The future of software lies in a social network for developers, GitHub, which has more than 40 million users and a quarter of whom joined this network by 2019. It’s a platform that was bought by Microsoft a year ago for more than $7.5 billion. Although the general public does not understand how this altruistic working model works, in which everything from multinationals to personal developers participate by creating programming code, which can be taken advantage of by any user or even evolve thanks to the users themselves.

GitHub is an open software development platform that works as a public repository. It allows you to create and share with your community codes from your own professional projects and also gives the possibility to experts, either professionals or amateurs, to contribute to the codes that are already in the platform, making changes in them, validating them, improving the existing ones or introducing new modules. There are big companies, like Facebook or Netflix, that make developments in GitHub and anyone can openly see how their projects evolve and, even if most of them don’t dare, make contributions. This collaborative way of working favors transparency. Although companies continue to develop software projects privately, collaborative development on platforms like GitHub is booming.

The software showcase

For example, one of the largest projects in terms of contributions and number of developers is Tensorflow, an open source library for machine learning powered by Google, which has been used by more than 10,000 users worldwide. GitHub also provides curriculum visibility. Some people use this platform as a personal repository, because by being visible to other experts in this field, you can make contact to collaborate or even hire someone, see what programming language they are experts in and where their specializations are headed. It can also be a good platform for recruiting developers.

In GitHub there is room for everything from well-established software solutions to particular languages, such as JavaScript, or very specific developments with specific functionalities. This is code that is created and shared so that other users can access it and decide whether to collaborate in its evolution. Most of its developers are men between 23 and 32 years old and come from the United States and Europe.

Organization of the collaborative work

Projects in GitHub are not organized with a vertical structure as in a company. The hierarchy is not determined by the interactions between the developers, but by the composition of the project: one person may have decided to work on one module, and another one on a different one of the same initiative. As with online shopping sites, the platform allows projects to be rated with stars, so that the most popular ones become more visible, regardless of their size or age.

There is a subdivision of tasks: not everyone is working on all parts of the project. Rather, there are subdivisions of developers focused on different parts. There may also be a hierarchy in which the project drivers devote their efforts to most issues and occasionally someone from the outside makes an occasional contribution. This does not mean that the organization of work is anarchic, but rather that the projects have an internal structure in subgroups, which have a nested structure.

Size of the groups

On the size of the working groups, in principle, there is virtually no limitation to their growth, but there is a kind of unmarked cap on the size of the groups and on how the partners in the project are distributed, regardless of the size of the whole. There is a limit to the number of feasible relationships between people that have to do with our social capacity.

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