While I am not a full-time developer, my career started out with programming on the web. It has helped me tremendously. I have always made a strong effort to keep on top of best practices and contribute to code when I'm needed. Recently, I assisted in building a prototype for our design team to meet a deadline. It felt really good to implement some of the patterns and plan out the styles that would be used as the feature was built out.
I have recently dug into understanding Github. With the nature of workflows for GitHub, I am able to focus on pieces of a project without being overwhelmed, which makes me open to contributing to a project as I can. Being able to learn how some of my favorite sites and tools work is inspiring and has helped to re-ignite my love for code. I’d like to pass that spark on, with some encouragement to anyone who is daunted by code. Previously, I posted two easy tips on getting started with GitHub. Since then, I have learned more basics that I’d like to share.
4 Ways to Use GitHub
- Host a personal site (as a portfolio) free. Domains are yourusername.github.io or a custom domain.
- Host a personal project (as a portfolio piece perhaps, or something to invite collaboration on such as software/an app).
- As a team; within an organization or a collaborative group.
- Enterprise Security or Private
- Publicly - collaborate with entire community
- Contributing to Open Source Community
I think often, when the idea of becoming involved in a project comes up, there are a few (false) barriers to entry for many.
Common (False) Barriers
- Thinking you need to have a high level of knowledge of the project or code. Often, issues that need to be fixed are as simple as needing a favicon or making a color change in H1 tags on a site.
- Commitment - you only have to work when you feel like it
- Web projects are too complex to understand. Even if you don’t know it yet, you are using something that is hosted on github. Head to github.com/explore. Find a project you have used before and look around. The familiarity will help you understand how contributions help the project and how you can contribute faster.
You can use GitHub in all of these ways with just one username due to the way permissions are set up. While there are a few permission levels for any project and each user, I want to simplify to explain two main user types.
- Contributor - Works with code and implements changes
- Community Member - You can help with GitHub projects without coding. Download a repository and use it and help to report bugs.