GitHub’s Biggest Contributors: Big Tech, Entrepreneurs

Banks such as Goldman SachsJPMorgan and Morgan Stanley have all shared code on GitHub, the massive repository of open-source code. Goldman Sachs is even releasing some of its all-important SecDB code to it.

But this doesn’t mean banks are big believers in GitHub as a platform. Banks’ technology teams aren’t among GitHub’s biggest contributors. Instead, GitHub’s top 100 users are mostly technology entrepreneurs or employees of big tech firms; those entities are very considerate about contributing code back to the open-source community.

GitHub doesn’t release its own list of top contributors, but you can see them all (via a project on GitHubhere at ‘commits.’commit is defined as a public contribution to a GitHub that involves a revision to a file. Measured this way, the biggest GitHub user in the world is Ilya Kanto, a Russian Java trainer who has never worked for a large corporation, let alone a large investment bank.

This isn’t to say there aren’t people working at major corporations on the list. Multiple Google and Facebook employees turn up in the top 100, for example, including Justin Spahr-Summers, a senior programmer at Facebook in London who previously worked for GitHub itself. But banking technologists just aren’t there, in either a private or professional capacity.

Of course, there’s a reason for this. Wes McKinney, the creator of the popular Pandas data analysis library and former Two Sigma developer, identifies why on his blog. People who are spending “their time supporting their families through paid work rather than spending extracurricular time doing unpaid open source work” don’t feature on GitHUB’s leaderboard, McKinney added. “Having a respectable GitHub pedigree is only one way to get a feel for someone’s value as an engineer.”

This is significant, because McKinney (who is now a director at Ursa Labs, an innovation lab for open-source data science tools) is the closest thing the finance industry has had to a power user. McKinney himself ranks 112th on the commits list; there’s nobody from finance above him.

If you’re spending every spare moment on GitHub in the hope that banks will be impressed by your contribution and hire you for either a full-time or contracting gig, this might be something to bear in mind. While banking technologists certainly use GitHub both at work and in their personal projects (time permitting), they’re not all over it in the same way technologists in other industries are. 

This article originally appeared in eFinancialCareers.