GitHubbing the Developer’s Resume

I recently found Ben Orenstein blog again and in his latest post he makes the argument that for software developers the traditional resume is deprecated. That it is no longer useful or even needed in the life of today’s software developer. In his own experience, he believes a developer only needs is a GitHub account. And in that GitHub account it contains code samples of software developers work.

I share belief as well. That the purpose of the GitHub account is to show potential employers your employers your ability to code.

However, after reading about Ben’s experience, there’s also been some backlash to this topic of ‘GitHub as a resume’. The biggest argument seems to be having to maintain a GitHub account with relevant code on top of the pressures of a full-time job and family. The other concern is that participating in a GitHub resume you’re subscribing to a philosophy. ( And if you don’t subscribe to the philosophy, you’re not getting hired. )

I think why some people are resistant to the idea of having a GitHub account is because they feel pressured to be brilliant. That to get noticed they need to have some web framework they architected on the side. They need to have something amazing in their GitHub repos.

I don’t believe that. I think you only need to show that you’re capable to do the work and you don’t need to prove how smart you are. In my case, my java code sample I used to get my new job was pretty much “boring”. It’s not sexy. It just digests an RSS feed or two and saves the content in a MYSQL database. It didn’t take me long to put together. And now that I have it, I improve the code incrementally adding new features along the way. So when it’s necessary for me to job search again, I don’t need to start from scratch with code samples.

By sending a link to my GitHub repo to a potential employer, am I subscribing to a philosophy? Maybe. I don’t think the idea is going away. Developers want to separate themselves from the pack. They want to separate themselves from the paycheck employees. To me, it’s just another way to impress the potential employer. And if they don’t like my work, they don’t like my work. At least the employer knows where my abilities were when I was hired.

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