What is GitHub

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What is GitHub and how do Software Engineers use it?

By Academy Xi

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What is GitHub

GitHub is a buzzword in the tech space – it’s the name on every coder’s lips. Maybe you’re wondering ‘What even is GitHub and how do developers use it?’. The short answer – in a multitude of ways. Let’s explore them……

What is GitHub and how do developers use it?

If you enter the searchterm “what is GitHub?” on Google, you’ll be served over 615 million responses. Amongst other things, you’ll be told GitHub is a cloud storage site, a version control system, a social networking site for programmers, and a code-sharing site. 

Does GitHub actually do all these things? It certainly does, and so much more. 

Broadly speaking, GitHub is a cloud-based service designed to help developers store, manage and share code while working on development projects. Crucially, GitHub also helps team members collaborate effectively by tracking and controlling changes to their code, known in the industry as ‘version control’. 

What is Git?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s cover the basics. Git was first developed in 2005 by tech figurehead Linus Torvalds, who had already famously created the Linux operating system kernel. 

In a nutshell, Git is a DevOps tool used for source code management that helps to efficiently handle coding and development projects of all shapes and sizes. Git is used to track changes in source code, enabling multiple developers to work together on nonlinear projects without any confusion or conflict. As such, Git is the world’s most popular free and open-source version control system 

So, what’s the difference between Git and GitHub? Good question! Git is used to manage multiple versions of source code edits, which are transferred to files in a Git repository. GitHub serves as a location for all repositories, where all files are uploaded and stored. 

How do version control systems help developers?

Imagine you’re part of a team of developers working on a web application with multiple features. Your app may have a large, complex code base, involving several projects and developers working on different parts of the software.

This type of scenario is quite common and can easily lead to problems:

😬Imagine someone is working on a new feature and something they change breaks the app. How can you “back up” to the most recent working version of the code?

😬Or, there could be some part of the application that overlaps with the work being done by other developers. How can you ensure there are no inconsistencies or conflicts in the code?

The term Version Control System (VCS) describes a type of software that is designed specifically to help manage the potential pitfalls described above. 

Version control keeps a complete history of the changes to the code, which makes it easy to revert to a working state. This gives you the freedom to experiment, throw away bad ideas, and instantly get back to your last-known “good” state if anything breaks (something always breaks, right?!).

There are a number of benefits that come with using a VCS to manage your work:

✔️Automatically creating a backup of your work

✔️Providing an easy way to undo mistakes and restore a previous version of your work

✔️Documenting changes with a log that clearly describes what’s been changed and why

✔️Keeping file names and hierarchies consistent and organised

✔️Breaking off from the source code to work in multiple “sandboxes” (called branches in Git), allowing developers to experiment without impacting other branches

✔️Merging branch code back into the source, once the developer gets his or her part of the code working properly

✔️Collaborating with others without disturbing each other’s work

The world’s most popular VCS software is Git. As you’ve probably guessed, GitHub is the platform that hosts the Git VCS. 

GitHub’s other features and uses

Although GitHub was primarily developed for its version control capabilities, its functionality has evolved with time. A host of handy new features have been added over the years, enabling programmers to use GitHub for a range of vital day-to-day tasks, including:

  • Improved project management

The ‘GitHub Issues’ feature allows you to manage a development project from end-to-end. You can use it to define tasks, track their progress, and communicate with coworkers. This typically involves a description of the coding task, with additional comments, assignees, labels and milestones.

  • Easy file management

GitHub makes managing your files easy-as-pie. When you edit or save a file, Git effectively takes a series of snapshots of it in its various states. Everything that’s happened to your file along the way is captured, meaning you can access it in any state it’s been in. Impressive, huh?! 

  • Increased safety with additional packages

Although GitHub is cloud-based, it incorporates security features that help keep your code and sensitive data secure across the repositories. Many of these features are available as standard with all GitHub plans, but for those projects that demand even tighter levels of security, additional protection is available with GitHub’s Advanced Security packages.

  • Effective team management

GitHub’s project boards can be used to organise and manage a team, enabling you to pull requests, add notes, allocate tasks to team members and assign due dates. You’re also able to arrange cards into columns that enable your entire team to visualise and track workflows and easily understand how a project is progressing as a whole.

  • Simple code hosting

Once you’ve set up your GitHub account, all your code can be placed in a Git repository. You’ll have options on where you choose to host your code, but the simplest way is to do it directly via GitHub. This gives you the convenience of all your code and documentation being hosted in a single location. Beautifully simple!

  • Social Networking

In its essence, GitHub is all about developers working together to complete team projects. This dynamic naturally extends to social networking. Tech professionals all over the world use GitHub to share code and practical advice, showcase their skills, and pitch project ideas. As well as connecting like-minded professionals, this makes GitHub a perfect place to host a portfolio. It’s great for job networking too! 

  • Improved code writing

GitHub doesn’t just facilitate coding projects, it actually has the potential to improve your code writing. You can plug GitHub Copilot directly into your editor and it will convert natural language prompts into coding suggestions across dozens of languages. Trained by billions of lines of code, Copilot’s suggestions are almost always spot-on and will take your coding to the next level.

Want to become a Software Engineer?

At Academy Xi, we offer a range of Software Engineering courses that are designed and delivered by experienced industry professionals. Our hands-on, practical training will take you from beginner to job-ready in a matter of weeks.

You’ll complete all your projects in GitHub and walk away with a GitHub portfolio showcasing your new coding skills to prospective employers. 

Best of all, our Transform courses come with access to a Career Support Program that helps 97% of graduates land their dream role.

To discuss your transferable skills and course options, speak to a friendly course advisor today and take the first steps toward an exciting new career in tech.

what is data mining, data mining benefits

Academy Xi Blog

What is data mining, types of data mining techniques

By Academy Xi

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what is data mining, data mining benefits

Discover the power of big data and how it can benefit every industry from better decision making to improved customer outcomes.

What is data mining?

The process of discovering patterns and relationships in large datasets using a range of computational and statistical techniques is known as data mining. It involves analysing data from multiple sources including databases, websites and social media platforms to identify insights that can be used to make better decisions, predict future trends and discover correlations. It’s increasingly used across a range of industries, most commonly in marketing, finance, healthcare and customer relationship management.

History of data mining

Data mining was sparked back in 1763 by Bayes’ Theorem, with many discoveries from this point onward that laid the foundation for our current definition and understanding of what data mining is in 2023, including a term coined in the 1980’s by data scientist Greogory Piatetsky-Shapiro, ‘Knowledge Discovery in Databases’, which described the process of extracting meaningful information from large datasets.

 With the rapid increase of computer technology throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s, data sets have grown exponentially in quantity and size, while data mining has also become more popular, with companies collecting and analysing large quantities of information to harness the power of big data.

How data mining works

Data mining involves collecting and preprocessing, exploring and modelling the data, evaluating the model, and deploying it in a real-world application. Let’s explore the basic steps involved:

Data collection

The first step in data mining is to collect and gather data from various sources. The data can be in a structured or unstructured format, with sources including databases, web pages, social media platforms, or sensors. 

Data pre-processing

Once the data is collected, it needs to be cleaned, transformed, and prepared for analysis. This involves removing missing values, handling outliers, and normalising or standardising the data.

Data exploration

Visualising and exploring the data helps to gain a better understanding of its characteristics and patterns. Techniques such as scatter plots, histograms, and heat maps can be used to identify patterns and relationships.

Data modelling

After exploring the data, the next step is to build a model that can identify patterns and make predictions. There are several machine learning algorithms that can be used for this step, such as decision trees, neural networks, and support vector machines.

Model evaluation

Once the model is built, it needs to be evaluated to ensure its accuracy and effectiveness. This can be done by testing the model on a separate dataset and comparing the predicted results to the actual outcomes.


The final step is to deploy the model in a real-world application or system. This can involve integrating the model with existing software or creating a new system that can use the insights generated from the data.

Differences between data mining and machine learning

While data mining and machine learning are certainly related fields, they also have some fundamental differences.

 Data mining is sometimes used as a broader term to include various techniques such as clustering, regression and association rule mining, whereas machine learning is a specific subset of data mining that focuses on building predictive models using algorithms.

 Ultimately, data mining is about discovering new insights from information, whereas machine learning is a process of building predictive models based on data.  

Benefits of data mining

Data mining offers several benefits to organisations and businesses, including:

Improved decision making

One of the most discussed and popular benefits of data mining is how the patterns and trends identified can inform better business outcomes, including increased sales.

Increased efficiency

Identifying areas of inefficiency or waste enables companies to optimise their operations. This can result in cost savings and improved productivity.

Enhanced customer insights

By analysing customer data, businesses can gain insights into customer behaviour and preferences. This can help them develop more targeted marketing strategies, improve customer service, and ultimately increase customer satisfaction.

Fraud detection

Data mining can be used to identify fraudulent activities and prevent financial losses. For example, credit card companies use data mining to detect fraudulent transactions and prevent credit card fraud.

 Competitive advantage

By leveraging data mining techniques, businesses can gain a competitive advantage by identifying opportunities that their competitors may have missed.

Personalised recommendations

Based on customer preferences and behaviour, businesses can provide personalised recommendations, potentially leading to increased engagement and loyalty.

Types of data mining techniques

There are several approaches that can be taken, with the choice depending on the specific task, the type of data and the desired outcomes. Here is some further detail on common techniques:

Predictive analysis

Using historical data, predictions are made about future events or trends. It can be used for various purposes, such as forecasting sales, predicting customer behaviour, or identifying potential risks.

Decision trees

A type of data mining algorithm that can be used for classification and prediction. They use a tree-like structure to represent decisions and their possible consequences.


Categorising data into predefined classes or categories is known as classification. It is often used for tasks such as spam filtering, fraud detection, or image recognition.


Grouping similar data points together based on their characteristics or features is another approach known as clustering. It is often used for segmentation, customer profiling, or anomaly detection.

Association rules

This technique involves discovering relationships or patterns between variables in a dataset. It is often used for tasks such as market basket analysis, where the goal is to identify which products are frequently purchased together.

Limitations of data mining

Potential downsides of data mining include the fact that training is required to effectively use the software and tools, which can be a complex process. If the data is false or biassed, the insights won’t accurately reflect reality and could potentially negatively impact any subsequent decision making.

On the security front, there is the potential for mined data to be misused or stolen, leading to bad consequences for businesses and consumers.

How to get into User Interface Design

Academy Xi UX UI Design courses give you all the practical skills needed to break into the industry. You’ll learn to place the user’s needs at the centre of the design process, so you can create smooth and functional products that leave a lasting impression.

Whether you’re looking to upskill and test the waters of the industry, or launch a completely new career as a UX Designer, we’ve got the perfect course for you:

  • UX UI Design: Elevate (Self-Paced) – For upskillers looking to boost their career prospects with in-demand creative capabilities, whilst enjoying the flexibility of self-paced learning.
  • UX UI Design: Transform – For career changers, looking to transform their profession with a course offering access to a Career Support Program that helps 97% of graduates land their dream role. 

Not sure which is the best course for you? Chat to one of our course advisors and we’ll help you break into one of Australia’s most creative industries.

Web Designer demand and salaries in Australia

Academy Xi Blog

Market Update: Web Designer demand and salaries in Australia, 2023

By Academy Xi

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Web Designer demand and salaries in Australia

Are you eyeing up a career in Web Design? If so, it’s handy to know the latest stats related to Web Designer demand and salaries. To make life easier, we’ve rounded up all that info and much more in our latest Market Update.

What is Web Design?

Web Design refers to the process of planning the appearance, layout, and, in some cases, content of a website. In a nutshell, it’s all about aesthetics and functionality – designing websites that are easy on the eye and easy to use.  

Unlike Web Development which concentrates on the technical build of a website, Web Design focuses on User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) rather than software development. 

Web Design used to predominantly deal with websites only for desktop browsers. However, since the mid-2010s, design for sites that are mobile and tablet compatible has become an increasingly important part of the industry.

What do Web Designers do?

There’s more to Web Design than you might think. Here are some of the core responsibilities that go into just about every Web Design project:

  • Aesthetics: This relates to strategically choosing all visual elements, including colours, fonts and images. These choices need to add up to a website that is appealing to look at and consistent with the personality a brand wishes to project. 
  • Layout: This refers to how information is structured and categorised within a website. It will be uncluttered, logical and easy to take in, which is easier said than done if you’re briefed with including lots of information on each page!
  • Navigation; At this stage, you’ll be planning how users move through your website and carry out certain tasks and actions. The aim is to make the flow smooth and intuitive – the last thing you want are users lost in the maze of a website! 
  • UX: Here, you’ll be focused on optimising the experience people have when they visit your website. As well as everything mentioned above, this might include simplifying the design, subtracting any extraneous information, or simply removing any points of potential frustration or confusion. 

Which industries hire Web Designers?

With most businesses and organisations now dependent on having high-functioning websites, the demand for the services of Web Designers is sky-high in most industries, with Indeed currently advertising 604 roles nationally. Some of the industries that most frequently hire Web Designers include:  

  • Tech – 63.9%
  • Information Media & Telecommunications – 5.7%
  • Education & Training – 4.1%
  • Retail – 3.9%
  • Other industries – 16.8%

Source: Australian Government Labour Market Insights

How much do Web Designers earn in Australia?

The average annual salary for a Web Designer in Australia is $91,019 (which equates to $46.68 per hour), The average junior Web Designer pay comes in at $72,600, while senior salaries hit $123,846 and up. However, keep in mind that earning capacity varies depending on the organisation and the specific experience of the designer.

Can you freelance as a Web Designer?

Not stoked by the prospect of a permanent contract? Fear not – it’s entirely possible to be a freelance or consultant Web Designer. However, it’s recommended that you take in-house positions early in your career for a few key reasons: 

  • Firstly, gaining a range of industry experiences will not only deepen your skills, but also make you more attractive to prospective clients.
  • Secondly, working in a full-time Web Development role will expand your professional network, which can be vital in securing freelance contracts.

How much do freelance Web Designers earn?

The rates you charge as a freelance Web Designer will likely reflect your level of skill and experience. If you specialise in a particular area of Web Design, that skill could be of extra importance for a particular project and enable you to charge more. 

If you’re unsure what rate to set clients for your services, it’s useful to take a look at what other freelance Web Designers are charging and fix your prices accordingly.

What skills are needed in Web Design?

There are a wide range of skills needed to flourish as a Web Designer. To get you started, here are the top 3 hard and soft skills that will help you climb the industry ladder. 

Hard skills:

  • UX UI – It won’t be you, your seniors, or your clients who decide if your design is a success. Ultimately, it will come down to what your users think. Working as a Web Designer without a theoretical understanding of UX UI Design, as well as the practical skills needed to apply it, is a bit like working as a Taxi driver without a car.  
  • HTML – Though the role isn’t heavily reliant on coding skills, a Web Designer must be proficient with HyperText Markup Language, which is needed to designate page structure. You’ll regularly need to work with headlines, footers, paragraphs and graphics. Therefore, having HTML skills will go a long way in helping you complete your projects.
  • CSS – Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) give browsers instructions on how to style or format HTML. CSS enhances the look and feel of the website, helping you adjust colours, change fonts and alter the background of your pages. From a standpoint of creativity, it might be your most important skill. 

Soft skills:

  • Problem solving – Designing a website is always a complicated process. You might have mountains of content that needs to be consolidated and organised, or perhaps the client has ambitious ideas and large demands. Invariably, you’ll need to come up with creative solutions to problems that crop up throughout your projects.  
  • Collaboration – Web Designers hardly ever work in isolation. You’ll need to be able to effectively collaborate with everyone from Front-End Web Developers and Software Engineers to Project Managers and Digital Marketers. Make sure you’re organised, reliable, and a good communicator – your team will be grateful!   
  • Adaptability – No website build will ever go exactly according to plan. New features might be added, the budget or timeline might be adjusted, or the client might alter the brief. In order to thrive in this industry, it’s vital that you’re able to roll with the changes and respond positively to any shifts in direction.

How to start a career in Web Design

At Academy Xi, we offer flexible training options in UX UI Design that will suit your lifestyle and career ambitions, giving you the perfect foundation for your future in Web Design. 

Whether you’re looking to upskill or entirely transform your career, we have industry-approved training offering you the practical skills and experience needed to get a headstart.

Career change? Take a look at our Transform options. 

UX UI Design: Transform Upskilling? Our Elevate courses are for you.

If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor and take the first steps in your Web Design journey.

web accessibility

Academy Xi Blog

A Designer’s guide to web accessibility

By Academy Xi

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web accessibility

Ensure everyone can engage with your website by keeping the needs of all users front of mind when developing, designing and crafting content.

What is web accessibility?

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive design and development of websites, applications and digital content that can be accessed and used by people with health conditions or impairments. It aims to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability, can perceive, navigate and engage with content online effectively and independently.

Why web accessibility is vital

Two of the main reasons why web accessibility is crucial is the social importance and legal requirements. By making websites and digital content accessible, particularly to anyone who may rely on assistive technology to navigate online platforms, we can promote equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion and enhance the overall user experience for everyone. 

Legally, many countries have regulations and laws that require digital content to meet accessibility frameworks. Non-compliance can result in fines, make content inaccessible and damage a company’s reputation.

Key web accessibility statistics

Considering that an estimated 1.3 billion people globally experience significant disability, it makes complete sense that websites and digital content should be developed and designed with accessibility in mind.

 Here are three eye opening website accessibility statistics from recent research:

  • As of 2022, only 3% of the internet is accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Evaluation on the top 1 million website homepages revealed that close to 51 million distinct accessibility errors were detected – that’s an average of 50.8 errors per homepage.
  • Digital products that meet the full Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) level 2 compliance are likely to perform 50% better than their competitors by 2023. 

How to check your site’s web accessibility 

There are several ways to check your site accessibility. Here are some of the most common methods:

  • Automated testing

There are many web accessibility testing tools that can automatically scan your site and highlight any accessibility issues. Popular options include WAVE, Axe, and Web Accessibility Checker (WAC).

  • Manual testing

While automated tools are helpful, it’s also important to manually review your site to 

identify any issues that might have been missed. Review the site with keyboard only navigation, check colour contrast, verify alternative text for images and diagrams and test with assistive tools such as screen readers.

  • User testing

Having people with disabilities test your site and provide feedback on any barriers they encounter is an effective way to test accessibility. This can be done remotely or in-person and provide valuable insights.

  • Third-party audit

An accessibility expert can conduct a detailed assessment and provide a report outlining any issues found and recommendations on how to resolve them.

How to design an accessible website

There are many factors to take into consideration when developing a website with accessibility in mind. We’ve outlined some of the key priorities to focus on during the planning and design process:

  • Use headings correctly

Organise the structure of your content for screen readers and users with cognitive disabilities. Appropriate heading levels and avoiding skipping levels is important.

  • Accessible CMS

Choose a content management system (CMS) that supports accessibility standards, such as WCAG 2.0 or 2.1 to ensure your site is accessible from the ground up.

  • Descriptive titles

Ensure your titles are informative for links to help users understand the content they will be accessing. Avoid generic phrases such as ‘click here’.

  • Include alternative text

Also known as ‘alt text’, make sure you provide clear and descriptive text for images so users with visual impairments can understand the content. 

  • Colour selection

Text and background colours need to have enough contrast to be readable. Avoid 

relying on colour alone to convey any information or meaning. 

  • Accessible forms

When designing forms, be sure they’re easy to navigate, with clear instructions and labels. Clear error messages and suggestions for corrections are also important. 

  • Use tables for data

Tables are great for presenting data, not for layout or design purposes. Ensure they are properly structured with headings and captions. 

  • Accessible dynamic content

Provide alternative options for users who cannot access dynamic content, such as transcripts, text descriptions or alternative media formats. 

  • Allow keyboard navigation

Test your site with a keyboard only navigation to ensure it’s fully accessible.

  • Add captions and transcripts

If you have any audio or video content, make it accessible to users who are deaf or hard of hearing. Accurate captions that are synchronised with the content are important.

How to get into User Interface Design

Academy Xi UX UI Design courses give you all the practical skills needed to break into the industry. You’ll learn to place the user’s needs at the centre of the design process, so you can create smooth and functional products that leave a lasting impression.

Whether you’re looking to upskill and test the waters of the industry, or launch a completely new career as a UX Designer, we’ve got the perfect course for you:

  • UX UI Design: Elevate (Self-Paced) – For upskillers looking to boost their career prospects with in-demand creative capabilities, whilst enjoying the flexibility of self-paced learning.
  • UX UI Design: Transform – For career changers, looking to transform their profession with a course offering access to a Career Support Program that helps 97% of graduates land their dream role. 

Not sure which is the best course for you? Chat to one of our course advisors and we’ll help you break into one of Australia’s most creative industries.

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