Is GitHub Copilot worth it?

So, GitHub’s Copilot, the AI-coding companion, is out now. At just $10/month ($100/year discounted), is it worth it? I mean, that’s less than some streaming service subscriptions right now, and this can actually help you make money, right?

Well, the answer is “sorta”.

When I was testing it on my own projects back when it was in beta it was interesting, certainly. It did save me quite a bit of time when coding the latest GGN theme and features. It practically coded a few templates on it’s own, interpreting what I was doing fairly well and even matching my preferred variable naming structure most of the time.

What it did end up doing, though, is making me miss stuff because it was popping in suggestions for whole blocks before I could fully think out what I wanted to do.

I had to come back and refactor portions because I realized that, while novel and certainly useable code was generated, it also missed core concepts I was looking to implement.

So, basically, it’s great if you don’t plan on innovating too much. If you’re looking to reduce hunting down common code snippets from your own library, it can even show you something maybe a little better than what you’ve done previously. That’s fantastic.

Is it worth $10 a month?

Maybe. If you’re writing a lot of repeatable code, sure. I used it while developing WP themes, plus some React stuff with Gatsby. If you’re really trying to do something new, cool and unique, though, I’d suggest you skip it so it doesn’t throw you off your game when it’s suggestions look right, but end up driving you down the wrong path.

Oh, and if you’re just getting started?

I’d suggest skipping it.

While it can help guide you down the right path, you need to understand what you’re writing and why: GitHub’s Copilot doesn’t teach you the meaning of the code. It just gives you the answer, and that’s not good for most people who are just getting started.