A software engineer portfolio is a collection of projects, work samples, and other relevant information that demonstrates a software engineer's skills, experience, and qualifications. It can include information about the engineer's education, work experience, and technical skills, as well as links to projects they have worked on, code samples, and other relevant materials. A portfolio can be used to showcase a software engineer's capabilities to potential employers, clients, or collaborators and is crucial to achieve better positions and better salaries as a Software Engineer.
It’s well known that having a personal portfolio has plenty of benefits for your career as a software engineer. It’s about letting you show your skills and also allowing you to sell yourself to interested recruiters. It gives you the opportunity of showing your work and the idea of how you are the only one able to do it in that way, in other words, you can show your different projects and comment on why you did it, how you did it and what amount of time it took you to finish it.
In the current job market for software engineers, every job posting will be flooded with a deluge of candidates parading their resumes to recruiters, speaking about their experiences and skills but not showing them. Having a portfolio lets you demonstrate what you are capable of and can give you an edge over the competition, whenever you are looking for a job. The portfolio serves as an addition to your resume and can make you stand out when compared to other candidates who only have their resumes.
Lastly, it lets you show your style as a programmer, in other words, the way you document your code, how you organize it, and the way you think when you program.
Now you may be thinking “where do I start? How do I do my software engineer portfolio?“; baby steps, let's start with the most important:
There are two ways that most engineers choose to show their portfolio, making one's web page or in GitHub, but having both is a preferable choice. GitHub has all the tools needed to make a really strong portfolio, it lets you write a personal bio where you can talk about your experiences in programming, where you have worked, etc. You can create the documentation for each of your projects, show how you organize your code and it lets you pin your most important or impressive projects. You can check this article to learn how to create your portfolio with GitHub
If GitHub lets you do so much, why would I need a webpage? Easy, a web page lets you customize the look and structure of what the viewer sees, letting you show even more of yourself and different types of examples in any way you like. It has to be said that this is more time-consuming than just doing it in GitHub, but if you have the time, this can make you stand out even more.
In a few words, the finished projects that you are proud of. You can choose to show your whole range of experience or only show the projects pertinent to a certain domain. Some examples of things to show are apps that you’ve made, websites you’ve designed, or projects you are proud of. Try to take this opportunity to show your accomplishments and passion for your work.
As a software engineer, you have to be mindful of the context in which your programs will be used. For example, you can design an app that lets you identify the name of a color with a picture, but if this app is going to be used by digital artists, it will be useful to also give the corresponding hexadecimal color code so they can use it in their projects.
This would mean that software engineers may find work in projects that involve other professions like artists, lawyers, chemists, and other engineers; so your skills will be put in check. You’re a software engineer, code and automatization is your bread and butter, but to be exceptional, you have to go beyond your current knowledge and understand what these other fields need, in their respective context.
Given this, if in your portfolio you show your ability to be mindful of the needs of the end user, you will show your usefulness and versatility in projects, making you stand out even more.
Just having a portfolio can make the difference, but if you want to stand out more you may think that you have to spice up the visuals of your page. If you know and drive to do it, then good, but it isn't a necessity. Remember that the job of a software engineer is mainly seen in code, so the best approach is to have a good enough-looking page that lets you efficiently show your work. Aside from this, the rest of the work is in your bio, the projects that you already made and their respective documentation, and any extras that you deem necessary.
If you lack the material to make a robust portfolio, then the best course of action is to do projects to fill it. You could search for basic projects that interest you and make them yourself. Another option is participating in coding competitions that test your skills, but mainly this can give you a prompt that, even if you can't finish in the allotted time, you can finish and show in your portfolio if you think it's a good example of your skills. Lastly, you could join an open-source project and help in its development and then show the specific code that you made, with an explanation of its use and the project that it's a part of.
💡 Tips for when you are building your software engineer portfolio
- Remember that recruiters don't have a lot of time to analyze every candidate, so try to be concise in the things you write.
- Try to sell yourself in the bio section. Show any relevant accomplishments in your career, including competitions in which you won or participated.
- Proofread what you wrote. An important part of a software engineer's job is communicating your ideas clearly and concisely, either in code comments or in technical documents. Given this, it's good to show that you can write with good grammar and punctuation. Try reading aloud whatever you write to help you find mistakes.
- You can use tools like WordPress to host and ease the building of your website.
- Update your portfolio whenever you need to or when you have made a new project that you are proud of that can better show your current skill.
- Use links to pages that are active and updated.