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    The article focuses on followers, which is a strange metric to focus on.

    github primarily allows physically separated developers, sometimes from different organizations, to collaborate on code.

    As a side effect, github offers the possibility to show a portfolio of work. This is possible for people whose work/study allows them to show the work they did publicly including collaboration.

    If a person does have material on github and points to it on their resume, you can get an idea of their working style, and some of their personality from this portfolio. It may help you to filter candidates and to think of things to ask them in the interview that will spark a nice discussion.

    Once, in an interview I had a nice discussion with a total stranger about an orbital simulator I’ve worked on for many years, totally unrelated to the work at hand.

    If the candidate doesn’t have a github portfolio, it is what it is and you’ll just have to ask them about what they like to code in the interview.

    Like everything else, a github portfolio is just one piece of evidence to a future colleague’s fit for a job. It’s neither a necessary piece of evidence, nor a sufficient one, to hinge a hiring decision on.

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      “a (github) portfolio is just one piece of evidence to a future colleague’s fit for a job. It’s neither a necessary piece of evidence, nor a sufficient one, to hinge a hiring decision on.”

      I absolutely agree, it can add the necessary part of the information, but it certainly does not help to draw the whole personality profile of the candidate, it is necessary to evaluate many more factors.

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        They did include this footnote:

        There isn’t an API to get the contribution activity in the last year from GitHub. Instead, people seem to get the timeline image as an SVG (like hitting this endpoint https://github.com/users/benfred/contributions), and then parse the SVG to get the number of contributions. I almost went with this hack for this post but hit some problems with CORS restrictions from loading this in the browser. I could have written a proxy to host the requests, but it was getting silly so went with the number of followers instead.

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          One thing I usually did when evaluating candidate is to search for “site:github.com username commented on”. That will give some ideas on the candidate communication style as we go through his interaction on github discussing bugs, suggesting new features or debating on some technical arguments.

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            This is not a bad idea! I just checked some of people I like to work with and the results were great. In case a person did not have any interactions you have to rely on other means.

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            Confused. Why would anyone care about those silly metrics when you can look directly at the code they have written? It’s not GitHub, it’s what you put in there. You could host your code on another website, including one that you own, if you have one.

            “Why won’t your CV help you with hiring”…It sure depends on its contents…?

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              99% of the code I have written is not available for review for you. How do we proceed?

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                Certainly not by counting GitHub stars or followers.

                You either have the code to show or you don’t. It’s up to you to prove yourself as a candidate. I would certainly not hire you based a social network metrics.

                If you want to know that the most followed person on GitHub says about that (I learned this in this entry):

                Talk is cheap, show me the code.

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              There is an API to get contributions. I keep a log in Vim, and I’ve configured it so that pressing F5 inserts a markdown-formatted list of my GitHub contributions since the last time I pressed F5 (https://github.com/talex5/get-activity). I haven’t tried getting a whole year’s worth, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

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            When i read things like “One of the things I’m working on right now is a project that’s aggregating data found in developers GitHub profiles,” it really makes me wish Github had an option to make profiles private. Or at least some kind of “Don’t include my information in api queries” option.

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              Oh, that’s easy: don’t use github. There are lots of alternatives.

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                No, it’s actually not that easy.

                I can host my projects somewhere else, but when contributing to projects I don’t own (open source, or for work, or whatever), I don’t have control of where it’s hosted.

                And to be honest, so far it just hasn’t bothered me enough to stop using it. I have seen several dubious uses of GitHub data over the years, though, and I’m surprised they still don’t give users more control over how their data is used by third parties.

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              My github profile helps me significantly. But I would not create it to impress recruiters, it developed by itself as I love to do open source.

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                It helped me in the past. Three times.

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                  Yeah, but I don’t think that was the author’s points. When I was recruiting for the company I worked for (as a developer) and people put their github profile there of course we looked at it and sometimes it could be a big plus. That said I didn’t do this for very long and so I might well be the outlier as compared to a non-developer HR department.

                  But the main takeaway is that it’s neither needed nor that it will have an impact statistically. Probably doesn’t hurt on the off chance someone does look at it. Or you’re trying to work for a company who knew your name through contributions to some software they maintain/wrote anyway.

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                  Most of the time when I’ve put anything on github I’ve used it as a dumping ground for things I don’t want to work on anymore but someone might find something in those piles of spaghetti that are useful for their very narrow case. It’s never helped me get a job and I hope it never does.

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                    This article seems a nice complement to I want to contribute to your project, how do I start?.

                    In general, i totally agree with @kghose , github gives you several good metrics to have an overall sense of the candidate skills (again, it’s not a silver bullet but it’s going to facilitate the process).

                    In particular:

                    • is the devs able to use git?
                    • is the dev able to generate a PR and fork a repo?
                    • is the developer able to program using x programming languages?
                    • is he contributing to open source software? If so, how long is it? (time and commitment)
                    • is it good at communicating with other developers?

                    Even popularity and starts may give you a sense of the marketing skills of the developer (which btw you may want to evaluate).

                    In summary, github gives you several good metrics to reason about during the hiring process. It’s not a silver bullet. You’ll still have to interview and assess your candidates but it will facilitate you during the process.

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                      Interesting analysis!

                      Anecdotally, when I’m hiring, if a CV lists a GitHub profile I will probably take a look and if what I see reassures me about the candidate’s coding skills (and/or ability to interact with people in bug tickets or code review) that’s one less question to ask at the interview.

                      I suppose I might be concerned if someone was consistently and recently committing unreadable, broken code or getting into fights with maintainers.

                      However I can’t hold it against people if they don’t have one listed, or it’s not really active. Mine isn’t either.

                      I believe this bias exists in hiring but I also wonder how many places simply list this because somebody non-technical is screening CVs and wants an extra datapoint to distinguish between candidates?

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                        I’d be careful with that though. Judging someone by their 2 stars-2 issues-0 PRs code dump doesn’t sound fair unless they specifically show it as an example.

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                          Yes, fair point. I definitely have projects with no stars and no issues that I wouldn’t want to be judged by…