If you are not familiar with GitHub, this session should help you understand how the Backdrop community uses GitHub. We'll cover the different places where valuable information can be found and how and where to read and/or post issues.
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This is probably a big enough topic on it's own, but perhaps mention Pantheon as well? It looks like a quick way to try Backdrop without getting into hosting environments, installation etc.?
If you are updating a live, existing site on shared hosting, the complexities of the Dev->Test->Live model seem excessive. But having used it, I can see it has a lot of benefits.