While having a discussion with a friend of mine earlier today about how I would tell if programming candidate was up to snuff, I realized that a lot of programmers out there are probably missing a lot of chances to get better jobs, find more work (if they’re a contractor), or just a simple learning opportunity by not having their source code for their personal programming projects stored in an online code repository. With online code repositories like GitHub, Google Code, or CodePlex, there is no excuse for a developer to not have the source code to their personal projects stored online. GitHub even gives you the option to pay for an account that will allow you store some projects online privately.
A good developer already knows that using source control is a good practice that every developer should be following regularly. So using a online source control repository, means that not only are you doing source control but you also have an offline copy of all your code. If you computer was to ever crash, then getting back to where you left off isn’t nearly as difficult than having to start from scratch.
But one important aspect that doing this buys you, is when you’re talking to potential employer (or client), and they ask for code samples (as any good interviewer, interviewing people for a programming position should do) you’ll be able to point them at your repositories to allow them to peruse through and see what kind of work you can do. Seeing someone’s code can really help a good developer interviewer see how a potential employee thinks out problems and organizes solutions to those problems. This can be an important first step towards determining if the interviewee has some skill.
The downside is that a nice looking code repository can be faked. A good interviewer will know what questions to ask and what answers to look for when asking about the solutions presented in your code repositories. If they still have doubts, they could ask you (the interviewee) to take a coding test, but hey if you’re as good as you’re presenting to the interviewers then that should be cake, right?