There's never been a better time to kickstart your career as a Front-End Developer. Not only are they in high demand, but with the rise of remote work over the past year, front-end development is a great choice if you're looking for a high-paying tech job that lets you work from home. But where do you start?
After learning the required skills for the role and building a technical resume, creating a Front-End Developer portfolio is the next step in the job-seeking process. But, while many industries require portfolios, they look very different between roles — so knowing what to include is key.
To help you kickstart your career as a Front-End Developer, we've put together this guide that'll help you create (or optimize) your portfolio. Below, we'll explore what a Front-End Developer portfolio is used for and what you should include in yours to stand out from the competition.
What is a Front-End Developer portfolio?
A Front-End Developer portfolio serves to showcase your skills, past projects, and experience with front-end development. Potential clients and employers rely on this information when deciding whether or not you're right for the job.
The benefits of having a Front-End Developer portfolio include:
- Increasing credibility and visibility in a highly competitive industry
- Creating trust with potential employers by illustrating your experience
- Showcasing your variety of skills
The ideal portfolio should include several items. We've broken them down below to make the creation process easier.
What should be in a Front-End Developer portfolio?
Creating your Front-End Developer portfolio requires some work on your end, but it's well worth investing the time. Here are the essential elements to include in your portfolio:
Begin with a custom logo
Logos might be small, but they send a strong message and heavily impact your potential employer's first impression of your portfolio. As a designer, think unique. Include graphics and text that'll stand out in their memory.
Add a tagline to highlight specific information
Communicate a strong message that tells visitors what they'll find on the site. Recruiters go through dozens of applicants (if not more), and making your information easy to find can help you leave a good impression.
Polish your design
As a Front-End Developer, you'll be responsible for creating beautiful web pages, so your portfolio should be polished, clear, and concise.
Usability should be your primary concern. The people who visit your portfolio should be able to navigate it easily without any confusion. After you ensure everything functions the way it's supposed to, implement a creative, attention-grabbing design that appeals to your intended audience.
Include relevant skills, education, and work history
List only the skills that are most relevant to the role you're applying for. As we mentioned, recruiters go through many applicants, so they'll be scanning for specific words and phrases.
Along with your skills, synopsize your education and include any certifications you've earned. You'll also want to list any relevant work experience. Even if it was a non-technical position, find a way to tie it into your new role and explain how your skills transfer.
Add a downloadable resume
Give people the opportunity to choose how they want to access your information. Some will prefer reading it on the computer, while others may print out a hard copy instead. This is especially true in traditional work settings that have a human resources department.
Add your bio in an "About" page
Along with your skills and experience, hiring managers want to know a little about who you are as a person. Use your bio to share any relevant information that doesn't quite fit elsewhere in your portfolio or resume. Share an anecdote about why you got into programming — tell your visitors why front-end development is your dream career. Explain what drew you to it and why.
Include a photo
People like to put a face to a name. This builds trust and shows people you're a professional.
Use a picture appropriate for a portfolio. Formal attire is a plus. It's all about the first impression, so make it count.
Make your contact information easy to find
If potential clients or employers need to wade through your portfolio to find your email address or phone number, they'll likely take their business elsewhere.
Many people prefer using email, so consider making that your primary point of contact. Listing your email address as a clickable link is a plus, as recruiters can reach out to you directly from your portfolio. Lastly, you'll want to add a phone number as a secondary contact option.
Add social media accounts
Only include links to active accounts with regular postings. These should go on the about or contact page.
A LinkedIn profile is a necessity. Everyone from freelancers to full-time employees should have one. It can serve as a resume on its own, but it's also where job recruiters and clients go to find talent.
Establish a presence on industry-specific platforms. These include:
- GitHub for developers
- Dribbble or Behance for designers
Ensure the information on each account is current. Only include those accounts that are relevant to your industry.
If you're including social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, follow a few important rules:
- Never complain about an employer (past or present) or any of your coworkers.
- Don't post unprofessional pictures.
- Avoid getting caught up in any drama.
Most employers or clients will check if social media accounts are included in the portfolio. Keep this in mind when posting.
List your specialties and services
Listing your specialties will help your portfolio stand out to clients and employers who are looking for specific services. For example, a small business owner may want to target only Front-End Developers who create websites for startups or smaller companies.
With such a wide array of skills and specialties in the tech industry, even for specific roles like Front-End Developers, listing your specialties is a great way to distinguish yourself from the competition. Plus, it'll also help you screen unsuitable clients by decreasing queries from people who want something completely different.
Include testimonials and awards
Positive words from clients won't go unnoticed by potential employers. This benefits all Front-End Developers, whether new or seasoned.
A testimonial can be something as simple as a few sentences about a specific service provided to a client. It can also be a review of a completed job.
Along with your clients' testimonials, list any recognition or awards you've received. These can include:
- An award for project involvement
- Winning a contest
- Placing in a hackathon or other relevant competition
Adding your clients' testimonials and awards to your portfolio helps showcase your real-life experience, dedication to the industry, and creativity.
Include relevant projects
Your projects are one of the most essential components of your portfolio. By illustrating your proficiency with the tools in your tech stack, your projects will help recruiters gauge your capacity with the competencies required for the position.
If you haven't completed any projects, don't worry. The opportunities are endless. As a Front-End Developer, your projects should illustrate your ability to make attractive, functional web pages with beautiful visual elements and user interfaces. So, build a few websites. While you're at it, test out some new languages and frameworks to add to your tech stack.
If you need help finding projects to include in your portfolio, check out our Front-End Engineer Career Path. Throughout the Path, you'll refresh your knowledge of front-end tools and concepts and use them to build several projects that'll showcase your skills to prospective employers. You'll also earn a certificate you can feature in your portfolio or resume, and we'll even give you some tips on how you can ace your upcoming technical interviews.