Recruiters asking for a github link

and the 10,000 hour "rule"

Rule is in quotes because it does't actually quite apply here, but more on that later.

A few days ago I came across a post on Reddit by someone who was quite confused by recruiters asking for a link to your Github profile. They were confused because their previous job didn't use Github and so obviously they didn't have a Github profile with anything on it.

Obviously the point is more of a separation of people who write code for a living and people who are passionate about programming. Which, obviously, leads us to the 10,000 hour "rule".

The rule is actually not that much of a rule, and, on top of that, is usually misapplied and misunderstood.

The 10,000 hour rule

As it's often stated, it takes 10,000 hours to become proficient at something. But, as it was originally stated, it's not just about doing something for a long time, it's about actually practicing (and on top of that, practicing the correct way) something for a long time. Also in general it wasn't about mere proficiency as most people understand it. So assuming that it does take 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become the equivalent of a grandmaster in chess in whatever skill you want to become great at, how long does it take through casual engagement ? Unfortunately I couldn't find an answer to that. I also doubt that many recruiters can offer the kind of money that an expert programmer deserve. And then there's the whole question of what exactly is an expert programmer. Without question there are a few of them, but they have all done something to get the kind of recognition that you don't just get by being great. So does it make sense to ask someone for their Github profile link ?

Yes ! Also no ! Which I guess is kind of the same thing with literally any other question in recruiting.

First of all, I'm hoping that no recruiter just looks at the profile to see a bunch of commits (or lack thereof) and runs with however that makes them feel. I could very easily automate daily commits and have a whole lot of green on my profile for very little work.

Second, I doubt that any recruiter takes the time to actually look at someone's projects and the code they wrote.

Third, even if they did, I doubt most recruiters would be able to tell good code from bad code.

Fourth, are you actually looking for experts in your field ?

So no, most recruiters shouldn't ask for it.

However, if it's done right, and by done right I mean that giving a recruiter your Github profile should never negatively influence a hiring decision, I think it's still useful. At the very least it should be more useful than literally any reference if there's actually recent code on Github. The benefit to effort ratio is just not good enough to actually bother faking things just in case someone has a peek and actually knows what they're doing. If you're terrible at software engineering you won't last long in a job that goes through that effort anyway.

To summarize: Don't ask for the Github link if you're not going to look. Don't just look at green squares. Don't look if you can't tell good code from bad code. Do ask if the person who does a technical interview is the same as the one looking at Github. Do ask if seeing code on someone's personal Github account is a huge green flag regardless of what it is. Don't see it the same as going to a boot camp or getting professional experience.