GitHub Learning Path

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David Lipien (Director, Microsoft Developer Support), Doug Owens (Application Development Manager, Microsoft Developer Support), and Hector Alfaro (Program Architect, GitHub) discuss a learning path prepared by the GitHub training team and how it can help accelerate adoption.


GitHub Learning Path

We all know that changes can bring out a variety of responses in people. Quite frequently these responses, such as fear, anxiety, and self-doubt, can hold us back from moving forward. Other responses, like excitement and acceptance, can propel us to new levels of impact, both personally and for the organizations in which we work. A change presented to those of us who work primarily with Microsoft technologies has been Microsoft’s recent acquisition of GitHub. Having worked solely with our in-house version control system (TFVC) as part of our Azure DevOps product lineage for over a decade, this acquisition did induce some anxiety and self-doubt within me. However, it also offered a great incentive to not only learn Git, the world’s most popular version control system, but more importantly GitHub, a first class collaboration platform built on top of Git. It isn’t easy to pivot from those initial negative responses, but working within a growth mindset culture that advocates being a #learnitall certainly helps.

Part of the process that led me to see the opportunity presented by GitHub was realizing the impact that two of its key value propositions – collaboration and empowerment – could have with my customers.

A recent Harvard Business Review survey found 89% of respondents indicated that prioritizing collaboration and teamwork were growing in importance to the workforce strategy of their organizations. GitHub’s ethos of collaboration is its foundation, and is woven throughout the product. This is evidenced by its expansive developer community, its power as a platform for all kinds of knowledge workers, and its wide adoption by developers for personal, open source, and work projects.

The theme of developer empowerment, also encompassing inclusion and democratization, runs deep throughout GitHub. Within their own repositories, individual teams and developers have wide-reaching control over their workflows. Individual developers are encouraged to take ownership for their repositories, whether that be introducing new code via a pull request, leading important discussions in issues, or automating the project’s workflow from first commit to deployment using GitHub Actions.

If you are as convinced as I am that GitHub opens exciting possibilities for you and your customers, then you are probably asking “Where do I start?” Like learning anything else, part of the challenge is finding the best material and determining the best way to progress through it, starting from the basics and moving into advanced topics. Thankfully, Hector Alfaro, a Program Architect for GitHub, and team have done the curation and sequencing for us by pulling together this learning path. The path consists of reading material, videos, and bot-led hands-on-labs using GitHub Learning Lab, a tool for learning on live repositories with realistic codebases. Additionally, I like that the learning path covers a wide range of topics that will get you started. Topics include source control workflows and managing projects and teams. They also highlight use cases and features, such as InnerSource, open source collaboration, and communities, which are core to GitHub’s identity and existence.

In addition to the learning path, GitHub content will be coming soon to docs.microsoft.com. This is a great addition to the material available to all of us wanting to get the most out of using GitHub.

GitHub and its legions of “super fans” fit perfectly into Microsoft’s DevOps tool portfolio and align well with our mission “to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” In that spirit, start down your learning path today to being a #learnitall and discover how GitHub can impact you, your team, and your organization.

P.S. I completed the path and learned a lot, but found I also needed to ramp up on ‘core’ Git. If you find yourself in the same situation, Hector and team recommend the following resources for learning Git:

  • Learn Git branching is an interactive tutorial to get you thinking about Git and the underlying graph
  • Git-it is an Electron app created by a former Hubber that guides you using a real repository on your machine
  • Pro Git is not an easy read at all, but a bible of sorts for Git
  • Git for Humans is a very approachable read for most audiences

What I like about these resources is that there are different levels of material that can meet you where you are and then take you from there as far as you need.

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