It is easy to feel stupid if you are trying to learn how to use github and you are not a software developer. Many of the github tutorials are aimed at people who are software developers and who have used similar tools. What can seem obvious to them can seem bafflingly to you when you are trying to understand the workings of github. (e.g., if you are not used to source control, then getting your mind around what state your file can be in at any given time in the process can be confusing.)
Despite that, if you are committed to learn how to use Github and git (the basis for Github), I recommend you take the next four steps:
- Start with this two part tutorial: GitHub For Beginners: Don’t Get Scared, Get Started – ReadWrite (part 1) and GitHub For Beginners: Commit, Push And Go – ReadWrite. I really liked this series. It assumes that you aren’t a software developer and that you may have tried using github and gave up. I highly recommend you take an hour and walk through both parts of this tutorial. When you are done, you will have feel that you have a good start on being able to use git.
- If you still feel like you want some more practice and you want to try some new things with git in a safe environment, try this interactive tutorial: Code School – Try Git. It will also teach you some additional things that you will find useful that you didn’t learn in step 1.
- Now that you are more comfortable with git and github, this Git Reference site walks you some of the same material, but goes into detail and explains it more. By the time you go through this, you should be alot more confident about what you are doing with git and github.
- Lastly, I like this site: git – the simple guide – no deep s–t! (It’s where the graphic at the top of this post comes from). It’s a great summary of the things that you’ve learned, and it has an excellent cheat sheet on the top left of the page that you will want to keep handy.
Some additional thoughts: your use of git and github can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. You could have a simple repo on github with one or more files that only you use. Later, you could start cloning other people’s repos, making changes, and making them into your own repo. From there you could get into working with teams of people, branching and merging your files as you go. During that time, you are learning as you go. Don’t be afraid to a) make backups and then b) make mistakes. Eventually you will gain mastery of it and be able to use it to your full advantage. Better still, the material you share can be used by others, and that’s a great thing.