Dev: do you need a portfolio website?
Developer portfolios are very popular. Just casually scrolling through Twitter, I often come across tweets like “share your portfolio” or “you should build a portfolio”.
But do you really need one? What are the reasons behind building one? Let's break it down.
What is a portfolio in first place?
A portfolio is “a collection of drawings, documents, etc. that represent a person's, especially an artist's, work” — Cambridge
For developers, this means listing their projects, contributions, skills, education, and experience. Most developer portfolios have the same “about me, skills, projects, experience” structure. Doesn't this structure remind you of something else?
Building a whole new website just to display the information mentioned above is utterly unnecessary, especially when you have better alternatives available on the internet. Then the main reason behind building a portfolio is to get a job, so why not to use the tools that are already out there?
Probably one of the best if not the best alternative for a developer portfolio is GitHub. Not only you can list your contributions and projects, but recruiters and developers can check out the code you wrote. Even if you're not a fan of open source, GitHub is a great opportunity to display your work. To display information about you, your skills and opportunities you are looking for, you can create and customize your README which can be displayed directly in your profile.
LinkedIn enables you to set up your profile with all the standard sections, like about, education, experience, certifications, languages. It can also be used as a social media, you can share your projects, achievements and feature them on your profile. It's basically a portfolio with added attributes of sharing information around your hustles and searching for jobs.
Polywork is a new platform. It has some similarities to LinkedIn, but their unique features make the platform look more modern. For example, there is the timeline which shows all your contributions, projects, workplaces and much more. You can create collections of your achievements, blog posts, recordings or other things. In the end, you get a lucid portfolio with possibilities to write posts and collaborate with others.
Finally, nexten.io (😎) allows you to create a strong profile listing your work experience, education, skills, languages and an about me section. It has basically everything what a portfolio needs. For more proof of work, you can even list your LinkedIn and GitHub profiles.
Reasons to build a portfolio website
It's difficult to break into tech if you didn't have any previous experience or higher education associated with this job. Even though it's difficult, I've seen many people make it. Many of whom have something in common, they built a bulletproof portfolio with projects that back up their skills and show their eagerness to learn. So, if you're going for your first job in tech, it could be an immense advantage to build a custom portfolio website.
Even though the main reason for a portfolio is to find a job, it's not the only reason to build a portfolio. There are plenty of amazing portfolios that display how skillful and creative their developer is.
Another reason to build a portfolio is that all the mentioned platforms in the last chapter show your projects, skills, and contributions in a standardized way. What do I mean by that? Well, the standard “about me, skills, projects, experience” structure isn't fit for everyone, especially if you want to show when you acquired a skill or how that skill relates to a certain project or workplace. This would be another good reason to design your own portfolio website.
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