How to Build a Coding Portfolio

portrait of Christina Payne
by Christina Payne
Published on November 1, 2021 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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What Is a Coding Portfolio?

Coding portfolios are online resumes for coding professionals that also contain examples of coding projects. Some professionals create personal websites to house their portfolios and demonstrate their coding ability to employers. Others use coding sites like GitHub to house their portfolio, taking advantage of the built-in network of employers who also use the site.

Coding portfolios contain relevant information for employers, including formal education, certifications, and past work experience. Many coders also include screenshots and links to previous coding projects. Some coders add testimonials from former employers, co-workers, and professors about their work ethic and ability.

Why Do You Need a Coding Portfolio?

Coding professionals across the industry, including data scientists, web developers, and software engineers, need coding portfolios. A coding portfolio is as essential to the job search process as a professional resume. Many employers expect coding portfolios from candidates and may actively search for them during the hiring process.

Portfolios demonstrate how candidates think and how well they can code. Coding portfolios also provide insight into a coder's creativity and attention to detail.

Coding employers want to see current work in a coding portfolio. Coders should frequently update their portfolios to demonstrate their passion for coding and their work ethic. Including multiple projects can also help coders showcase their ability to solve a variety of problems and work with different tools and coding languages.

What Should You Include in a Coding Portfolio?

Consider the following elements when creating your online profile.

Domain Name

When building a coding portfolio, carefully consider your domain name. A domain name is the address of a website that appears in the URL. You can purchase a domain name from a domain registrar for $10-$20 per year, though some domain registrars may offer deals.

A good domain name is memorable and reflects your professional brand. Employers may form a negative opinion solely based on an unprofessional domain name. Choose a name that relates to your work and/or professional name, and develop a backup domain name in case your original idea is taken.

Design and Layout

Every piece of a portfolio website reflects the creator. Because coding portfolios function like resumes, coders must ensure that every detail reflects their abilities as a developer. The design and layout of a coding portfolio can allow you to demonstrate your creativity and attention to detail.

Try to develop your portfolio with the user in mind. Good portfolios allow for easy navigation and readability. Think about unique designs that will help you stand out while remaining professional. Mistakes in design and layout can hurt you just as much as mistakes in your work samples.

"About Me" Section

Consider including an "about me" section or page along with your resume and featured projects. An "about me" section strikes a more personal tone than a resume. Rather than focusing solely on work experience, use your "about me" page to let employers know a little bit about yourself as a person.

For example, a strong "about me" section might include a professional headshot, a short bio, values and professional strengths, and relevant personal experiences. "About me" sections should help you create your brand, not distract from your professional talents.

Featured Projects

Coders must include projects in their portfolios. Employers expect and want to see coding portfolio projects to evaluate a developer's work. Developers who recently graduated from college may include some projects completed for class, such as a thesis project. A coding portfolio should contain 4-10 projects.

Make sure that you regularly update the projects you feature on your website. Regular updates demonstrate a strong work ethic. You should also choose projects that demonstrate the breadth and depth of your coding knowledge.

While some developers may put screenshots of their work on their website, try to include links to any web pages you've worked on. This allows potential employers to get a better look at your work.

Many coders include links to projects housed on GitHub or other development platforms. Professionals often use GitHub to show off current and ongoing projects, and public GitHub profiles allow potential employers to see code updates in real time.

It's good to also add explanations of your role in each project, particularly for projects that involved a team. Offering an explanation also allows you to point out specific project details that you want employers to notice and explain how you approached the work.

Contact Information

Remember to provide contact information on your coding portfolio so that potential employers can reach you. You should include an email address, and you may want to also list a phone number and social media accounts. Keep in mind that coding portfolios are public, so any form of contact, especially social media accounts, must remain presentable for potential employers.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Coding Portfolios

true How many projects should be included in a coding portfolio?

A coding portfolio should include 4-10 coding projects. Coders should always choose projects that showcase their best work, even if that means showing fewer projects in the portfolio. Coders should also consistently update their portfolio projects to ensure they show their most current work to employers.

true Is it more important for a junior or senior web developer to have a portfolio?

All coders should create and maintain a coding portfolio. Junior web developers can use the portfolio to network, attract potential employers, and demonstrate coding skills. Senior developers should continually update their portfolios as they work on projects to earn advancement opportunities at their current workplace or with a new employer.

true Are there coding portfolio design templates to use as a starting point?

Yes. You can find coding portfolio design templates online to use as a starting point. Some websites charge a fee for these templates. You can also look on open-source platforms like GitHub for portfolio ideas. However, remember to try to make your portfolio unique to stand out to employers.

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