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How to Use GitHub to Get a Job

11th October 2022

The technology industry is one of the fastest growing in the UK, and has seen rapid growth in the last decade. According to Computer Weekly, the UK’s tech industry grew from £1.2bn to £11.3bn; this isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon.

Pair this rapid growth with accelerated digitalisation thanks to the impact of coronavirus and we’re seeing more and more companies implement new systems and software. As a result, they’re hiring teams of software developers and engineers to facilitate this, which is great news for professionals who are at the cusp of their careers, or those looking to move up the ladder.

Whilst the UK is experiencing a significant digital skills gap, the market for software engineers and developers is an increasingly competitive one. And as IR35 tax legislation changes, many software developers and engineers are looking for full-time employment so they don’t have to pay additional tax. Find out your earnings as an external contractor versus a full-time employee with our Salary Calculator.

So, what can you do to stand out from the competition and get prospective employers to notice you? One way is through GitHub. More and more recruiters and hiring managers are using GitHub to assess the skills of candidates. Setting up a profile takes minutes, and can help set you apart from other candidates.

What is GitHub?

GitHub is a web-based platform that simplifies cross-collaboration and version control. Using open source version control software, Git, it allows people to make several changes to a website or page in real-time.

Tips on effectively using GitHub to get a job

Ensure your profile is properly set up

Perhaps the bare minimum, ensuring your GitHub profile is filled out and looks professional will show that you’re organised and leave the right impression.

For example, you should make sure your bio has information about your employment history, projects you have contributed to and any other bits of relevant information, such as your CV and LinkedIn. You can also use the ‘@’ function to link to other repositories you want a hiring manager to notice.

It is also important to add a profile photo of yourself instead of an avatar, BitMoji or cartoon. Whilst there’s no need for a professional headshot, you should have a clean, friendly but casual photo.

Make sure your content is accessible and easy to understand

GitHub is a great way for employers to match and qualify the skills of prospective candidates, so it’s important that you make your content easy to access and understand.

Think about it – recruiters and hiring managers don’t have time to sift through your code and go through libraries – you need to make sure every repository you’ve contributed to has an explanation of what you’ve done.

Each project Readme file should answer the following questions:

  • What are the functionalities of this project? What does it do?
  • What is this project? Is it a library website, or app?
  • What frameworks, languages and libraries are used?
  • What is the end goal of this project?
  • What stage are you at with this project?
  • Are there any bugs or areas that aren’t finished?

By ensuring the description field and Readme file has all the information, you’ll be showcasing business acumen.

Follow people you can learn from

GitHub is a great place to build a network of software developers and engineers, so why not follow industry thought leaders and people you want to learn from? In doing this, you’ll be showing prospective employers who you find interesting and get inspiration and new ideas for your own GitHub portfolio. You’ll also get notifications on the latest project updates – it’s a great way to keep your finger on the pulse.

Showcase work that aligns to your desired job role

The types of projects and collaborations you showcase will indicate the type of work you’re looking for.

If you know the job you want, you should try to present work that’s tailored to that specific role. In most instances, a job will have a specific framework or language tied to it so you should make this prominent on your GitHub profile. If you can show specialisation in front-end or back-end development this will also strengthen your chances. You can even go a step further and pin your top three repositories that best show your skill set.

Contribute to other projects

Once you’ve followed other professionals and built up your network, you can start contributing on existing projects and build your reputation. From filing bug reports on existing code to offering support on project requests or providing help on design discussions, this can help get your name out there and build your portfolio.

Ensure your work showcases your skillset

If you’re new to the software development and engineering industry, you should make sure that the projects you’re creating and contributing to are challenging but not impossible to do. If you’re a senior developer or engineer with experience, your portfolio should show this. Your repositories should be more complex and display your talents.

Check out the competition

Recruiters use GitHub to scout potential candidates – so why not use GitHub to assess the competition and even build your network. This will also help you see who’s profiles are ranking and you can give your profile a little SEO TLC.

If you put in the time and effort, GitHub is a great resource that can help you stand out from the competition and get a job as a software developer or engineer. Signing up for an account is free, and this open source platform offers an array of learning and networking opportunities. So, what are you waiting for?

At ECS Resource Group, we have over 30 years​ of experience in helping a wide variety of specialist IT, telecoms, development and engineering professionals find the right role for them. Upload your CV and one of our experts will be in touch.