stops or ceases to exist, it merely changes from one form to another… or maybe that was something else.

The Philosophy of Learning

Regardless of how we share information, what is important is that we do it. GitHub offers humans the kind of learning experience that artificial intelligence AlphaGo had; learning from thousands of previously played Go games (Go being the two player strategy board game, not the Niantic-Pokemon phenomenon). Similarly gathering relevant information from various other verified sources really was the holy grail… until AlphaGoZero arrived. But that’s a story for another day.

Alas I may have strayed from the original topic, the point however is this; no one cares that Lee Sedol was the Go grandmaster in 2016. If you fall behind, so will your career and probably your income. If you’re trying make a career changing move, it really does help if you know your stuff and one of the best ways to get to know your stuff is by asking, answering, sharing and collaborating. Best get yourself set up on GitHub then.