Having a GitHub profile is undoubtedly one of the best things to have for a data science resume. It showcases his/her coding abilities, hands-on exposure to the tools, understanding of the subject and more. But can it replace a resume? Definitely not. While a good GitHub profile lets the potential employer have a quick glance into the candidate’s abilities, it cannot be the only deciding factor to land up a good developer job. In this article, we are going to see why can GitHub not serve as an alternative or the only source of your CV.
It stresses on coding, but data science is more than codes: While a lot of companies and potential employers ask for GitHub profiles, it is tough for recruiters to make the right decision about a candidate just based on it. It is important to analyse a candidate based on a lot of other factors such as previous work experience, exposure to tools, teams that he/she has worked with and much more. GitHub may be a good source to enlist the projects and coding experience that a candidate may have, but it is not a 360-degree coverage of a candidate’s potential. Interviewing for data science jobs is really tough and GitHub eases it for employers but it doesn’t tell what are they thinking or processing.
Authenticity of the information as stats may be manipulative: The information which is shown by default in a GitHub profile is the number of stars and projects that candidate has worked with. It displays a lot of stats about followers which may sometimes be manipulative in a way showing a candidate to be influential but that may not be the only criteria to judge while recruiting. There may also be instances where there are long-term projects which they started but couldn’t finish it with some insightful results. At other instances, there may be a large number of projects that didn’t ever do value-addition or didn’t showcase extensive coding skills.
It cannot show a candidate’s problem-solving ability and reasoning: It isn’t possible to judge a candidate just based on the GitHub portfolio. It cannot define the challenges that the candidate faced while writing code, whether it solves the intended problem, what are the effects it had on the problem, how he/she overcame the challenges and more. It doesn’t state how many times did a candidate fail and progressed through it.
No measure of interpersonal skills: GitHub shows technical ability but nothing about interpersonal skills — such as how good of an employee a person is, how does he/she gel with the team, the communication skills, and more. The only channel or medium that GitHub provides is to interact with the GitHub community such as commenting on codes, having discussions or others. These are not indicative of how good of a team player the candidate is.
GitHub doesn’t serve to specific job portfolios: Resumes and CVs are always catered to tailored job requirements which makes it easy for recruiters to have look at the skills required and skills that a candidate pose. Whereas GitHub may not provide tailored content to the employers and therefore not suited to act as a CV. While resumes tell a story about a candidates work, GitHub profile might not necessarily be explained in a way that impresses employers. It also doesn’t focus on the current area of interest.
It may not always be updated: Many GitHub users may have started working on a project years ago and have not touched or updated the profile recently. For a GitHub profile to serve as a CV or at least a part of it, it is always advisable to keep the content constantly pruned. Having a code stored from five years ago when a candidate first started exploring it may not do any good and in fact, put the candidate as outdated.
GitHub doesn’t tell the whole story: Having discussed the points above, GitHub definitely doesn’t portray a complete picture of a candidate. The project may be incomplete, outdated, the information may be misleading, codes may be irrelevant or may not be a representative sample. It may be quantitative but not qualitative. It may not show career history, candidate’s efficiency and the whole story of the candidate.
While the points mentioned above focus on why GitHub may not act solely as your CV, it may not always be true for every candidate and we always encourage data scientists and analytics researchers to portray their skills and coding abilities to the employers. As we have mentioned in our previous article, it is definitely a good source to dig through archives, but it is always advisable to have a detailed resume to share with potential employers while applying for jobs.
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Srishti currently works as Associate Editor at Analytics India Magazine. When not covering the analytics news, editing and writing articles, she could be found reading or capturing thoughts into pictures.