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Version Control Will Save Your Life

A few months back I had the pleasure of presenting to the TechDawgs student organization at SIU Carbondale. I was given free choice of topic and I decided to try to explain why version control is important.

I believe one of the most overlooked “core” skills that a student should learn is version control. Many tools (and some operating systems) come with some kind of revision system built-in, but anyone serious about development needs to have a firm grasp on how to manually handle versioning in their projects.

When I hire a new student developer to work with me at my day job the first several weeks are spent on introductory training and we hit on aspects of version control using Git throughout the process. There are lots of great resources to teach and explain Git. My favorites include the Try Git course at Code School, the Pragmatic Guide to Git, and the Pro Git book are my top three recommended sources.

If you aren’t intimately familiar with Git, especially using the command line interface, I would encourage you to take the time to dive in. Get to know the basic commands by heart and remember that it is always acceptable to refer to the documentation if you forget a command or argument. It’s more important to do it, than to have it memorized.

If you are interested you can take a look at my slides for the presentation to TechDawgs. And remember, Version control will save your life!