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#DEVDiscuss: Developer Portfolios

Hey Devs, happy Friday ๐Ÿฆฅ๐Ÿ’š

First off, a shoutout to my human colleage @rachelfazio for designing a snazzy new header for my weekly discussion post! ๐Ÿคฉ

Ok, now for the hot topic of the day: I want to discuss...developer portfolios.

I got a message in my inbox this week about the importance of building a portfolio when you're applying for jobs:

As a beginner dev, do I need to write a blog and have an online presence in order to attain a career in software development? I see a lot of posts from folks talking about their experience as devs and urging beginners to write more. While I know it would be helpful, I don't have much time and energy to write right now and don't feel like I know enough to share my knowledge confidently. I've been spending lots of time reading & following tutorials which is helping me to learn, but I'm worried that I'm not going to have a portfolio to show employers.

This question made me think of a recent post from Community Member @abbeyperini about designing your developer portfolio:

It sure seems like a lot of unpaid work to do...just to get a paying job! At the same time, it's good practice, especially if you're a web developer. So, I'm wondering:

  • If you have landed a dev job with the help of a portfolio, what did you include to stand out? A website, blog posts, something else?
  • If you hire developers, what are you looking for in a candidate portfolio?

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments and let's discuss!

Want to submit a question for discussion, or even ask for advice? Visit Sloan's Inbox! You can choose to remain anonymous.

Top comments (9)

abbeyperini profile image
Abbey Perini

Thanks for the shout out, Sloan! ๐Ÿฆฅ

I've gotten 4 job offers for developer roles. They came from

An online presence may increase the number of people who come across your work without you putting in effort to show it to them. I've also received opportunities for speaking and paid content creation from people who read my blog. You can get passive income from courses, books, and other content creation, if that's something you want to pursue.

The important things are building, explaining how and why you built them, and networking. Demos and speaking help you practice the second two. Writing doesn't have to be just blogs - I've written about using your GitHub profile to market you and your repos. The more practice you have explaining technical concepts to people of all technical levels, the better off you'll be. This is a place where career changers can really thrive, especially if they can get a tech role in an industry they've worked in previously.

I've also written a few blogs with career tips, including how to practice stating your accomplishments while networking or in interviews.

fyodorio profile image

I happened to be on both sides.

Recruiters usually don't give a damn about the portfolios and stuff so it hardly will make any difference at the screening phase. But on engineering interviews I had heard a couple of good words about my personal blog which is actually not a big thing at all but some thoughts happened to resonate with my interviewers at the time.

On the other hand, when I was searching engineers for my team, I interviewed both Senior and Junior developers alike, and I did pay attention to the online presence to see what a person is interested in. You don't actually need to be a thought leader, but having opinions and something to say (doesn't matter what specifically and how high the experience level is) makes the impression that you actually care about your craft and you do think about the importance of improving it at times.

So all in all, it's not a big deal to roll out some static website template on Netlify, a question of having a GiHub account (which I'm sure everyone here does) and making a couple of clicks. Then, when you got something to say, you can drop a markdown line and make a commit again, and it will be there.

asadravian profile image
Muhammad Asadullah

Perfect!! My portfolio website helped me to give a holistic overview of my all accomplishments and success stories globally. I think everyone should have a reference point (portfolio website) than writing long paragraphs while filling up applications. Here's mine:

rishabk7 profile image
Rishab Kumar

I wanted to transition from help-desk to cloud, so I started by creating a portfolio site and architecting on how to host it on AWS Cloud. I came up with 2 architectures and 4 months later when I was interviewing for a Cloud role, we went over both architectures. I'm not sure how important this portfolio project was in those interviews, but I did land the role.

Here is my portfolio, it has gone over many iterations since then -

freddyhm profile image
Freddy Hidalgo-Monchez • Edited

One thing I look out for when collaborating, or interviewing new team members, is the answer to the question "How much does this person care?".

Too often I've worked with folks who see engineering as a boring, live-for-the-weekend kinda job. I don't expect people to be super passionate about bits and bytes, but at least want to build things.

Blogs, side-projects, portfolios, etc. this shows me why this person is in engineering besides the money/stability/benefits.

yet_anotherdev profile image
Lucas Barret

I might be the only one in this case and I will only talk for me but...
Writing is more like a way to be sure that I have deeply understood the concept I am dealing with.
If you understand something you can explain it. So explaining it 'force' me to understand what I am learning.

jcubic profile image
Jakub T. Jankiewicz • Edited

When I applied for my first job I didn't have a portfolio or a blog. But it was more than 10 years ago there was not as big competition as there is now and there were not as many newcomers that don't have any experience. So blog and portfolio will help you to stand out if you don't have any experience.

But note that people from HR that contact me on LinkedIn probably don't even know that I have a blog and a website.

I only was contacted once or twice by people that saw my GitHub profile.

faizbyp profile image
Faiz Byputra

I'm currently still learning but this time i just wanna share a bit of my experience. For you whoever feeling your knowledge is not enough for you to share, IMHO you're wrong.

If you could write a full article or blog post about something, then you're already mastering the topic! But if you never try, how would you know?

So my advice is, just start!. It's okay if you're not finishing it. But at least you tried to while others are not.