How to Put Together the Ultimate Programmer Portfolio to Apply for Jobs

programmer portfolio

A portfolio is a must-have for a programmer, especially an entry-level programmer.

In short, a programmer portfolio showcases projects you’ve worked on in previous roles, during a coding bootcamp, or over the course of your own studies. Today, the programmer portfolio has evolved into so much more than that. Let’s look at why you need a portfolio and what sorts of things you can put in it.

Why do you need a programmer portfolio as an entry-level programmer?

It’s important for anyone who has a job that involves coding to have a portfolio. More seasoned engineers or developers may have work experience that speaks for itself, but until then, a portfolio is your most valuable asset as a job candidate, because:

  • It gives you a chance to showcase your capabilities without having on-the-job experience, especially if you’re self-taught or changing careers from another role.
  • It allows you to brand yourself as a professional and show who you are as a person.
  • You can showcase other experience from previous roles or education that could be relevant to your career.

What do you need in a programmer portfolio?

Your portfolio should be a personal and professional narrative of who you are. These are just some of the components you should include:

Personal introduction.

Stating the obvious here, but introduce yourself! Your name, a photo if you feel comfortable, and where you live is a good starting point. You can dive deeper, though.

Share your professional goals — what’s your objective in your career? What sorts of things have you done in order to get there, and what makes you a standout candidate?

Share some personal goals, too — want to climb Mt. Everest? Play the guitar? Walk your dog? This gives you an opportunity to create a sticky, memorable personal and professional brand.

Previous work experience or education.

Create a section or page that details your prior education and work experience. List any degrees, certifications, or other merits you’ve earned in an effort to move your career forward. If you’re a self-taught coder or you attended a free program that doesn’t provide certification, be as detailed as possible: What was the program? When did you attend it? How long did it take you to complete the curriculum? What sorts of languages, functions, arrays, and skills did you learn? What types of support or community did you get involved with while working on this course? Getting specific shows you really immersed yourself in your studies and got as much out of the opportunity as possible.

Your previous work experience — if any — should be thorough but specific. Pull out important metrics or points that would be relevant to the role you want to apply for. Showcase any opportunities where you flexed those important skills like teamwork, leadership, and problem solving. If you have too much irrelevant information on your resume or your work experience page, a hiring manager won’t spend the time to deduce why you would be a great employee.

Coding projects you’ve worked on.

The main feature of your programming portfolio is your lineup of coding projects. These can be projects you created on your own, from a prompt, with friends, during coursework or schoolwork, or actually on the job (if your previous employer allows it).

It’s important to include as many aspects to the project as possible — not just the final result. Here are some other elements you should include, in your own words:

  • The initial problem: What were you trying to accomplish or solve?
  • Any research you conducted or teams you worked with to learn more about the end user and what the solution should be
  • Your thought process, from start to finish
  • How you determined what language to use — was it part of a tech stack? Were you teaching yourself something new?
  • Any challenges or problems you faced and how you overcame them
  • Things you learned along the way aside from actual skills learned. Did you learn you like to work a certain way? Did you learn something new about skills you thought you had mastered?
  • What the solution was and why you landed on it

Create a comprehensive report on the project you created, supported, or led so a hiring manager can understand how you work and what led you to the conclusion. Problem solving is a must-have skill for anyone working in engineering, web development, or data science and analysis, so the ability to showcase that skill on a programming portfolio is imperative.

Contact info.

Email, cell phone, LinkedIn, social media, carrier pigeon, what have you — give hiring managers  an easy way to contact you if they like what they see.

Creating a programming portfolio for career changers and budding engineers

Check out our additional articles on taking hold of and improving your career, like:

  1. Debunking common myths about the tech industry.
  2. Programming languages you can start learning today.
  3. How to create a standout career change resume.


Written by Dev App Academy

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