Programmer Portfolio Websites

In the Web Fundamentals course I teach at Saint Paul College, I require students to create a final project website. The final website project gives students an opportunity to develop and publish a website demonstrating the skills that they learned in class.

Most students choose to make a portfolio website for their final project website. Some students in the course are studying design and can use the final project to display their existing artwork as well as what they learned in Web Fundamentals. At the same time, some students in the course are studying programming, and they may have fewer ideas of what to include in a programming portfolio website.

How do Programming Students Benefit from a Portfolio Website?

While programming is an in-demand skill in the marketplace, it can be challenging to get a first programming job. The high demand in the marketplace is for experienced programmers, and not as strong for beginner-level programmers. During your time as a student, gain as many experiences as you can and document those experiences. In order to get a first internship, aspiring programmers need a solid resume and presence on the world wide web that demonstrates that they have programming experience.

Before you are interviewed, companies will use Google search to see what they can find out about your work to date. The recruiter will review your profile on LinkedIn, and the hiring manager will be checking your work on Github. It is important that you control what companies will find.

Here is a short list of what you can do to build a presence on the web:

  1. Have a robust LinkedIn profile with recommendations. Ask fellow students, professors, and friends to write a recommendation for you. As you gain experiences, update your LinkedIn profile.
  2. Contribute to public programming projects, especially on Github, but also on JSFiddle and CodePen.
  3. Purchase a domain and create a portfolio of your programming experiences. As an alternative, you can publish your profile to Github pages.

Of course, in addition to having a public presence on the web, do all that you can to network by joining Meetup groups and requesting informational interviews.

Web Page Ideas for Programmers

Here is a list of possible pages for a programming portfolio:

  1. List of Projects. Create a detailed list of programming projects you have worked on, including details on the languages used for each project. Include class projects on your list. For my portfolio website I wanted to include some important projects I had completed, so I created this page: As you can see, it is just a description of some projects. As you gain experience and add more projects, you can continue to build on your list. If you are studying Java, this is a way for you to share your work.
  2. JavaScript Calculators. Look around on CodePen and find the code for a JavaScript calculator of some sort. Add or change the features of the CodePen. You can also embed a JSFiddle or CodePen on a web page. Be sure to explain what code you used from the existing CodePen and what you added to it. A potential employer will appreciate your honesty and your effort to give credit to others.
  3. JavaScript Games. Look for a JavaScript game tutorial, and modify it to make it your own, similar to what we did with the Flappy Bird game. Again, be sure to give credit to the original developer of the game.
  4. CodePens or JSFiddles. If you have any CodePens or JSFiddles that you have saved, you can embed them as code examples.
  5. More complex Bootstrap. There is much more that you can do with Bootstrap than we cover in class. Look for some Bootstrap tutorials and add that code to your project.
  6. Display Code. If nothing else, you can display your code on a webpage.
  7. CSS Animations. In the course I teach I gloss over CSS Animations, because they are challenging for beginners. As a programming student, CSS Animations are definitely within your reach. Why not play around with some animations and put them on a page?

I hope this list gives you some ideas that will help you make meaningful portfolio that will help you get your first programming job.