Getting Started with Git

How I came to understand one of the most nebulous and powerful tools for development

When I first start with git I was completely confused. I was just beginning my career of Software Development and going to to a coding bootcamp called Prime Digital Academy. We were supposed to submit our starting code for review.

The code we wrote was pretty basic: simple JavaScript functions that did everyday arithmetic. While we were doing these exercises we were also taking Code School’s class on Git. And, with all due respect to Code School, it made absolutely no sense. I walked away with four things:

1. Type `git init` to start git.
2. Type `git add .` to do something called “staging”, whatever that was.
3. Type `git commit -m “my message here”` to write a message about what you just did.
4. Follow the instructions on GitHub to work the magic.



And then you hear things like, “Don’t do ______ in git or you ruin everything.” So, as a beginner, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve been given the key to the atom bomb and told not to touch it. Every single time you type a git command your heart starts pumping, the adrenaline makes its entry, and your fight or flight kicks in. Pushing to GitHub became an anxiety-inducing experience.

So, git, became this nebulous thing that did magic and allowed for me to save my files and contribute to other’s work, but if you made one mistake, good luck! You broke the internet.

So, what we bootcampers came to call “Post-Prime,” I spent a good amount of time learning what git was and how to use it. My ignorance was killing me and I knew that it could lead to catastrophe. I needed to learn.


Coding is too much fun for those who like to code. If your like me, reading documentation is boring. I’d rather take a brick in the head then read through your manifesto on how to use your software! But, let’s be honest, until you do that, you’re not going to know what you’re doing. You’re just going to key-bash and home this highly-powerful software/library works it’s magic. Not only will you spend unnecessary hours trying to get it to work the way you think you should, you’ll most likely add bulk to your code that is unnecessary.

So, where would I send someone who’s interested in using git? The documentation. You’re welcome.

A beginner might protest and say that the documentation is too dense, too incomprehensible, and not approachable enough. I beg to differ. With the great power that comes with git, they better document it well! Not only will you walk away with an understanding of how to wield git to it’s greatest potential, you’ll come away with an understanding of Version Control in general.

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