The Best Advice for Computer Science Students
So I’ve been back in academia for a while, (feeling like Rodney Dangerfield,) and I have noticed at least one super important aspect of writing code that seems to be overlooked by my classmates.
Spoiler: Use Git For All The Things
The missing ingredient is a version control system and since it is 2018 I mean Git. Git is used in the real-world, (“in the wild” as my old instructors would say,) and has become the version control system de rigueur. This means if you are a computer science student1 then you should definitely learn how to use it, and not just for the software engineering project management courses.
Git makes a kind of “save point” in my assignments and projects to which I can always fall back to the last known good configuration of a given program. This liberates me to go ahead and spike out with crazy ideas and randomness that may or may not yield a favorable result.
I use Git for homework, Git for solo projects, and Git for group projects. Admittedly this last one has a higher bar since it requires all group members to use git, however as a true believer you should have no trouble convincing them of its usefulness. If not, then you can still use Git personally and benefit from it, but you would be missing out on the whole point of version control with distributed teams.
Git along lil’ doggies
Luckily there are loads of resources to learn Git.
- Git documentation! - filled with loads of information, videos, cheatsheets, examples etc.
- Git-it - Electron (Linux, Mac, and Windows) Desktop App for Learning Git and GitHub
- Try Git - Even yet more resources to learn Git
- Git tutorials at Atlassian - Become a Git guru
Even if you’re not in the field of computer science, you may still reap the ample benefits of using Git. Any creative working collaboratively (or solo) can benefit from version control, but in practice most will simply use Dropbox or MS Office to handle multiple versions of the same document edited by different authors. ↩