By August 29, 2019

How To Build A Portfolio As A Newbie Developer πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’»πŸ’Έ (That Will Get Hundreds Of Jobs)

When you're looking to market yourself as a programmer, you have a lot of different paths to follow and a lot of different techniques to implement. One of them is building an online portfolio.

How does an online portfolio work for a programmer? Well, in your online portfolio you should place all of your projects, things you've worked on, etc.

However… How much is an online portfolio important? How to build an online portfolio as a newbie developer?

Is this type of strategy the one you should be really be focusing to boost your career? What are other alternatives for you to implement that could have a much greater impact on your strategy?

Watch this video and find out!

Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez:

In this video, I'm going to tell you how to fill the portfolio as a newbie developer that will get you hundreds of jobs. Well, something like that. That will get you the job that you want. As a newbie developer, you need to get a portfolio. Really, really important. That's what we're going to be breaking down and talking about in this video.

If you're just joining me for the first time, I'm John from simpleprogrammer.com. Like I said, you are on the channel where you can learn soft skills for software developers, where you can learn your career management skills. How to improve your career, how to make more money, how to develop social skills as a developer, how to market yourself, all those types of things. If that sounds like something that's interesting to you, and it should be, because that's how you make the money, click that subscribe button and join us. I think you'll find that the content that we produce here at Simple Programmer is pretty unique.

When you're starting out as a developer, one of the best things that you can possibly do in order to get a better job, or to get clients if you're doing freelancing, is to have a portfolio of work. Now, the reason being, for having this, is because one of the greatest risks that any company has in hiring a developer is they're not sure if you can code. I'm being serious here. I have hired a lot of developers in my time, and I've interviewed a lot of developers, and you'd be surprised at the Master's degree computer science students, that with 10 years of experience, that I've gotten into an interview, and they, it was pretty apparent that they couldn't code.

When you have a portfolio of your work, as long as I can verify that it's your work, I know that you wrote this, I know that you can code. I know that you can actually do the work. It's the best proof. If you're going to hire an architect to design your house, the best proof that you could have that they make good designs is some building that they designed. I don't understand why so many developers don't understand this. Why they think, “Oh, it's all about interview questions and all this stuff.” Yes, you're going to be interviewed. Okay, it's true. But the best way to prove that you know what you're doing, and that you're a good developer, and to show what kind of code you write, and how you write that code, is to just see it.

A lot of times, even as developer, once I built my portfolio, one of the things I would do when I go into interviews is I'd bring my laptop, and I'd be like, “Hey, hey, real quick, before we get into this,” Or, “Do you mind, can I just show you my portfolio, some of the work, some projects I've worked on?” I turn my laptop and say, “And you can look at the code. I just want to give you a really clear idea of what kind of code you can expect from me, what kind of developer I am, and what I can do.” And a lot of times, I've hijacked the entire interview, where they had this, they're just looking through my code and asking me questions about my code. Perfect. Bam! You think I got those job offers? I got job offers for those jobs, those interviews? Yes, of course I did, because the proof is in the pudding.

Let's talk about what you need to do. The first thing is that if you're a web developer you should have a website. I know, I know, pretty basic, pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised how many web developers I know that don't have websites. Not only should you have a website, it should probably look good. If you're not a designer, that's fine. Hire a designer after you've built your website to go back and improve the design of the website. It's also an important skill to know, because a lot times for small companies you might get hired as a developer, and you might have to go and hire or work with a web designer to actually design to make things look pretty.

I've been a developer on projects before where they're like, “Okay, make this thing and make it look pretty.” And I'm like, “I don't know how to make things look pretty.” And they're like, “Well figure it out.” What I've had to do is go and build the thing and then hire someone, okay, as a freelancer to go and make it look pretty. On the webpage what should you have? Well, you should have projects that you've worked on, that you've created, that you can show the source code for, that demonstrate specifically the technology that you are applying for jobs for, okay. And you need you to have some kind of niche, some kind of expertise. What is it that you're going to do?

Let's say that you're an angular developer. You should have on your portfolio some websites that you've built, where they can go and they can see the website. They can click on it and then they can download the source code, or they can see the GitHub profile, or your GitHub repository where you have the source code for it, and you should document that so they can see all that stuff. And you should have at least three projects, I'd like to see five, honestly. Create a company name for yourself. Go register the LC if you want to, or not. You can just do a DBA if you're not really making any money from it.

Go take some apps, put it out there, and make it so someone can sign up. And so there's a fee, maybe there's a free version. Do that so it looks commercial. And you can even use in your portfolio some actual commercial apps that you've worked on with other companies. I mean, if you're a newbie developer you might not have that, but create some simple stuff, right? Create something that would be commercially viable, have at least one big project there. And you can have some small stuff to demonstrate your ability to use specific technologies and how you write your code and things like that, but make them look good. We judge based on appearances.

Another good option is to put some apps in the app. I always talking about doing mobile development if you're just starting out, but you can put apps in the App Store, and then that's an even better proof. If you show, “Okay, I'm a developer, I say I'm a developer, I know how to write code, and I've got actual apps that I have in the App Store, that you can find and you can download this on your phone.” Again, that makes you, that takes you from newbie to like senior level developer right there, because how many newbie developers can do that? So you're going to be able to apply for better jobs, to be more likely to get those jobs, and like I said, the proof is in the pudding.

They could say, “Oh, you don't have enough experience.” But you could say, “Well, what do you need me to do? Because look, I can create these apps. This is what I'm able to do. This is my skill set. This is what I can actually do.” Just come up with some simple ideas. If you're going to come up with a portfolio, let's say you're just going to have three apps in your portfolio. First of all, have a website, and make the website very clearly indicate here's my portfolio. Maybe even on the front page, here's my three apps that are in my portfolio.

Now, out of those three, you can make two simple ones. Maybe you can make one that's like a to-do list, try to think of something a little more creative. Or maybe something that's like a little email client clone, like a Gmail clone, or something like that, just a little bit more sophisticated. And then, have one that's actually like a decent size project, something that you would potentially commercially sell. Something that has just a few thousand lines of code so you can show that you're doing something like, some CRUD application. Something that actually uses a database, and you can update records, delete them, insert records. That shows that you can do kind of the full stack of development. It's worth the time. It's worth the investment to do that.

And when you go into interviews, make sure that you highlight those, bring your own laptop and say, “Hey look, could you take a look at my portfolio?” Or, you can use this when someone asks you a question, say, “Oh, what is polymorphism?” You can say, “You know what?” And you can describe it, and you could say, “But I've got a real good example of this in this app that I created. In fact, oh, I just happen to have it right here.” You pull up your laptop, and you're like, “See, so in this app, this is where I use polymorphism, and this is why I did this.” And now they're looking at your portfolio.

There's a ton of ways that you can do that. Or they can say, “Oh, describe some kind of problem that you worked on, that was really hard but you solved it.” And you can say, “Well, there is this one app I was creating, and it was like this Gmail clone, and in it I had this problem,” and you describe it. And then you're like, “And you know, actually I can show you. Here it is. Let me just bring this up real quick.” And now you're showing them your portfolio. So you want to find a way to bring that up in the interview. It's gonna make a big difference.

If you haven't already, make sure that you subscribe, and if you're a new developer, also check out The Complete Software Developer Career Guide, if you haven't already. This is my big 800 page book that tells you everything you need to know about becoming a software developer. I'll talk to you next time. Take care.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."