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Front End Dev Portfolio Projects

steelvoltage profile image Brian Barbour twitter logo github logo ・1 min read

So I’m not happy with my projects on my portfolio. I’m having “writer’s block” or creative block, whatever you wanna call it. I have spent days thinking of what would be suitable to build and help me stand out to recruiters and employers.

I feel stuck in the mud. It's analysis paralysis at its finest. I find myself researching and hunting for ideas, but none of them resonate with me.

I guess… I’m looking for suggestions/recommendations from more experienced front end devs on what has worked in for portfolio projects and what hasn’t?

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Yea this is hard, I frequently hit "coders block" and there's really just no way to handle it other than time.

I feel like getting over the block will just happen as you live your life normally rather than sitting down and brainstorming. For example, I was doing bar trivia with some friends and they do everything with pen/paper so I thought "Wonder how easy it would be to write a trivia app". So I'm thinking of either making it a PWA, maybe using this as an excuse to learn C#/Xamarin... who knows.

I feel like the best ideas are going to be the ones you will use pretty regularly or to solve a specific problem you're facing instead of worrying about what hiring managers will find interesting. This not only keeps you motivated to reach v1.0.0 but you'll also be able to talk about it and sound much more enthusiastic when walking the interviewer through your project.

Also, you could try getting some OSS contributions, that will definitely get peoples attention. Here's a list of popular projects.


Man I'd love to contribute to open source, but for someone relatively new it's super intimidating... Do you know of any resources/guides on where to start?


There's no better guide or place to start than just jumping in and making any contribution. My first contribution was adding a Contributors section to someones on GitHub. My second contribution was adding a "Back to the top" button on someone's website. All contributions are good contributions.

Excuse me while I do a little self-promoting here but I do have an OSS project that I would really like to gain some contributors. Express Admin Area is a web GUI for database management. Using Express and React so front and back end devs are both more than welcome to make a contribution. If you're more comfortable on the frontend please.. PLEASE add some CSS to this project. There is also a few Issues that you can take a look at and feel free to open any even if it's just a question.

Now, you probably want bigger and more popular projects to contribute to so go ahead and give Code Triage a look over.

Awesome. Now, let me ask the even bigger newbie question... HOW do I contribute? I've never worked on a group coding project before.

How you specifically contribute is going to change per project. Most mature and popular OSS projects are going to have a file that would walk you through their process and what they expect from a contributor before attempting to make a PR. React

For my project, Express Admin Area, you'll notice there is no and that's because I don't care. If someone does something blatantly wrong then sure I'll correct them or ask for a fix but it's pretty laid back.

Now if you're wondering about how to get your code into their code base then I would look over How to contribute but the idea is pretty much

  • Fork OSS repository
  • Clone the Fork to your machine
  • Create new branch (typically you wont be making PR's from your Master branch
  • Make changes & write meaningful commit messages
  • Push commits to your Fork
  • Make PR to the original repo
  • Wait for someone to merge or ask for changes

Hey Brian, on the contrary, I think your d&d beyond fan site (don't remember the game name) it's pretty cool!

I got my first big design job with just one brand identity manual, a printed version in quality paper. Every advertising agency I showed it off felt in love with it. I went cold door until found my first agency, worked there nearly 5 years before jumping into freelancing.

It took me less than a week get that job, after four months designing that brand identity manual from scratch. From the brand name to all applications, design system (yes design systems aren't something that new) and the paper and cover selection. A lot of work! I was showing off with that piece of portfolio that I was a very versatile designer.

So don't focus in what, but how! You already have a few cool projects, make them awesome!

As a side note, everyone back then was losing their arses with online portfolio, that was the reason I crafted a beautiful printed manual, because at the end, was real final job on the hands of the recruiter.

Good luck with your interview! I hope my story serves as inspiration!


Thanks Florian! I think I'm just one of those perfectionist types. I'm always looking at ways to improve. Maybe sometimes I need to stop and look back at what I've accomplished.

Perspective is everything.

I just really want to be a desirable candidate. Unfortunately, employers can't see how active I'm on in this community and others, and how passionate I am. The only impression they get of me is a silly resume and a portfolio.


I told you the positive side of that story. Before that I spent a lot of time sending resumes and all that stuff. Job hunting is stressful, god knows I hate It.

Don't give to it too much thought, in reality, you are dealing with normal people.

My advice is make it easy for them to know your qualities and skills, not the other way around, if you expect them to guess, well it's not going to go very good. But even that it's okay. Learning is a success/fail process sometimes. Just don't be afraid of failing.


Does your portfolio currently demonstrate thoughtful application of common and important design patterns?

Recently, I've been looking not at whether or not the candidate can make an array of mini apps, but how they went about solving the problem.

Certainly design patterns can be trained on the job, but I do think if you made it clear in the ReadMe, that you chose a specific patterns because X, that might go a long way in standing out.

Also, there are a lot of simple examples used for those patterns, which might lead to some inspiration to build them out further, to help combat the coders block.


Based on your bio, you could try throwing together something with D&D! Maybe a few smaller tools to start - Character generator/walk through, dice roll simulator.


Agreed, D&D is perfect for this sort of thing. There's all sorts of details you can automate.


I have a question: What kind of feedback have you received from recruiters/employers about your current portfolio an work experience?


I have one interview next week. But, most of my apps are dead air.


I'm not as experienced as you are so I can't give you any pointers/ideas. Good luck on the job interview next week!

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Brian Barbour profile image
Software Engineer at Community Brands and Javascript enthusiast.