For Developers

3 Steps to Help You Build a Powerful Web Developer Portfolio

 how to build a web developer portfolio

As many people are quickly adopting the remote first working culture, applying for jobs as a web developer has become more challenging than ever. There is a vast pool of talented developers all over the world and it is very important for one to market themselves and stand out from the rest of the crowd in order to secure that desired role. One must be able to showcase their talents and the best way to do so is by having a web developer portfolio.

What is a web developer portfolio?

A web developer portfolio is like a 21st century modernized resume. It mainly consists of your best-built projects, a summary of your skillset, and your achievements. We know bragging about yourself isn’t very modest but having a portfolio shows that you are professional and possess the delicate skills required.

Why do web developers need a portfolio?

Having a web developer portfolio in hand can help you stand out when applying for jobs. This is a chance you have to impress the recruiter and showcase your capabilities. It is within that portfolio that recruiters are able to point out exactly who you are and ascertain if your skills will be the right fit for their designated role. One also has to keep in mind that what's on your web developer portfolio represents you in your absence. Your portfolio has to be crystal clear, descriptive and it must give a systematic breakdown that does not leave the recruiter more confused. Another advantage of having a portfolio is that you can build a personal brand. This means that when people require your services, it is easy for them to reference and reach out to you through your portfolio. This in many ways has proven to be very effective in the long run. Instead of building different portfolios to attract different needs of potential companies to partner with, your web developer portfolio has to appeal to all that require your skills. It is therefore important for your portfolio to be crafted in a way that attracts a wide range of recruiters from diverse backgrounds that require your abilities and knowledge.

In a nutshell, having a web developer portfolio is important because it shows evidence of your skills and expertise, let alone the value and quality of work you are bringing to the table. Remember what you bring to the table in this case your portfolio, determines who will be willing to dine on that very same table. You are as good as what you write, prove it, and sell yourself to the highest bidder.

How to build a web developer portfolio

Step 1: Choosing a template

Back in the day, many people had to hard code their web developer portfolios and this can be a very daunting task. Luckily there are a few websites where one can download a free template and customize it to your taste. Below are some of the popular websites that you can find free web developer portfolio templates :

  • Colorlib ColorLib is a popular website that provides WordPress themes and templates for building web developer portfolios. This website attracts more than 1 million page views each month and provides both free and premium resources.

  • HTML5 UP HTML5 UP is a collection of web developer portfolios and websites that are freely available for download. The templates are built from HTML5 and CSS3, easy to customize, and fully responsive.

  • Hugo Hugo is a popular open-source framework that generates static web developer portfolios and websites. It’s easy to customize, gives the option of using Markdown and shortcodes which allows any website to look slick and representable.

Step 2: Choosing a hosting platform

After getting your desired web developer portfolio the next thing you need to have in preparation is a hosting platform for your portfolio. There are two methods one can choose from :

  1. Self Hosted Portfolio - This is a hosting service platform where one has total control and access to the website server. Having your own self-hosted portfolio can be advantageous as it shows how creative and skilled you are. Another advantage of having a self-hosted web developer portfolio is that you have guaranteed privacy, have the freedom and flexibility to design your website and have a choice to select and customize the domain you would like to use. The only downside with this is that it can be very expensive and requires constant maintenance.

  2. Hosting Platform - Hosting platforms usually provide free services and require less labor. The hard coding and interface are ready-made. Another advantage of having a hosting platform is that you also get a free domain name and no need for constant maintenance on the site as well. Below are some popular free hosting platforms :

  • Github Pages Github Pages are public web pages hosted and published through Github. This means one can showcase their web developer portfolio through Github for free.

  • Netlify Netlify is a hosting platform where one can easily build and deploy a web developer portfolio. The hosting platform is very similar to Github Pages except that it comes with an option of previewing your portfolio before fully deploying it to the web.

  • Behance Behance is a web platform owned by Adobe where one can simply build and deploy a web developer portfolio. The best thing about choosing Behance as a hosting platform is that it comes with a free Creative Cloud subscription when you build and host your portfolio on this platform.

Step 3: Setting up your web developer portfolio

The next step after getting your hosting platform is to figure out what kind of interface you would like your web developer portfolio to look like. Which images are best suited for your site, the kind of projects you would like to show, and how everything will be laid out.

At this stage of building your portfolio, one needs to be clear and concise as this will determine whether your portfolio will be appealing or not. The main reason to remember is to sell yourself without putting too much information that can make your portfolio tedious to read. Hence whatever content you put in needs to be simple but also relevant. This leads to the question, of what needs to be included in a web developer portfolio, below are some pointers that will help you structure your portfolio better.

  • Homepage A homepage is the main page of a website/portfolio. It is the first thing that a person sees when they click on the URL. It is very important to get your homepage right as it serves as a first impression and invites the visitor to read more of your content. As a developer, there are certain must-have pages to be included in your portfolio homepage :

  • Logo A logo is like a symbol of identification. It is something that shows your personality, professionalism, and creativeness. This is something that uniquely identifies who you are and what your work represents. It is great to have an eye-catching logo as it will set you apart from the crowd.

  • About Page/Bio This is the section where you sell yourself to the reader. Your bio should tell a story about who you are, why you love your work, and how you became the person you are today. This is where you highlight the most important aspects of your career, your greatest achievements, and accomplishments. While telling your story in this section, you can include things you like to do most apart from your professional life for example hobbies

  • Skills Here you need to list relevant skills that you would like to be known for or are required for the role you are applying for. As a developer, you should list your tech stack, the programming languages you are proficient with accompanied by the frameworks you are well versed in. Apart from these, you can also include software you are familiar with as well.

  • Projects A web developer portfolio is nothing without the projects page. This is where you pick out some of your best works that showcase your experience and skills. This is a very critical section where you need to provide clear descriptions of each project and the technologies or frameworks you used to tackle the problem statements. It is important to describe the challenges that you faced when building your project and how you overcame it. What were the lessons you learned, the type of skills you applied, and the proudest moments that you can pinpoint about that specific project?

In addition to your description, you can include images, code snippets, or documentation as evidence of your capabilities and problem-solving skills.

  • Contact Information On this page, we include ways of how employers can contact you with ease in cases of scheduling an interview. You can create a contact section by including the following:

  • Email Address

  • Social Media Links (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Github)

  • Phone Number

Example of a well-crafted web developer portfolio

Now that we have a glimpse of how one can create a web developer portfolio, below is an example of a well-curated web developer portfolio landing page:

Things to keep in mind while building a web developer portfolio

Since we have established a general understanding of what is needed when building a web developer portfolio, there are things that one needs to be careful of that would be unnecessary for your portfolio.

The main goal is to keep the reader engaged while providing value, so one needs to only show the necessary information. Something that can be a distraction or cause your portfolio to lose its values are:

  • Inappropriate images or visuals Many times you find a portfolio’s graphics not visually appealing and images have poor quality making your work deem inappropriate. This can make any reader or potential employer lose interest. It is always a good practice to desist from putting links to your personal social media accounts that have got embarrassing content, that can portray a non-professional gesture in your portfolio. Be mindful, knowing what you put in your portfolio is what the audience read about your character.

  • Content Overload Everyone understands the excitement that is derived from putting yourself out there to ensure whoever reads your portfolio gets enough of you at first glance. However “too much of something” can be detrimental to your portfolio building. This might lead to repetition of information rendering your portfolio redundant and substandard to your target audience.

  • Grammatical Errors A lot of clients, recruiters, and any other potential connections are very meticulous to whoever comes aboard and sails with them in their journey to success. It is therefore very important to be conscious of what you put in the portfolio. Like any other content, checking grammatical errors is a common norm and your portfolio does not serve as an exception from that. Always remember to proofread your portfolio over and over again. If you need a third eye, seek one and ensure that your web developer portfolio is standardized to perfection.

Conclusion

Though there are many ways one can get connected and land themselves into their dream job. The web developer portfolio is considered to be one of the most effective tools that will separate you from the rest of the other developers. Always remember that as a developer you are in a pool and you need to position yourself in a strategic position where you can be fished out. Take time to peruse some of the other developer portfolios that have made it ahead of you and use them as a guideline. However, your portfolio has to be unique and has to have enough quality content over quantity to stand out above the rest.

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