What makes a good portfolio?

As a web and mobile developer, who is just starting out, a good portfolio of work is extremely important. Potential employers will be looking to see if you have experience in building websites or apps and a portfolio is your way to show what you have done and how you went about doing it.

When you produce a portfolio you are creating and building a personal brand. Any work that you supply should showcase what kind of work you are capable of and how you produced it. In terms of what I’m doing this would be examples of websites that I have built, and apps that I have available to download and a link to the corresponding code on GitHub so that someone can see how I work and how easy the code is to read and understand.

One of the problems that I encountered early on was that I did not have many projects that I could include in a portfolio. I had completed a few finished websites, a few browser-based apps and small one-off page projects that I had built for College but not enough that I felt were sufficient to put up as examples of my work. I realised that to build up my portfolio I would have to do more personal projects outside of college. This would not only help build up my portfolio but aid my studies and give me more practice.

My first attempt at showcasing my work is here. At the moment, it gives eight examples of work that I have produced; five are college projects and three that I have produced in my own time. Although there are links to the projects on some there should ideally be links to view all of them online.

first portfolio page
My first attempt at a portfolio page

A single screenshot will not tell a prospective employer much about the project or how you produced it. Telling ‘how’ is just as important as describing ‘what’. A good portfolio should list the technologies used to create the project, the thinking behind the idea, planning documents and wireframes as well as a link to finished result. This shows an employer that you know the stages required to move through a project.

Portfolios can also be boosted be featuring other work that isn’t exactly related to the main subject. In my case I could include links to my photography that has been featured on websites but this could also be examples of writing or art that you have produced. This can show off that you have other passions and skills that can aid your web development work.

Some examples of awesome web development portfolios:

Rafael Caferati work
Rafael Caferati https://caferati.me/work
Devin Walker Work
Devin Walker https://imdev.in/projects/

Here’s an excellent guide on How to build an impressive portfolio when you”re new to tech from Randle Browning at skillcrush.com

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