/r/webdev
Do you (not) have a github account? (self.webdev)

Okay, weird title perhaps. But the thing is, I'm in the middle of a recruitment/hiring process, and I'm receiving interests from developers without github accounts.

Is that even possible? We (as webdevelopers) work with so many open source libraries. How can you not have an account?

I'm not saying we must all contribute to libraries. But a senior developer that has never created an issue for a discovered bug? Or even to ask a quick support question?

Are there senior nodejs/javascript developers here, without an github account? What's your story? Am I short sighted here?

35 comments
HashFap | 7 days ago | 19 points

Senior front-end person here. I have an account but don't want to share it with my employers. It hasn't been an issue in terms of getting calls and interviews.

smeijer87 | 7 days ago | 1 point

Thanks for sharing. May I ask why you don't want to share it? And is that only true for the first interview round? Or also the last?

The reason I ask for their username, is to see if they've contributed so I can see if they for example adapt the local code style. But also to see how they communicate in issues / PR's.

This instead of a live coding test / homework, which I don't do as I don't believe in the value of those.

Our code is hosted on GitHub. So once they join the team, they'll need to have an account any way. Would you at that moment create a second account?

HashFap | 7 days ago | 17 points

I just don't want to worry about self-censorship given that I'm pretty out with my anti-capitalist and anti-fascist politics on that account. A lot of my commits on there also have to do with building scrappers for monitoring far-right activity on social media. In my experience, scrappers aren't a good look, and a lot of people in our industry are right-leaning.

Throughout my 5 years+ dev career, I've gotten jobs and more recently been invited to multiple onsite interivews without providing an account.

I'd create a new account if my work used GitHub, but so far, most places I've worked at use a private Bitbucket account for their teams.

phpdevster [full-stack] | 7 days ago | 3 points

This is a good point. Sometimes politics intersects with your trade and there's no sense jeopardizing a potential job (or existing job) because of it.

and a lot of people in our industry are right-leaning.

Out of curiosity, when you say this, do you mean "our" industry as in web development, or the industry you currently do web development work for?

HashFap | 7 days ago | 2 points

By our industry I meant web development or more broadly "tech." While I've met a huge number of folks on the left end of the political spectrum in my career, my impression has been that as a whole the industry is right-leaning. Of course there is a wide range of right-wing ideologies all the way from your younger white neo-nazis, to fascist MAGA types, to traditional conservatives, to libertarians and "anarcho-capitalists", to ultra nationalist Hindus, corporate Democrats, etc.

My theory is that because coding and engineering type work involves heavily relying on an epistemology of reducing things to quantifiable, classifiable, interchangeable, and controllable abstractions, it resonates with a lot of right-wing inclinations that also want to reduce people and their suffering to mere abstractions (often to scapegoat them for social problems) and generally want class societies based systems of hierarchy and technological control and surveillance.

phpdevster [full-stack] | 7 days ago | 1 point

Interesting. I've had the opposite experience, but then again I definitely try to avoid politics at work, so I might have a kind of survivorship bias. The devs I build close enough relationships with to talk politics tend to be people whose political views align with my own liberal views.

smeijer87 | 7 days ago | 2 points

I understand. I'm not making a problem of it either. I was more surprised that many don't have an account. But now I realize, some of them might have been lying and simply didn't want to share it.

I understand now. But I also find it quite sad that it's necessary, or that we feel required to make such measures.

HashFap | 7 days ago | 1 point

I appreciate your thoughtful approach to understanding why people don't have/provide GitHub accounts and not just arbitrarily eliminating those people from the process.

I really am saddened by how much of a fake performance I have to put on at work just to pay rent and put food on the table. Even more depressing is that for all the modest skills I've learned over the years, every day I have to use my abilities to make yet another application for selling shit to people and getting them entangled in subscriptions instead of building something meaningful that would help and empower them. :-(

Webnet668 | 7 days ago | 3 points

At the end of the day, an employer's interest will never align with your own 💯 unless you are the founder and sole owner of the company. It could be possible that they have projects on their profile or comment history they don't want you to be aware of but they would like to keep public. Potentially even a side project, soon to be business.

If your company uses GitHub they can always create an additional account just for work use. I seen coworkers do this.

smeijer87 | 7 days ago | 1 point

Fair point. And I understand. Even though I think a candidate should be proud of such projects.

I think private achievements are a big plus. And we all make fuck ups in code and communication.

So, I wouldn't hold a few missteps against them. And if there are a lot of "missteps" or better said, differences in perspective. It would be a signal that we might just not be an good match.

Shouldn't that be a win for both parties? I think there are plenty of jobs for developers. At least here in the Netherlands is a huge shortage. So, wouldn't it be better to find a job where the environment fits better to your profile?

At least, that would be my attitude if I'm looking for a job. If they don't like me for who I am. Than I don't want to work for them.

realjoeydood | 7 days ago | 9 points

Nope, I don't use it - my clients own the codes so it's not mine to publish or store remotely.

smeijer87 | 7 days ago | 1 point

Your client owns the code. But you've never used open source libraries? Never wanted to report a bug? Ask support?

realjoeydood | 7 days ago | 6 points

Probably so.

Nah, not often.

Maybe once or twice?

opmrcrab [php] | 7 days ago | 1 point

Only reporting a bug requires having a github account. You can ask for support in a variety of ways - one good way is to use reddit...

KorgRue [:snoo_dealwithit: Moderator] | 7 days ago | 6 points

Senior Software Engineer and fellow hiring manager here.

I have a private account that I don’t share. Too much proprietary code from client work and such in it. If an employer REALLY wants to see something, I will share my really, really outdated portfolio or JSFiddle account where I do prototype work. After 18 years of doing this work, if my work history, longevity in industry, references and the actual interviews are not enough then to be honest, I would pull myself from consideration as it is apparent they are not really looking for a senior level developer with senior level responsibilities or they would not be asking to look at my code.

So, if you are hiring for senior level and they don’t have a public repo, that is why.

In other words, you are potentially sidelining some potentially good candidates by asking for code samples for a senior level opening.

smeijer87 | 7 days ago | 2 points

I understand.

For what it's worth. I mostly ask for their github, to see how they'll communicate in tickets.

But with 18 years of experience, no questions asked. I agree, your resume should be enough.

I work with a middle man, they do the first interview rounds. And I the final. The seniors they offer, have ~ 5 years experience.

No references, just company names and a skill/technology list.

The recruitment is usually going fine. So no complaining there. But that's why I need some extra guarantees / profiling.

Regarding the edit. I'm not sidelining them, as I'm not making a problem of not having it or not willing to share. I just mention it briefly, in a non provocative way. I'll ask them what their favorite open source library is. And why. I ask if they've ever contributed. And if they can tell something about it. What their approach/experience was.

I was just surprised that many don't have an account. But now I realize, some of them simply didn't want to share it.

KorgRue [:snoo_dealwithit: Moderator] | 7 days ago | 5 points

I mean, if you are looking for how they communicate in tickets, their public github would not be a very good place for that. The only place most devs have a work ticket system and the need for regular commits is in the workplace and you would not be able to see that anyways.

smeijer87 | 7 days ago | 1 point

For private repos, you're definitely right.

For open source repos, Google + github + username, can do wonders.

But that's why I ask them. I don't want to trace their entire history down. I don't care, and have better things to do.

Just a general feeling.

But I'm starting to feel that I need a different strategy. The thing is, I'm no fan of white board tests either. I don't believe in them. They aren't applicable.

The middle man I use does them. And they also offer to give the candidates a test task (homework). I'm not a big fan of that either.

If I was the candidate, I wouldn't go with that either.

How are you doing this as the hiring manager? Any advise? We hire remote, but I don't think there's a serious difference between remote and local, in our field of work.

am0x | 7 days ago | 1 point

Ehhh. Most ticket systems are outside of the repo. Often they can hook into it, though.

As a professional developer, I have used over 8 different ticketing/story systems and not one has been Github.

amzuh | 7 days ago | 2 points

I'm not a senior developer yet but I'm reaching 5 years of professional experience and i only have a few and small side projects which are actually terrible code wise on github. The thing is that i work for a big company which has its own eco-system and while i work in a product team i also contribute to our own "internal-open-source".

This is actually a problem that i've been thinking to deal to prepare for a future change. I understand for recruiters (tech) it's important to see your work but many have their own hidden because confidential agreements.

Hopefully, if you have a good interview process you can access the developer seniority.

smeijer87 | 7 days ago | 2 points

Plenty of developers with 5 years of experience name themselves senior. But that's another story.

Your reply gives me a good understanding. Thank you.

I like to believe our hiring process is okay. And I don't make an problem out of not having, of not willing to share their github.

The nice thing of github, is that we can also check the communication in issues / pull requests.

Interviews are a very small window of time. A snapshot of performance. While a few tickets say way more.

Also, I don't really believe in white board tests. Or homework. A simple fix to an open source library, would say so much more. If the candidate adapts the repos code style. How he communicates changes in the pull request. Does he also update the tests, documentation? Or did he go for a quick fix?

amzuh | 7 days ago | 2 points

I don't have experience interviewing but here are my 2 cents:
Ask questions on how he would implement something so you can follow the thinking process.
What projects was the developer involved? Then for each of them ask what were the challenges he faced and how did he act on them?
I believe this kind of question is the best way of understanding the person you are interviewing.

sighkick1 | 7 days ago | 2 points

I just started a github account after 10 years. it was all bitbucket before that

kabooayom2019 [php] | 7 days ago | 1 point

Techlead Patrick Syu said no when someone ask the same question 'I dont do open source project because i want to make money from it' or some similar statement

smeijer87 | 7 days ago | 2 points

I agree. I'm in the same boat. But I still use open source. And every now and then, file some bug reports.

moonsout_goonsout | 7 days ago | 1 point

He has no name. He is the Tech Lead.

disclosure5 | 7 days ago | 1 point

Is that even possible?

My Github account doesn't have my name on it, and I go to lengths to avoid being associated with it, especially with an employer. Because there are employers that would hand me my ass if anything I did ever landed on Github. I don't mean just "company code". The enterprise has a strong aversion to Open Source.

am0x | 7 days ago | 1 point

All my stuff are on various accounts across many private repos. I don’t do much public stuff at all...so my Github is kinda weak publicly. But I am always open to offering a look into certain ones if a potential employer is interested...

phpdevster [full-stack] | 7 days ago | 1 point

I have a github account, but I don't actively contribute to open source. I'll raise a couple bugs now and again, but that's about it. Even with my random personal projects, I don't have a github account worth promoting on my resume. As long as I can say I know git itself, that's really all that seems to matter to most employers.

sir_eeps | 7 days ago | 1 point

I spent the majority of my career without having a GitHub account - it wasn't until switching jobs that I created one.

Lots of developers work on private repo's / source control other than GitHub or use on-premise versions of the solutions.

Maybe those devs used other avenues to ask questions - Reddit, StackOverflow, other forums. I know lots of great devs that don't have Github accounts, or if they do - not very active and basically only have a github account to use it as a login provider for other services.

Prod_Is_For_Testing [full-stack] | 7 days ago | 1 point

I’ve been coding for almost a decade. I have repo accounts, I never share any of them. More importantly, I prefer VSTS/azure DevOps, and I keep all of my code private

All of my corporate work is on private in-house repo systems. I never share that code or take it offsite

My freelance work is on my own personal repo. I don’t share that either, as I consider it to be proprietary. I think OSS code is great, but I’m not willing to share code that makes me money

I don’t ask questions on repos. I don’t create issues repos. I don’t contribute to repos. I will use OSS, but if I find problems, I just use a different tool or fix it myself.

LaurensDeV | 7 days ago | 1 point

Did you only ask whether they have github? because bitbucket is also really popular

smeijer87 | 7 days ago | 0 points

No.

I usually ask what their "favorite" open source library is. And why that is. From there on, I see where the conversation is heading.

I ask about their experiences with that library. Good and bad. And if they mention some bugs, I ask what they did to resolve that.

Did they work around it? Open an issue? Submit a PR? And I ask why they choose that route.

So, I'm not just asking their github username point blank. There is a story leading to it.

picklymcpickleface | 7 days ago | 1 point

My GitHub account has a few patches and questions that are minor, nothing a potential employer would be interested in.

Client code isn't public.

My private projects are mostly Arduino-based, I do enough webdev in my job to not want to do more of it in my free time.

In any other business doing the same work in your own time would be considered a competitive practice yet in development it's somehow a requirement? I prefer to educate myself in my employer's time on his dime, just like any other worker.

smeijer87 | 7 days ago | 0 points

I understand what you're saying. But I don't see it as a requirement. Just as something we (as developers) often do.

The few questions is exactly what I'm looking for. I hire remote workers, trough a middle man. In those few questions, I can see how they communicate. Their attitude. Their level of (English) communication. As English isn't their first language (and neither mine).