How to Use GitHub for Coding Beginners

Last Updated on June 2, 2023

GitHub is a web-based platform used for version control and collaborative software development. It’s essential for coding beginners because it helps to manage code changes, track progress, and work collaboratively with others.

How to Use GitHub for Coding Beginners

This blog post aims to provide coding beginners with a basic understanding of what GitHub is, how to create a repository, how to add and commit changes, and how to collaborate on projects. By the end of this blog post, the reader should be able to set up a GitHub account, use basic GitHub commands, and collaborate with others on a project.

Getting Started

As a coding beginner, using GitHub may seem intimidating at first. However, with the right guidance, learning to use this platform can significantly improve your workflow and help make your coding projects more efficient.

Creating a GitHub Account

The first step to using GitHub is to create an account. This is a straightforward process that involves providing your basic information, such as your name, email address, and a strong password. Once you have created an account, log in to get started on GitHub.

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Understanding the Basic Layout and Features of GitHub

GitHub has a user-friendly interface that is simple to navigate. Here are some of the essential features of the GitHub platform that you should get familiar with:

Repositories and Commits

A repository is a collection of files and folders that make up a project. You can create a new repository by clicking on the “+ new” button on the top right corner of your GitHub dashboard.

Each time you make changes to your repository, you need to commit them. A commit is a snapshot of your changes, and it includes a brief description of what you have changed. You can then push your commits to GitHub, making your changes accessible to the rest of your team.


Branches are different versions of your project. They allow you to work on different versions of your repository simultaneously without affecting your master branch. For instance, you can create a new branch to add a new feature to your project without worrying about breaking your existing code.

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Pull Requests

A pull request is a request to merge changes in a branch into another branch. Once you have made changes in a branch, you can open a pull request to let other team members review your code and provide feedback before merging your changes into the master branch.


Issues are a way to track bugs, feature requests, or other changes that need to be made in your project. You can open new issues, assign them to specific team members and set due dates to ensure they are completed on time.

Collaborating with Other Coders

GitHub is designed to encourage collaboration among coders. You can invite other team members to work on your repository, and they can make changes, open issues, and comment on commits. The platform also allows you to communicate with your team members through the built-in messaging system, making it easy to get feedback and discuss changes without leaving the platform.

GitHub is a valuable tool for coding beginners looking to improve their workflow. Understanding the basic layout and features of the platform is critical to using it effectively. Creating an account and getting started on GitHub may seem intimidating at first, but with a little practice, you will find that it is an indispensable tool for managing your coding projects.

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Creating a New Repository

A repository is a central location where code is stored and managed. It is important because it allows multiple people to work on a project simultaneously and keeps track of changes made to the code over time. Here are the steps for creating a new repository on GitHub:

  1. Go to GitHub’s website and log in to your account.

  2. Click the “+” icon on the top-right side of the screen and select “New Repository”.

  3. Give your repository a name. It should be something descriptive that indicates what the repository is for.

  4. Write a brief description of your repository. It should be a few sentences that explain what the repository does.

  5. Choose whether your repository will be public (visible to anyone on the internet) or private (visible only to you and anyone you grant access to).

  6. Select “Initialize this repository with a README”. This will create a new README file in your repository.

  7. Choose a license for your repository. This will dictate what others can and cannot do with your code.

  8. Click “Create Repository” to create your new repository.

  9. You will then be taken to your new repository’s landing page. From here, you can add files, invite collaborators, and manage your repository.

By following these simple steps, you can create a new repository on GitHub and start saving and managing your code online. This will allow you to work collaboratively with others and keep track of changes to your code over time.

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Committing Changes

GitHub is a popular collaboration platform where developers across the globe share and work on different coding projects. To ensure seamless collaboration, developers must be familiar with GitHub functionalities such as committing changes.

What is committing changes and why is it important?

Committing changes is the process of saving any alterations made to a file on GitHub. This is a fundamental workflow that helps to track changes made to a codebase and enables developers to collaborate on a project effectively. Without committing changes, it would be difficult to keep track of edits or revert to a previous state of the file.

Steps for committing changes on GitHub

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to commit changes on GitHub:

  1. Log in to your GitHub account and select the repository where you wish to make changes.

  2. Find the file you wish to make changes to and click on it.

  3. Click on the pencil icon to edit the file.

  4. Make the necessary changes to the file.

  5. Describe the changes made to the file by entering a commit message.

  6. Click the “Commit changes” button.

  7. Your changes are now committed and saved to the repository.

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The above process can be performed in two ways:

Using the Command line to commit changes on GitHub

If you prefer using the command line, here’s how:

  1. Open the command prompt and navigate to the local repository.

  2. Type in “git add filename” to add the changes made to the file.

  3. Type in “git commit -m “commit message” to add the changes to the branch.

  4. Type in “git push” to push the changes to the remote repository.

Using GitHub Desktop to commit changes on GitHub

If you prefer using GitHub Desktop, here is a guide:

  1. Go to the “Changes” tab and select the files you wish to commit.

  2. Enter a commit message on the text field.

  3. Click the “Commit to master” button.

  4. Click the “Push origin” button to persist changes to the remote repository.

Committing changes is a fundamental aspect of working on GitHub and something that all coding beginners need to get familiarized with. By committing changes, it becomes easier to keep track of changes made to a file and collaborate with other developers effectively. Remember, always commit changes regularly to ensure that the codebase is up-to-date and reflect the latest changes.

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Creating Branches

As a coding beginner, using GitHub can be overwhelming, but once you understand its basic concepts, you’ll realize that it is not as complex as it seems.

What are Branches and Why are They Important?

  • Branches are independent lines of development within a repository.

  • They allow users to work on different features or fixes without impacting the main codebase.

  • Branches also enable collaboration with other developers, facilitating code reviews and pull requests.

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Steps for Creating a New Branch on GitHub

  • Step 1: Log in to your GitHub account and open the repository you want to create a new branch for.

  • Step 2: Click on the “Branch: master” button on the top left corner of the page.

  • Step 3: Type in a descriptive name for your new branch, such as the feature or issue you are working on.

  • Step 4: Click on the “Create branch” button to create the new branch.

  • Step 5: You will be automatically redirected to the new branch, and you can start making changes to your code without affecting the master branch.

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Best Practices for Branching

  • Choose a descriptive name for your branch that reflects the feature or issue you are working on.

  • Always create a new branch for each feature or issue that you are working on.

  • Make sure your branch is up to date with the latest changes in the master branch by regularly merging or rebasing the code.

  • Use clear commit messages that explain what changes you made to the code.

  • Once your feature or issue is completed, submit a pull request to merge your changes back into the master branch.

Branching in GitHub is a powerful feature that allows developers to work simultaneously on different features without disrupting the codebase. By following these simple steps and best practices, you can easily create and manage branches and collaborate effectively with other developers.

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Working with Others: Collaborating on GitHub

As a coding beginner, you may have started using GitHub to manage your projects. However, as you progress, you will realize that working with others on GitHub can be more beneficial and efficient. Here are some benefits of collaborating on GitHub:

1. Access to a wider range of skills and expertise

  • Collaborating on GitHub allows you to work with other developers with different skills and expertise.

  • You can learn from each other, assign tasks based on individual strengths, and produce high-quality projects.

  • This can also help you build your network and increase your visibility in the development community.

2. Better project management

  • GitHub’s collaboration features, such as Issue tracking, pull requests, and project boards, can help you manage your project more effectively.

  • You can communicate with your team, assign tasks, and track progress in real-time.

  • This can prevent duplication of efforts, reduce the risk of errors, and ensure timely completion of tasks.

3. Opportunity to contribute to open-source projects

  • GitHub is home to millions of open-source projects, and collaborating on them can offer you many benefits.

  • You can make meaningful contributions to projects you care about, learn from other developers, and build your portfolio.

  • By contributing to open-source projects, you can make a positive impact on the development community and gain recognition for your work.

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Discussing Issues and Pull Requests

GitHub provides various tools to help you collaborate with others on your projects. The two most essential tools are Issues and Pull Requests.


Issues are used to report bugs, request new features, or discuss any other problems related to your project. You can create an issue by clicking on the “Issues” tab in your repository and then clicking on “New issue.”

When creating an issue, be clear and detailed about the problem, and provide any information that can help others understand it better. You can also assign the issue to a team member, label it, and set milestones. This can help you keep track of the progress and ensure timely resolution of the issue.

Pull Requests

Pull Requests are used when you want to add new code, fix a bug, or make any other changes to your project. You can create a Pull Request by forking a repository, making changes, and sending a pull request to the owner of the original repository.

Note: Always ensure that your branch is up to date and does not conflict with other changes before creating a pull request.

When creating a pull request, provide a clear and detailed description of the changes you have made, and explain why they are necessary. Be open to feedback and suggestions from others, and be willing to make changes based on their inputs.

GitHub provides various tools, such as comments, reviews, and merge conflicts, to help you manage the pull request process. Use these tools effectively to ensure that your code is of high quality and is ready to be merged with the main repository.


As a coding beginner, working alone on your projects may seem comfortable. However, collaborating with other developers on GitHub can offer you many benefits, such as access to a wider range of skills and expertise, better project management, and the opportunity to contribute to open-source projects. Use GitHub’s collaboration features, such as issues and pull requests, effectively to ensure that your projects are of high quality and are completed on time.

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To wrap it up, we learned that GitHub is an indispensable tool for beginners and experts alike in the coding and programming world. We explored how to create an account, start a repository, and collaborate with others using the platform’s features like pull requests and issues. We also looked at some essential commands like git add, git commit, and git push and saw how they make version control a breeze.

GitHub empowers users to participate in open-source initiatives, enhance their coding skills, and demonstrate their work to the community. Plus, it’s free for personal use, which makes it even more accessible.

We encourage our readers to keep exploring GitHub’s vast library of projects and resources and contribute to the community while building their skills.

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