Why and How I became a GitHub Campus Expert + How you can too

Why and How I became a GitHub Campus Expert + How you can too.

It was a normal evening and I had just got home from the a day filled with lectures. As if that wasnโ€™t enough, in a few hours I was going to have what I thought would be one of my most important interviews ever. I was scheduled to have an onboarding interview with a very busy Joe Nash โ€” the head of the GitHub Campus Experts Program. 15 minutes after the call I was a GitHub Campus Expert.

Go back about 10 months and I had just started the 6th Semester of my Computer Science program and had no idea what GitHub was. During a trip back home to Zambia, I met a senior developer who mentioned GitHub enough times that it came off as something important. I decided to dive deep into this website and discover everything I could about it. This was me literally clicking every button that GitHub.com had.. yeah I seriously did that.

When I woke up the next day and checked my email, I found out I had just enrolled myself into the GitHub Campus Expert training. Was I crazy? I had no idea what GitHub did (my aimless clicking didnโ€™t help much) nor was I an expert on anything at that time, not to mention I was so introverted I couldnโ€™t imagine myself doing any work on campus in-front of a crowd. What had I got myself into?

Despite nothing about the Campus Expert title aligning with me at that time I decided to go on with the training. This training was special. I genuinely believe I came out of it a different person. The training was divided into 15 modules with each having an exercise we had to complete and submit. After review, it would be merged, or we would receive feedback on changes. An applicant had to complete 5 modules before they could be considered for the final interview. Iโ€™ll take you through the modules I completed and the impact each had on me.


Luckily for me, the introductory module of the training included a very thorough explanation of what the GitHub Campus Expert program was about. I learnt that my future role as a Campus Expert would mostly revolve around my community โ€” growing it and helping realize the purpose it was created for. I took notes of membersโ€™ pain points and listed down goals for how I could solve them and create a better space for everyone. Personally, this activity made me realize the actual problems my community had and gave me that extra push to solve them with the help of the Campus Expert program.

Technical Writing

Without this module, I probably wouldnโ€™t be writing this, literally. Technical writing was something I just wasnโ€™t good at. Although now I prefer to say it was something I just never learnโ€™t to do. I learned how to create content not just out of the blue but by going at it with an actual strategy of how to present content and where to put it out.

Contributing to your Career (With Open Source)

When we learn about different types of software, we brush by Open Source software and fail to appreciate the sheer amount of work that goes into keeping these projects alive. When we get past this fear, we start to fear contributing to it because of whatever reason we convince ourselves with. This module demystified Open Source contribution and showed me how it can contribute towards building my career as a development. Besides Hacktoberfest, this helped me make first real open source contribution.

Git Tips & Tricks

Like I mentioned before, I had no idea what GitHub did or how it worked. So I learned about something called Git, a version control system to track changes in files. GitHub takes this a step higher by letting us all collaborate on projects that use Git for version control. Not to mention a lot of the training and the processes that support it i.e. Module submission and reviewing involved using Git and GitHub which served as a crash course on the two technologies. Besides this, I got introduced to GitKraken which added a graphical interface to Git and made all the git commands clearer for me.

GitHub Pages

On the long list of things I was unaware of, websites and how they worked were somewhere in the middle. GitHub Pages helped me build my first site like it does for many people. Now I actually have one which by the way is hosted for free! All thanks to the GitHub Student Developer Pack!

Please give me feedback on my website! I know it sucks right now ๐Ÿ™ˆ Daniel Phiri You guessed it! I'm Daniel (it's not rocket science really..) I have been writing code for four years now. I startedโ€ฆdanielphiri.me

Running an Organization

As my community started to grow, managing it and the processes around it became a little cumbersome. This module really helped me deal with how to build and manage my team and how to communicate effectively with people online. Really instrumental because for my community besides the few hours we spend brushing shoulders in the hallways most of our interaction was not face-to-face.

Slide Design

Coupled with the Public Speaking module, this helped me not only get rid of my stage fright but also helped me develop a reputation as a public speaker. Slide Design helped me craft my slides and present them in an effective manner so they can add the more value to anyone attending my talks. It was also really amazing to have people come and ask how I made my slides and tell me how beautiful they are. Two words โ€” Slide Design.

I can confidently say that without the Campus Expert Training, I probably wouldn't be who I am today. I strongly believe everyone who can and is eligible should consider taking it up not only for the opportunity to develop your community but for the amazing personal growth it inspires.

I also want to point out that there are infinite lessons to learn from the training and the ones I pointed out are mine personally, someone else can take something else from them and thatโ€™s what makes them even more special.

How do you join?

The force is strong with you because Joe and rest of the team at GitHub Education will be opening up a new version of the Expert training on August 24th. Feel free to apply, itโ€™s definitely worth a shot! GitHub Campus Experts GitHub Campus Experts are trained to enrich the technology community at their schools. Find an Expert near you.apply.githubcampus.expert

If you had no idea about the program or you thought you werenโ€™t good enough because the Expert tag scared you, hopefully this piece makes it a little bit more approachable and gives you a better idea of the program. If I could do it, so can you! I wish you all the best! Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or Instagram, Iโ€™m always ready to answer any questions regarding the training and/or the program.

Godspeed. โœจ

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