GitHub as a CV (GaaC)

Over the recent year or so, as it has become more popular throughout the tech industry, there has been a growing amount of discussion around the idea of "GitHub as a CV" - the idea of using your online tech footprint, primarily for most people in the form of your GitHub profile, as a CV and a better representation of a potential employees ability/preference/mindset etc. There has even been a GitHub project that can automatically create a CV for you based on your profile: (here is mine - depressing that Coldfusion features so highly in the stats though!).  Over at NerdAbility we have really taken that idea forward (incorporating other sites like BitBucket, GoogleCode, Coursera, LinkedIn, StackOverflow, etc) and is obviously something that we think is a good idea.

But its a bad idea..

A big argument against it is that it furthers the already engrained bias towards white men. If you look at the demographic of the most active GitHub profiles there is no denying the common pattern.

I agree completely - that using GitHub as a filtering mechanism or pre-requisite for a candidate sucks. You really shouldn't do that. I have had conversations with agents where they have told me that a client only wants to see candidates who contribute to OSS, and I have declined. It doesn't qualify a candidate as being half-way competent and rules out lots of very competent people who don't have spare time to work on OSS (multiple jobs, family responsibility).

Just another data point..

I guess this is really the point here. You shouldn't rule out candidates because they don't have GitHub accounts, just like you shouldn't rule out a candidate for not having a degree etc.  I think we can all agree tech recruiting is hard, and its really hard to assess whether someone is actually a good developer and not just blagging it - so a computer scientist, I'm grateful for as much data to help with this decision as possible.

It's not that a candidate with an active GitHub profile trumps one without, but it means that its another point in an interview that we can try and use to tease out  a little bit more of an insight into the candidates skills, interests, passions.

GitHub is another point on your CV (if you are fortunate enough to have the time to setup and contribute to a GitHub profile) - just like your academic achievements and career history or anything else you choose to put on there.  If you have an interesting project it can be a talking point for an interview, in much the same way an interesting role on your CV would be.  From my point of view, I love going into interviews and hearing that the interviewer has checked out my projects on GitHub, and when the inevitable "tell us about an interesting/challenging/etc project/problem you have had" comes up, it's great to be able to talk about projects on GitHub that they have seen - not just because I know the project well, but also it will inevitably be a project that I am passionate about (otherwise I wouldn't be doing it in my spare time!).

We shouldn't be demanding OSS contributions, or set online profiles, or StackOverflow credibility - but we probably shouldn't be dismissing it as irrelevant.