If you’re just starting out in your career as a developer, you may not have a lot of relevant job experience to list on your resume. Maybe you did an internship or have some freelance experience, but you don’t have that solid one to two years of full-time experience yet.
While this is a hurdle in the job-hunting process, the good news is: A great Junior Developer portfolio can help close that gap by showing hiring managers that you can start and finish a major project, apply your theoretical knowledge to real-world problems, and work effectively in a team.
Whether you’re a Back-End Developer showing off your best PHP or Ruby projects, or a Front-End Developer displaying screenshots of your latest Python or Swift app, portfolios are the best way for hiring managers and recruiters to see the results of all the hard work you put into your new development career.
Most developer portfolios are online, either as standalone websites or as part of your personal website. Here are the key sections to include in your portfolio and what to put in each one.
The bio you include in your portfolio can be a high-level summary of your professional background, relevant experience, education, and any awards or achievements you want to highlight.
You may also want to point out a passion project you’re proud of that shows off your developer skills, as well as a bit about who you are — like your hobbies or an interesting fact about yourself.
Contact information and resume
Just like on your resume, make sure your name and professional email address are easy to spot. You can also include links to your social media accounts and/or a blog in this section if they’re relevant.
Even though you’ll submit your resume to the hiring manager when you apply for jobs, you still want to include it here, whether it’s a PDF download or a link to another page. You never know who might be looking at your work. Hiring managers and recruiters often reach out to qualified professionals even if they don’t directly apply to a job.
Projects and experience
It can be tricky to know which projects to include in your portfolio, especially if you have a wide range of work you’re proud of. But you want to be selective here and pick the ones that are most relevant to the jobs you’re applying to and showcase the skills that’ll help you get an interview.
Are you trying to get a job at a mobile app start-up? Then you likely want to pick projects that highlight your work in Swift, Go, or Kotlin. Looking to get into game development? Consider including screenshots and video reels along with your projects in C++, Python, and Java.
Under each project, write a brief description. You’ll want to include details like your specific responsibilities, the overall scope of work, and results. You can also write about the issues or challenges you faced during the project and how you overcame them. Hiring managers like to learn how you approach obstacles in your work. This is a place to also mention your soft skills — like communication, organization, and leadership — and how you used them.
Looking for ways to add more projects to your portfolio? Our Career Paths include Portfolio Projects where you use the skills you’ve learned to build a project that you can include in your portfolio. If you’re interested in web development, check out our Full-Stack, Front-End, and Back-End Developer Career Paths. For mobile development, you can take a look at our iOS Developer Career Path, and for game development, our Create Video Games with Parser.js has a final project that could be included in your portfolio.
From programming languages to libraries to APIs, developers can have a wide range of skills, but the ones you decide to highlight in your portfolio should relate to the specific roles you're applying to.
To make sure you’re including the most important skills to match the job requirements, you can scan the job descriptions to help you prioritize which skills to list. And remember to include a few of your soft skills in this section along with your hard skills.
If you have any great testimonials or feedback from past projects, you can absolutely include those in your portfolio. This is a great way to show the value of your work from someone else’s point of view. This goes for awards as well — don’t hesitate to include any awards or other professional recognition you’ve received.
A note on your portfolio and your personal brand
Even if you’re not planning to pursue a career in web design or Front-End Development, you can — and should — approach your portfolio website as part of your personal brand. That means getting a personalized, easy-to-remember domain name and putting some thought into the aesthetic of your portfolio. Remember that hiring managers look through tons of portfolios, so picking a memorable layout can help yours stand out.
How to create a Junior Developer portfolio
Building a portfolio from scratch can be especially helpful for Junior Developers, giving you a chance to gain real-world experience and illustrate your skills to prospective employers. Learn how in the video below:
And if you want to make it even better, check out Part 2.
Take your Junior Developer portfolio to the next level
As a Junior Developer, you’re probably looking for ways to beef up your portfolio while also learning new skills to advance your career. Depending on which direction you want to go in, we have one-off courses and complete career paths to help you get to the next level.
If you’re working in web development, we have a full range of courses covering everything from back-end app development to software design principles. And if you’re just starting out, you can pick from Full-Stack, Front-End, and Back-End development. For mobile development, you can learn how to build basic Android apps and iOS apps. And for game development, you can take your ideas and turn them into reality with our Learn Game Development with Phaser.js course, or learn A-Frame (VR).
In addition to your portfolio, you’ll also need a great resume to land an interview as a Junior Developer. Check out these tips on how to write a Junior Developer resume that’ll catch the hiring manager’s eye. Also, check out our Career Center for more advice and guides on job-hunting and interviewing.