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Firangiz Ganbarli
Firangiz Ganbarli

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When should a person have their own portfolio website?

How do I know that it's time I get a personal website, or a portfolio to present when asked?

I am currently learning Python, and I don't think I have that many projects that I can show, but I hear that having a portfolio website helps a lot.

So, when should a person start to think about having a portfolio?

I wanna hear it

Top comments (46)

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christiankozalla profile image
Christian Kozalla

I believe it's not a MUST-HAVE or mandatory at any time. If you feel like having your own portfolio would be nice, then start building πŸ˜„
I don't have a portfolio (because I don't have so many side projects to showcase yet), but my blog is the project where I learn new stuff and experiment . .
Anyway, I am quite curious what other people will comment on your question!

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firangizg profile image
Firangiz Ganbarli

In the same boat as you, I don't feel like there would be enough substance to a portfolio if I did it now. I don't want to rush it either so I am left confused. Thank you for telling your opinion, I quite understand what you mean!

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miguelmj profile image
MiguelMJ

I think you are right. It is better to have a portfolio when you have something to display. It doesn't have to be very big or important, but at least something other people can value!

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wick3drose profile image
wick3dr0se

Why not? πŸ˜… wick3dr0se.cf
It's ready for me to add some projects lol

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cchana profile image
Charanjit Chana

I think that makes your blog your portfolio :D

I like how you've approached the format and it brings your content together nicely.

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christiankozalla profile image
Christian Kozalla

Thank you very much! I am constantly working on it adding new content and features ⭐

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miguelmj profile image
MiguelMJ

In my opinion, it is worth having a portfolio website if you want to centralize your presence on the internet and if you have content to offer.

In my case, I use it to:

  1. Keep the documentation of my projects.
  2. Display them and link their repositories.
  3. Keep a copy of my blog.
  4. Put all my contact info and links to the platforms I'm in.

This way, everything that I can offer is visible from a single place.

However, there are people that, for one reason or another, don't have any content to display, and their portfolios look just like: "Hello, my name is X, hire me". In my opinion, if that's what it's going to be for, you'd better not do it.

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firangizg profile image
Firangiz Ganbarli

Yep, you summarized it very nicely. I also dislike the personal websites that just consist of a background image, name and links to other social media. Defeats the whole purpose. As of now, I am leaning towards making 1-2 nice side projects that would at least add some content to my portfolio, and then make it. Thank you! 😊

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abelardusbm profile image
Abelardus

MiguelMJ thanks for the detailed response.

Since I’m totally new to programming, and I started with Python, what program would you advice to build a website to showcase our profile and projects?

Would you create a website using WordPress or what program would you say is better to build the website for the purpose of linking our work and what you listed in your response?

Thank you,
Daniel

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miguelmj profile image
MiguelMJ

There are many valid options, I guess. I have no experience with WordPress so I don't know how it would adjust to that necessity. Personally, I've seen a lot of portfolios made with static website generators, like Hugo or Jekyll.

In my case I choose Jekyll because GitHub Pages are powered by it, and I host mine there. This way I can maintain the page as a regular repository and is more comfortable for me. However, there might be other options out there that I don't know.

So, I'd say that it depends on what tools do you work better with and where are you going to host it.

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wick3drose profile image
wick3dr0se

Hi Abel, I tried to message you but it won't let me! I could probably help you out quite a bit as I've been through the Wordpress nightmare and used to be a php developer. I can vouch that Wordpres is over bloated junk. Php needs to die. I'd highly suggest the world of Node.js to you. Theres many options there where it can seem cumbersome to look. Theres frameworks like Angular, React, Vue, etc; Those 3 being the most popular. I'd suggest using one unless you want to do pure HTML, CSS and Javascript and lose out on a ton of benefits. To further increase your experience you can throw a front end framework on top of the language you chose. I use Nuxt.js for Vue. It gives me automatic SSR, routing and much more. The best part to me is being able to write HTML, CSS and Javascript as well as any pre processor you can think of, in one Vue file. I would recommend you Nuxt but I may have a very biased opinion. I don't like Angular or React and they're older software. Vue is newer, easier and well documented. Github pages is obviously a great option as well but using Netlify is even better for that purpose. My site sits on Gitlab and builds on Netlify. Netlify has it's on CDN, so all of my assets are in the repo too.

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paramsiddharth profile image
Param Siddharth

Agreed! πŸ’•

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christiankozalla profile image
Christian Kozalla

That are really nice purposes you're using your portfolio for! Going to move in that direction as well. Thank you!

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chrisgreening profile image
Chris Greening • Edited

Anytime can be the right time!

It's up to you and what you want to get out of it. I consider my old portfolio site to be one of the most enriching early projects I ever did. The experience I gained building the site from scratch was way more meaningful than the content of the portfolio itself and I ended up using it as a testing ground for experimental CSS and JavaScript ideas (plus it was super cool to be able to tell people I had my own site called christophergreening.com lol)

A portfolio site also doesn't necessarily have to be filled with fancy projects either; it can be a blog talking about what you're learning, link aggregator for your social media, an About Me to show people who you are, etc. Just make it your own and that in of itself can be the extra mile.

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firangizg profile image
Firangiz Ganbarli

Love that! It is a project in itself, and a learning experience too. Thank you!

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demicdev profile image
Michele

I think that a portfolio could be a project too! I think that, as written in another comment, is not mandatory but maybe when you're doing an interview or you wanna become a freelancer, have a portfolio where you can show all your projects and skills, is really good.
I think that a person should have a portfolio even if has only one project yet it could give the motivation to build other little/big projects.
I'm currently building one even if I have only one project still in development... With the time I will surely fill with more projects!

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firangizg profile image
Firangiz Ganbarli

That's another perspective that I didn't consider. I didn't think of building it as a motivating factor, but it could work! Thank you for your insight 😊

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jennrmillerdev profile image
Jen Miller • Edited

A lot of people on DEV push towards having "personal brand and content" and tell people to keep writing, doing side projects and all that. While there are advantages to it, it's also a huge time sink so it really depends on many factors such as how much time you have, what kind of work you are doing, and most importantly, how much you enjoy doing the projects.

Two traps of personal portfolios:
I think many people fall into the trap of feeling they don't have significant projects to show, then end up never building a personal site. So I recommend, build a simple personal website first (like a online CV or whatever). Start small and make incremental changes.

People fall into another cycle of putting every single tutorial or piece of work as a portfolio item. Many new developers feel they lack development experience so they need to put 'something there'. Trying to publish each tutorial into a pristine publishable piece of work with the hope of getting the attention of recruiters and developer reviews is not sustainable and can lead to burn out.

From the perspective of a person who interviews many candidates, I do not believe it's necessary to have a site that show cases dozens of side projects. Most of the time, developers who review candidates won't look though every single side project (if any at at all). One or two at most.

Some of the "best" side projects are the ones where a developer has a personal interest in, otherwise, doing stuff you hate is just brutal.

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firangizg profile image
Firangiz Ganbarli

I will follow your suggestion and start small, then add up as I build side projects. I do agree that portfolios shine when the developer really puts thought and passion to their projects, it just can be seen! Thank you for your insight as an interviewer, too.

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jennrmillerdev profile image
Jen Miller

no problem!

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radiomorillo profile image
Stephanie Morillo

Hi Firangiz! I built mine maybe five years ago, and I was a few years into my tech career. I decided to build it because I wanted to start blogging and freelancing on the side. It was mostly my "calling card on the web"; I would update it and blog infrequently, but over the past 18 months I've started turning it into a proper site since I use it to attract speaking engagements, writing opportunities, and business opportunities. In short: you don't need something ASAP but if you plan on blogging and sharing projects on a regular basis, it helps to have one. :) You can always update it/change it later.

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firangizg profile image
Firangiz Ganbarli

That is great to hear (or read)! I might as well as start one for myself, and then share it publicly when I have enough projects and content to do so. Thank you:)

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radiomorillo profile image
Stephanie Morillo

You're welcome, best of luck!

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pgradot profile image
Pierre Gradot • Edited

I asked myself the same question many years ago.

I graduated in 2011 and in the beginning of 2012, I wondered: "if someone googles my name, what would they found?". Back then, not much. But in this "not much", there were some unprofessional things from my teenage years. Nothing bad, but not things I wanted a recruiter to see.

This is when I started my personal blog to write technical articles. The very first article explained (in French, sorry) my motivations: gradot.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/un...

Since them, I have written about 150 articles on this blog. Along with my LinkedIn profile and since a few months my dev.to profile, I believe that possible recruiters will get a good opinion about me when they google my name ;)

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firangizg profile image
Firangiz Ganbarli

Exactly right. Stories like yours always motivate me to build a better online presence for myself too! Thank you:)

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bmitchinson profile image
Ben Mitchinson • Edited

For me, having a small portfolio was a huge difference when applying for jobs leaving university. I was surprised with the amount of students that didn't have a site, so I made my own, and was told multiple times that it helped me stand out.

I didn't need something amazing that I made all myself + designed from scratch. I recommend just using a template that will let you make changes quickly, but still give you some creative freedom in how you structure your writing.

I really recommend making one if you're a student looking for internships or their first full time position. Summary posts of "what I learned at this internship" or "what I learned at this hackathon" are great ways to flesh out things that wouldn't fit on a resume, and personally, I found recruiters and engineers really did look at it.

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firangizg profile image
Firangiz Ganbarli

Yeah, I would agree with what you said about the summary posts. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it's helpful!

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cchana profile image
Charanjit Chana

I really like looking at portfolio sites, seeing someone's personality come across in their design choices and the way they word things. I've always had one myself, from before I left university (many many years ago) and I even spent time refreshing it recently.

Every time I've worked on it has been an opportunity to learn something or a first step at putting some theory into practice. Usually that meant some CSS thing I want to figure. Sometimes though, it was an opportunity to learn more about the bigger picture. Things like performance, security, SEO.

Are portfolios necessary? Not at all.

And in answer to your actual question, my answer would be from day 1. But the reality is that it's a marketing tool so the more practical answer is when you're ready to share what you're working on.

And there are a few ways to look at delivering one. Of course it could be something more traditional portfolio, a site with your photo, some information and links out to other sites and projects.

But you could treat it as a blog (as mentioned in the comments) or use your domain purely as a redirect to something else. Something like your GitHub profile or to a social media account.

Like I said, I have one and enjoy looking at other peoples. I find them interesting, informative and sometimes they're inspirational.

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firangizg profile image
Firangiz Ganbarli

Yes, I quite agree with you. I have a slight obsession with looking at other developer portfolios and keep a list of them as inspiration too! It is kind of exhausting that there are many ways portfolios can go:) Thank you for your suggestion!

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paramsiddharth profile image
Param Siddharth

Of course you should! It would allow you to centralize your web presence and your work, even if you're not a developer, maybe a singer, poet, or artist. :) It is a very enthusiastic process and you'll learn a lot about being professional! 😊

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imagineeeinc profile image
Imagineee • Edited

i think it is better to have one if you do web development or projects with a ui to showcase those projects, but if you do have big projects that do not fall in those categories you might want a portfolio, also I have a website just for the fun of making one and learning new techniques.

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melmacaluso profile image
Mel Macaluso

If you feel like it create it if not is not mandatory and no company will ever complain, I personally didn't ever make one as I change idea of the tone/design of it almost monthly so I am saving 12 refactors per year ahah

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jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy πŸŽ–οΈ • Edited

You really don't need one - at least to land a job anyway. I've interviewed many, many candidates for development roles, and personal portfolio websites don't positively sway the decision making process at all. In fact, some portfolio sites have even made me not call the candidate in for interview in the first place!

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firangizg profile image
Firangiz Ganbarli

Wow, why so? What was in their portfolio that you decided to not call them?

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blakecodez profile image
blakewood84

I've landed jobs after just recently graduating a bootcamps without a portfolio site. I believe the projects you have are important #1. It's also the person who's interviewing you for the position. If their a developer they can just glance at your github and know pretty quick. But some recruiters, well mostly all recruiters with no develop skills are going to be completely visual and would appreciate this! It will definitely up your chances at getting a foot in the door for an interview, but most likely it's not the reason you'll get the job. Hope this helps!

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firangizg profile image
Firangiz Ganbarli

That helps very much, especially how you summarized as "developers can see your github and know, but recruiters would like to see a portfolio". Thanks for that!

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blakecodez profile image
blakewood84

Hey, my pleasure! Wishing you the best! Always be learning! Bless

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mccurcio profile image
Matt Curcio

Hi Firangiz,
I agree with Christian Kozalla, it is not a Must-Have.
However, open a GitHub or GitLab (or whateva') account and throw everything on it.

OK, you may not have enough for a portfolio site now but you will if you keep collecting! Even small stuff can be helpful. At times, I wish I had kept all kinds of work for my 'future-self.'

Besides, you don't have to make every repo public.

Free advice is worth every penny. ;)

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firangizg profile image
Firangiz Ganbarli

I definitely do that, and will continue to do so. I like seeing the green squares:)

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