In case your unfamiliar with the system, GitHub is a cloud storage tool designed specifically for programmers.
It’s one of the most widely used tools in the industry, and is an essential platform for anyone serious about learning to program.
Despite it’s nearly universal use, however, many beginners don’t start working with GitHub until they begin looking for a job, which in most cases is far too late.
In this post I’ll go over the top 3 reasons why beginning programmers should start using GitHub more quickly.
The first reason is simply to gain familiarity with the system. Like any technical skill, programming is an art that must be practiced consistently in order to do well.
You need to build fluency not only with your chosen programming language, but also with the tools and techniques that are commonplace throughout the industry. Practicing using these tools with your own projects gives you plenty of runway to make mistakes, and have the tool start to feel like second nature before the time comes when you absolutely need it.
Build Good Habits
Secondly, using GitHub encourages you to build good programming habits.
As a developer, you’ll need to practice checking your code into and out of GitHub, and learning how to use different branches to control different types of changes you make.
This serves several purposes. Most importantly, it gets you in the habit of backing up your data consistently. It also encourages you to be hyper-organized about how and when you alter or expand pieces of code, and teaches you how to merge distinct changes back into your main branch.
Great Learning Resource
Finally, GitHub provides a tremendous, and often underutilized resource for new developers.
There are thousands of projects that you can freely download, load into your own system, and play with. You’ll be able to read and edit code written by expert developers, and can learn from their techniques.
Once you reach a certain level of skill, you’ll also be able to commit changes to existing open source projects. This will help you build your resume and gain valuable experience.
Since GitHub is free for public-projects (and as a beginner you don’t need to maintain private servers for your practice projects) there’s really no good reason not to use it, and the benefits you’ll get will help you improve your coding talents more rapidly than you would otherwise be able to.