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7 Tips for Building a Portfolio to Showcase Your Coding Skills

A common challenge many programmers face is building a portfolio to showcase their coding skills.

Whether you're looking for a job in a reputable company or want to kickstart your programming career as a successful freelancer, presenting your skills the right way helps you make a great impression and takes you a step closer to achieving your goals.

Hence, it's essential that you know how to build a portfolio to showcase your coding expertise and justify what makes you a perfect fit for a particular job or a project.

Doing so may be easier said than done, as you'd be competing against other programmers with similar career aspirations.

Here are a few tips that may help:

1. Be Creative

A common mistake programmers make is thinking of their portfolio as a standard resume. Well, it does more or less the same thing. But it takes way more than a simple resume for programmers to showcase their skills.

Channeling your creativity may do the trick. You can create an interactive website where you can feature web applications you built or games you developed.

This will be a better way to present your expertise with the leading web design software and coding exposure, increasing your chances of success.

2. Present Yourself the Right Way

When creating a portfolio, always remember that employers or project owners are less likely to be interested in what you do in your leisure time or your hobbies. They're more interested in hearing about your past accomplishments and your coding literacy.

So, when presenting yourself, it's best that you talk about your learning and professional experience thus far, as it will make you stand out from the crowd.

Also, be clear about the things that excite you and clearly state your career aspirations. This will make it easier for potential employers and project owners to know if your goals align with theirs.

3. Don't Forget About the Soft Skills

Programmers generally prefer working in silos. They just want to zone out and focus on the code they're writing.

But when you work for a conglomerate, you are required to be efficient at communicating with concerned stakeholders.

Even if you work as a freelancer, the project owner will ask for updates from time to time and expect effective communication.

Hence, you can't underestimate the importance of soft skills, and presenting them in your portfolio is a must.

Most projects may require you to work in collaboration with others. So, recruiters may be interested in knowing about your communication and people management skills.

4. Feature Your Projects Wisely

Whether you're a novice or an experienced programmer, you must have worked on a few projects thus far. And you already know that it's important to feature them in your portfolio.

A mistake that many programmers make here is that they go overboard and try to feature every project they've worked on thus far.

Adding all projects to your portfolio would just cause clutter and distort the visual appeal of your portfolio.

Remember, quality always stomps quantity. So, it's best that the projects you feature in your portfolio are well thought out.

The goal here is to showcase your coding skills and proficiency in different programming languages. So, just featuring a few of your best projects would do the trick.

A useful strategy here would be to tailor the projects you feature as per the job description or project specifications, as it will definitely increase your chances of success.

5. Check Your Code Before Sharing

Recruiters representing the companies or project owners may ask you to share the code files when going through your portfolio.

Even if you know that your code works and has no bugs, always check the file before sharing it with others.

Ensuring that your code is clean and readable makes it easier for you to win the hearts of recruiters or project owners.

Plus, simplifying your code showcases your efficiency, attention to detail, and professionalism. So, always check your code, not just for errors but also for cleanliness.

6. Add Context

Understanding the context behind your code may be easier for you. However, others may struggle to comprehend the logic behind your code.

So, just presenting your projects is not enough. You must attach an explainer to each one of them, explaining your thought process and design decisions.

Be as simple as you can, and avoid using complex terms. Explain your project as if you were presenting it to a five-year-old.

Your explanation should also touch upon the challenges you faced when working on a particular project and how you overcame them to achieve your goals. This will help you showcase your problem-solving capabilities as a programmer.

7. Choose a Professional Domain

As said earlier, it's best to build a website that serves as your portfolio. It will set you apart from the rest and give you an edge over the professionals you're competing with.

It's highly recommended to go for a simple yet professional domain for your website. Being creative is one thing, but you shouldn't go overboard and end up choosing a really odd domain.

A common practice among programmers is that they use their own name for their domain. And it's completely fine. The problem occurs when you have a common name and the domain is already taken.

In this case, you may have to settle for TLDs other than .com, which may be an SEO downgrade for your website.

So, think of a domain name that best aligns with your vision. Be simple, avoid using numbers or special characters, ensure your domain consists of three words or less, and avoid adding misspelled words to your domain.

Final Words

There you have it: the seven tips for building a portfolio to showcase your coding skills. If you've been wanting to build a portfolio that stands out and helps you score more projects or get a job that you desire, the recommendations provided in this article may come in handy.

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