In Why I blog and why you should too! I discussed the reason why I take the time and effort to having a blog and in How to build a professional developer profile blog how and why taken this approach has been really beneficial for my career. In this post, I will discuss how I have leveraged my Github profile to help build and enhance my developer profile in order to attract, convert and retain customers and clients and even prospective employers.
It is really surprising to me just how under used this functionality is on GitHub and when browsing profiles of developers you'll find hardly any make use of this functionality. In fact, for a period of time I was one of these, until I stumbled across it and discovered how I can use it. After a few experiments and trailing various approaches discovered how I could leverage it to help gain additional exposure to attract more clients and customers.
Why should you bother with a GitHub profile
GitHub is a widely used platform for hosting, storing, and editing code. Individual developers can use it to host small websites, organise projects, and collaborate with teammates and community members.
Many organisations use GitHub, although many of them may be private or enterprise accounts, but that fact aside GitHub also acts as a loose social network for software developers. It is estimated that 3 million companies worldwide use GitHub.
In many of these organisations hiring managers, recruiters or potential customers may use GitHub profiles to see a potential hire's activity in the community and the span of their contribution history. While it may not be a substitute or replacement for a CV, or as the Americans like to call it resume, a GitHub profile is an excellent free way of showcasing your coding expertise.
Creating a GitHub profile also enables you to interact with other programmers and public repositories. Programmers can reach out through GitHub and find creative solutions to coding problems for their own projects and offer advice to other software developers. You may be able to gain experience with new tools or hear about open positions through your GitHub connections.
A portfolio contains examples of completed projects, coding language proficiencies, and learned technologies. A GitHub profile allows users to show completed projects, as well as current projects.
GitHub also allows software developers to demonstrate their passion for software development, learning through and self development through the contribution chart feature.
How to create a GitHub Profile
You can create a GitHub Profile for Free, and for the most part all you need is an Email Address and possibly a mobile phone number if you want to make use of multi factor authentication.
Pick a user name
You can use any name you wish as a username, but in my opinion its recommended to use something that is as close to your Personal name as possible, especially if you're going to use your GitHub profile in a professional capacity. If my case, I just used my full name, probably because as a developer I realise naming things is hard and I already had a name so I just chose that!
Add a profile picture
GitHub allows users to add a profile picture, which can be a great way for recruiters looking for new hires. Its generally recommended to use a head shot with a neutral background; try not to use selfies or photos with other people in them. If possible, use the same photo that you use on other professional platforms or your blog.
Write a short bio
Try to write a short bio of yourself, including the type of role you preform, skills and interests.
You also have the option to add additional links to your other social platforms and websites etc. If you run a blog, or website I totally recommend you link it here.
Sample GitHub profile
My GitHub profile can be found at github.com/garywoodfine
I have carried out some additional tweaks on profile to try make it a little different and because at the time I have way too much time on my hands. I've added instructions how to achieve this below.
How to customise your GitHub Profile
GitHub have made it really to add additional customisation on your profile and have provided some excellent documentation on you to do so using the web portal but as a developer I prefer to use the conventional approach to development style approach.
If you haven't already done so, I recommend you install the GitHub CLI which will enable you to interact with GitHub via your terminal window, learning how to customise your GitHub profile is a great way to learn how to use this tool.
This guide will assume you have authenticated with the GitHub CLI as per the in How to install Github CLI on Linux
In order to customise your profile you will need to create a new public repository with the same name as your GitHub username, for instance my GitHub username is garywoodfine therefore I needed to create a repository and name it garywoodfine
This can be done using the GitHub CLI as follows
gh repo create garywoodfine/garywoodfine --public
The next step is to clone the repository to your workstation so you can add files and start customising your profile. You can clone your repository to you machine using the GitHub CLI using your username and repository name
gh repo clone garywoodfine/garywoodfine
Once the repository has been clone to your machine change into the new directory that has been created, then create a new file name
README.md which is a Mark Down file.. You can do this using the terminal command, once complete use
ctrl + d to close the file and exit
# Change into the directory cd garywoodfine # create file and open it for input cat > README.md # Hi my name is <enter your name here>
You can now then add this file, commit and push to the repository.
git commit -am "Create theinitial profile" git push
You should now be able to visit your profile and see the changes you've made..
Using Mark Down to customise your profile
The GitHub documentation is a great place to start to learn how to continue learning about how to use Mark Down to customise your profile, check out Basic writing and formatting syntax, then from there the rest is up to your imagination.
In this post we covered some of the basics of Github Profiles and how they can be a great to tool to help enhance your career and business networking.