The Simple Tactic That Proves You’re a Good Programmer

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I’m not a good programmer, says that little voice in the back of your head.

So many programmers are hard on themselves because, in today’s tech world, you need to stay up-to-date on coding languages. You need a side project, a personal website, and the reputation of hackathon “rockstar.”

It’s easy to confuse what’s truly valuable to your computer engineering job search, and what’s repetitive.

One tactic that almost every programmer should practice: Use open source code hosting sites.

Sites like Github, SourceForge, Bitbucket, and CodePlex are absolutely crucial resources for most programmers. Here’s why you should start using them if you aren’t already:

Open-Source Projects

Using Github does not make you an outstanding programmer. And, not using Github does not make you a bad programmer.

The problem is that if you don’t participate in open source coding communities, your employer doesn’t know if you’re amazing at your job or awful at it. Project transparency proves your skills much more than an impressive job history, or a glowing recommendation from a manager who might not even know how to code. Don’t tell your future employer you’re good at your job. Show them.

Many employees struggle with this, because their companies host code privately. Spend some time outside of work or school and develop your own, completely accessible coding project. This can replace your portfolio, and shouldn’t take up all of your free time.

Acing a technical interview is key. But, handing over additional proof that you’re the right fit is the smartest tactic for any job-seeker, whether you’re an english major or a backend engineer.

Community Projects 

Programmer jobs have changed. Sometimes, you’re working quietly with flexible hours and little face-time with the rest of the company.

Many times, you’re on-call for every sales employee, marketing person, and executive–whether it’s to walk through a product feature with a client or strategize a roadmap internally. Either way, you need to be a team-oriented engineer with diverse professional skills.

Storing your code on a community-based site speaks volumes about your coding philosophy. In a field based on building off of others’ work, participating in programming’s sharing culture demonstrates your ability to give back to the community.

Code hosting websites let employers see more natural, less edited coding. They can also see how the interviewee interacts with team members based on any comments with others in the community.

Important for Young Job-Seekers

Github is the new job search website, in a way. Career websites like AfterCollege are necessary to actively connect with employers. One way to be additionally “discovered,” participate in a code hosting website. Add these links to your AfterCollege profile and any of your additional online profiles.

Employers are using Github more and more as a talent pool to find and contact interesting, industry-compatible coders. In 2012, Github raised $100 million in funding. Their most recent funding round earlier this year was $250 million, now valued as a $2 billion company. It’s the place for tech talent, so it’s the place to source tech talent.

You are not a bad programmer if you don’t have a Github (or equivalent) profile. These profiles simply make it easier for employers to verify your skills.

Hiring managers can observe how well you interact with others and how generous you are with contributions. Your repositories give unique insight into your documentation, and how clean your coding is. If you aren’t already active on an open source code hosting site, start now–especially if you’re a college senior or recent graduate looking for work.

AfterCollege features 400,000 entry level jobs and internships. Find your dream job using our career searchCreate a profile on AfterCollege and we will directly connect you with interested employers.

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