How to build a great frontend developer portfolio: a complete guide

Having a well-done Frontend oriented tech portfolio is an essential task if you want to aspire to good jobs. Whether you are a senior or junior developer, this guide will serve as your cover letter, and the better it is, the more chances you will have to hold the companies attention.

In the specific case of junior developers, you don't have to worry if you have few projects and your portfolio is a bit generic. We will give you some ideas to help you stand out and to get better job opportunities.

But let's start at the beginning.

What is a developer portfolio?

Simply and clearly: A portfolio is a collection of your best web dev projects that accurately represent your skills, your abilities, and the quality of your work. 

Why do you need a developer portfolio?

There are several reasons why having a developer portfolio is essential:

For most of the tech jobs,  you are likely going to be asked for it on a mandatory basis. Especially in the case of Frontend job offers, where most of the projects can be shown visually.

Although a CV can help you to start the application process for a job, a tech portfolio will show how you have practically applied the knowledge on your CV and which skills you have mastered the best.

Furthermore, The portfolio is essential if you are a frontend: recruiters and tech hiring managers will look at it with a magnifying glass. But if you are a backend developer, it is also interesting to have one.

You will be able to show your portfolio in a visual and orderly way an overview of your main works, and stand out from the others.

What is the basis you need to include in your frontend developer portfolio?

Now that we know what a developer portfolio is and why you should have one if you are a junior, middle or senior developer, let's review some elements that should not be missing in it:

  • Take special care of the homepage of your portfolio. The first impression is crucial to attract attention and stand out from the rest. Use a custom web URL to present your skills in a more structured and accessible way, demonstrating at the same time your level as a frontend.
  • Show in a visual and clear way what your main skills are. Here we can help you: in our community, Rviewer, developers who solve technical challenges receive a complete visual report with their frontend skills.
  • Summarize your best projects. This is the most important part of any tech portfolio. So be sure to add relevant projects and include links to the source code. You can use Github, Bitbucket or Gitlab to add links to your documentation and code.
  • Don't forget to include a more personal About section, about who you are and what you like: don’t, be afraid to show your personality as it is ;).
  • Now that you've introduced yourself, you need to give people an easy way to get in touch with you. This means providing an email address or phone number that's clearly visible.
  • Finally, make sure to create your portfolio with a responsive design.

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How to make your portfolio stand out

Now that we've gone over the basics, let's get down to detail and look at some tips that will make your portfolio stand out from the rest. As they say, it's all in the details:

  • Start adding extras once you've completed the basics: have a good homepage with solid projects, an interesting about section and a responsive design.
  • In the projects you showcase, focus on the challenges you faced, the procedures you carried out and the ingenious solutions. Don't focus only on the final visual aspect, because you will only be showing a part of what it means to be a frontend developer.
  • Testimonials have an increasing value as a source of authority for your portfolio. Don't forget to include them.
  • Add links to social networks. Hiring managers tend to dig deeper than the portfolio. It's better to show them your main social media channels to learn more about you.
  • In the about section you can add personality and charisma. Don't forget to upload photos, try to be funny and, above all, attractive, showing your hobbies and other different skills.
  • Include links to publications or websites that your work was featured in or media mentions or podcast interviews you've done.
  • Create the wow effect: cool transitions, effects, dark mode, are stylish details that a prospective employer will appreciate while viewing your portfolio.

Common mistakes to avoid

So far, we have seen positive tips on how to make a good portfolio. Now let's look at some common mistakes that you should also try to avoid:

  • Never prioritize quantity over quality. This is a principle that applies both to the design of your portfolio, and to the contents you will include in it.
  • Don't create your portfolio using parts of code written by someone else. Otherwise you won't be able to defend it if you are asked about it.
  • If you include a timeline of your career, try to avoid big gaps in time. Employers might think that during that period you had no interest in working.
  • Take special care with your texts: be clear and precise. Focus on explaining what is most relevant. 
  • Do not use stock photos that may give an artificial look to your portfolio: try to show your personality, with images and even your own presentation videos.

What should you include if you are a junior frontend developer with no former experience?

Let's focus now on the case of a junior developer. If you are one of them, you may have few projects and little experience, and you are wondering how to get noticed with your portfolio. Here are some tips to help you get started:

If you have 0 experience, try to start building your portfolio from scratch by yourself. It will also serve as a learning tool.

For example, in about two months you might be able to build something in JavaScript. You can create your own web page with a contact form, and you would start to understand the relationship between DOM and JavaScript.

It is always useful to include samples that could show off your mastery of different programming languages.

If you have some frontend projects, try to show them to an experienced senior developer and include their feedback. It will help you quikcly improve your portfolio so that whoever wants to hire you has a better understanding of your true potential. Having a Tech Mentor can be a real boost. By doing our Technical Challenges, you will receive direct feedback from one of our tech mentors, expert developers who have worked in companies like Google or Microsoft.

What do recruiters look for when they are reviewing your developer portfolio?

In order to give the best image, it is important that you know well how the minds of recruiters and employers work. Here are some insights into the kind of details that they are very likely to want to look for.

  • They will probably look at the periodicity of your jobs, and what is your current situation and your ongoing projects: don't forget to include them.
  • Your educational background is key. Try to show where and what you studied before becoming a frontend developer. Show your evolution since you started.
  • They will be looking to understand your problem-solving skills. So, when you talk about your projects, don't forget to point out the challenges you faced and the solutions you applied.
  • They will also look at your soft skills. Who you are, what your personality is like on social networks, what your tastes are... to see if they align with their own expectations.

Useful tools for creating and hosting a developer portfolio

You can create your developer portfolio on your own domain and website, but there are several tools that can help you host in case you don¡t have your own website:

  • GitHub Pages: a static site hosting service that takes HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files straight from a repository on GitHub, optionally runs the files through a build process, and publishes a website. Useful to build and host your portfolio.
  • GitHub Readme: for a quick portfolio you can start by creating a GitHub profile Readme, a feature that allows you to create a profile-level bio to display prominently on your GitHub profile. 
  • Namecheap: At Namecheap, you can register a brand new domain name using hundreds of popular TLDs.
  • Start Bootstrap: Start Bootstrap creates free, open source, MIT license, Bootstrap themes, templates, and code snippets for you to use on any project
  • Dribble: Self-promotion and social networking platform for digital designers and creatives. It serves as a design portfolio platform
  • Behance: Social media platform owned by Adobe whose main focus is to showcase and discover creative work.
  • CodePen: is an online community for testing and showcasing user-created HTML, CSS and JavaScript code snippets, a social development environment for front-end designers and developers.
  • Replit: a free browser-based collaborative IDE tool that lets you create and host your projects. You will access to all major programming languages, including more complex options like Node.js and Typescrip.

We hope these tips and insights have helped you to better understand what a good frontend tech portfolio should look like. Remember that whether you are just learning or you are already an experienced developer, you can build a top-nocht portfolio by joining our dev community and validating your skills.

In return, you will receive direct feedback from our Tech Mentors, and a complete visual report with your skills, which you can include in your developer portfolio to show in a clear and engaging way how can you stand out from other candidates.

Create your account now and try Rviewer for free. Sign up to discover our Developer Area and choose your first challenge!

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