Just completed your Bootcamp, CS Degree or Online Courses? Well, you need a job... So what’s next? A fancy website portfolio and resume right?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your website portfolio is not important and neither is your resume, especially if you’re just starting out.
So instead of spending your time poorly, rather do these things.
The Main Reason Your Portfolio is Not a Priority
Before we talk about what you need to do instead, I think you need to understand why spending so much time building a website portfolio is not a priority.
Your education does not end!
When we setup our portfolios and resume’s, we almost set it up with the mindset like: “Yes! I’m done learning, time to show the world what I can do”.
But that’s not a great mindset to carry with you. Instead, you should be looking at how you can constantly learn and improve on the skills that you’ve gained from your Bootcamp or CS degree, and document everything along the way.
Recruiters aren’t looking at how fancy your resume or website is, what they care about is “can you do the job?” and “are you taking initiative to improve”, because development, especially in real world, is a game of constantly solving problems and becoming better.
Work On Projects
One of the best ways to learn and validate skills is to apply them. Once you’ve completed a course or tutorial you should be applying your skills you gained by creating new projects.
Now you don’t want to create a cupcake program! Your project should go out to solve tangible problem.
The best possible outcome here is to solve a real life problem. Like for example, if you want to become a web designer, you might want to go to a local business and build a website for them for free in exchange for experience and a reference.
By working on projects, you can make this the highlight of your portfolio. But you also work on the most important ability any developer can have: The ability to solve real world problems by applying the knowledge that they have.
Maintain a Blog
Blogging is one of the most beneficial things you can do as a developer. It has so many benefits that it’s actually ridiculous.
Some benefits include being able to document your journey, showcase your work and build an audience. But in addition to that, you also train your ability to think effectively.
When we write, we think. And the ability to think and articulate your thoughts effectively is the most important soft skill when being a developer that no body ever really talks about. And like with most things in life, this is a skill and a skill that can be improved on.
So you can start very easily by creating an account on sites like Dev.to and Hashnode and start writing about your journey, thoughts, projects, ideas etc.
Be Active on GitHub
You probably know GitHub as a “cloud solution for version control”. But behind that, lives the biggest network comprising of various types of networks of developers.
Millions of developers work on hundreds of thousands of projects that can be a simple as their todo app to helping with the maintenance of React or even the next startup. And you can and should be apart of this.
For a start improve your profile by adding an attractive Read.me and profile picture.
Then anytime you work on a project always upload your code on GitHub. Bonus points if you create a new commit for every feature you add into your project. You also want to create separate Read.me files for your projects where you details what the project is, steps to run it, where you can find a live version etc.
Here’s a great template to get started!
Contributing to open source is another great way to get involved in the community. There are tons of open source projects out there that you can work with.
Build a Network
No.. I’m talking about your LinkedIn network.
While it may be advantageous to have a bunch of recruiters added on LinkedIn, its even better to have a personal network made up of other software developers.
This could be aspiring software developers like yourself, established developers that can act as mentors or someone who’s just one step ahead of you. Like minded individuals who you can assist or of who can assist you, is great to have.
A great place to start is on Twitter. Look up accounts that are in the top of the space you’re interested in, for example React Development, and start interacting in their communities. Reply to tweets, post open ended questions and tweet out your content.
You can also do this on the blogging platforms that I mentioned. Take some time to read through posts that other developers have made and react to their posts, but always in a genuine way.
Attending real life meetups is also a great way to get in touch with real people in your current location.
The best advice I can give, immaterial of whether this is IRL or over the web, always be honest and avoid being unnecessarily disagreeable and disingenuous in any way. Also, leave you ego in the sink when you spit your toothpaste.
While I’m not saying that your portfolio and resume is useless, when starting out it’s not that big of a priority. Focusing on improving yourself and documenting your journey is a great way to gain credibility and exposure so that you can land the job of your dreams.
As always thank you for reading, if you found this post useful, please follow me on Twitter for more Angular and development tips and check me out on GitHub.
Thanks for reading and have a great day! 😄
Top comments (2)
Good article on how to demonstrate competency in other ways. I don’t disagree with the premise on priority for a resume and portfolio, but a portfolio can be a good exercise to demonstrate skills.
A showcase doesn’t exactly replicate application features or processes, but it can show an understanding of the presentation layer, controllers, and writing clean code if you allow a potential employer to review the code
I can agree with on that. I mainly wrote this article to highlight the biggest mistake I've made and that is to lean on your portfolio and resume without really putting yourself out there. But a good portfolio does go a long way.