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Using GitHub

These are the requirements to join our GitHub organization. None are optional, and everyone on staff must have a GitHub account.

Creating and customizing an account

If you haven't created a GitHub account yet, do so with your government email, which will assist with records retention.

If you already have a GitHub account, simply add your goverment email to your existing account. Do not create a new account. You can also set up custom email routing through the Notifications Center. Make sure your commits are associated with your government email address.

Note that associating commits with an email address is different from setting notifications to go to one or another email address. You also have to change the official commit email address attached to each repo.

If you’re using your work computer for personal projects on GitHub and want your personal email tied to those commits, you can set your GSA email as part of the global .gitconfig, then override on a repository level with your personal email. If you have both emails in your GitHub settings, though, they will both be tied to your GitHub account.

Make sure you have notifications turned on and make sure your notifications are set up they way you'd like them.

Setting up an account profile

Activate 2-factor Authentication

Everyone is required to use 2-factor authentication (2FA) for their GitHub access. While you're at it, it's a very, very good idea to do this for your email account and elsewhere. GitHub access will not be provided if 2FA is turned off. Also be sure to save your recovery codes in case you lose access to 2FA.

Add your information to your account

This makes it easier for your team to know who you are, but most of all, it helps a lot with autocomplete!

A complete public profile includes:

  • Name: Your first or first and last name.
  • Company: Your government agency.
  • Location: Your primary work location (City, State).
  • Email: A valid email address.

Add a profile avatar

This is a courtesy that makes team projects all the more social and fun. It only takes a second but your teammates will really appreciate it. We don't require that it be an actual headshot, but please make it a unique avatar.

It only takes a moment to go to your settings page and upload a picture.

Make your membership public

Go to the organization's team page and click Make Public.


We welcome people from outside our organization as collaborators! Our Federal partners, their current contractors, and staff of other government entities (state, county, city), are welcome to join as long as they comply with the standards here. Anyone else needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis with the DevOps team.


Teams can give you administrative, write, or read permissions. Even if you have write access into a repository, we strongly encourage the submission of pull requests for improvements or fixes.

Contractors or external government collaborators should only be added to teams with scoped write permissions to the respositories they're working on. They should never have administrative level rights. In order to separate out these permissions, create a team in the format of projectname-admins for government staff if necessary.

Additional resources


Controls necessary for Federal use of GitHub






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