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General Portfolio Advice for Newbies

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・2 min read

Ali has this thread currently going

I would definitely ask a question or peruse the feedback her and others are giving.

I felt like offering a few general pieces of advice based on a lot of portfolios I have seen.

  • Portfolio sites are more important than you think. It's hard to stand out as a newbie and this is a great way to demonstrate professionalism.
  • When in doubt, stay minimal! Design is incredibly hard. CSS is hard. If you are not incredibly confident in your design skills, do more with less. Even if you are confident, minimalism is definitely appealing.
  • Consider forking some else's site if they have offered it up for this. Check out @flexdinesh 's great project Dev Landing Page
  • Keep fiddling and improving your portfolio site. It's a really nice ongoing project. It will not be perfect the first time.
  • Think performance! Minimize images, minimize css, JavaScript, etc. Use a hosting service that leverages CDNs. There are lots of them these days. In general, Netlify and others are great products to know about.

Even if design isn't important to your ultimate work, it's important to humans. Impute your value by making smart choices with your portfolio site.

If you are looking for your first dev job, always be shipping software along the way. Don't wait for opportunities to code. Work on your portfolio, work on your personal projects, optimize for presentation value in all aspects of your work.

Your portfolio will become much less important as you progress in your career. On that note, check out my personal site.

Oh, one last thing: Make sure to put the DEV badge on your site so people know you're part of the community. I'm obviously biased, but I actually think demonstrating that you're already building your online presence in software communities goes a long way. 🙂

Discussion

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Editor guide
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deciduously profile image
Ben Lovy

Your personal site is an experience

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ben profile image
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rdumais profile image
Ryan

Portfolios are a way to market yourself. You want to be able to showcase that you can do work well. Portfolios are awesome to practice web performance, accessibility, and SEO. I made use of Google's Lighthouse application to help me learn best practices and tips along the way.

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Ajmal Noushad

Your site is lit 🔥

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shinyuy profile image
Shinyuy Marcel

Thanks a lot for the advice sir, will keep on making it better, though I must say I have never seen a portfolio with so much creativity like yours. As I get better in JavaScript, I will try to make my portfolio look something close to yours, with animations.

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Shinyuy Marcel

Sir there is one more thing I would like to find out from you. How do you balance writing code, which I believe you do on a daily basis, and coming up with the many diverse topics you write about on dev.to ? I am asking cause after practicing coding, and I feel like relaxing, I usually just come on dev.to to read what others posted, but I have noticed that every time I come, I see a post from you, and at times more than one.

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Ben Halpern Author

Honestly, I don't write the most well-crafted posts ever. I write fairly simple things. If I think I have useful advice for one person, I decide to make a post to many instead.

I think this post from @pbeekums offers good advice on the topic:

Also, you probably don't notice when I'm not writing as much. Probably some confirmation bias at play.

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Shinyuy Marcel

I just read the post from @pbeekums and though edge case testing is something am yet to learn how to implement, I think I understood him, and I like the fact that his target audience are not the people who are already able to point out the missing things, but rather the people who need a start pointing to get to the level they can start pointing out missing things.

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Anton

Well, I write drafts first and continue working on drafts. Maybe you can try to do the same.

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Mike Harding

I think this might actually get me to make a portfolio. I'm still in school, have a nice beginning programming job, so I haven't felt a need to make one just yet, but I think I should go ahead and have one. Looks like fun to make!

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Derek Hopper

Privacy is a relic of the past.

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ben profile image
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Cheston

Privacy is a relic of the past.

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James Hickey

Your site made my year. I couldn't stop scrolling..... wow.

Props fellow Canuck! (P.s. I lived in Sackville NB for a few years - small world eh!)

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Shinyuy Marcel

The many good software developers on dev.to make me feel proud of being part of the dev.to community, will surely add the badge on my site.

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Meghan (she/her)

do you know if there is anything similar to simpleicons.org/ that offers colored icons?

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Ellie Grace

Hi Meghan, I may be misunderstanding your question, but I believe you normally download simple icons as an svg, and then use the fill CSS property to colour the icon to whatever colour you like!

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Dule Martins

I was laughing along the road on your site. Great ben

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Matthew Carpenter

Thanks for the advice!

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Jesse M. Holmes

@ben … your site has inspired me to a new level. 🤣 I couldn't stop scrolling.

It reminds me of /r/ooer.

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Jaaki

Damn, I wish I could build a personal site like that someday :)