Published on November 29, 2020
Checklist For Building A Developer Portfolio
3 min read
As a developer, it is important to put yourself out on the web and share ideas. Doing so will not only help other developers, but also improve your approach to certain ways of writing code.
Having a developer portfolio will also give you a lot more visibility for your next job or a freelance gig.
Sidenote: Some of the below points may be from a web developer point of view.
Defining your audience
A portfolio is like a digital introduction to who you are and what you do. That means, if you need to have a good first impression and stand out, you need to wisely craft your portfolio.
This doesn’t mean that you need to build it from scratch. But don’t copy someone else’s template.
Before you start building the site, fix the audience you expect to visit your website. It can be one or many among the following.
- Other Developers
- Recruiters / Hiring managers
- Clients, while freelancing
- Companies, if they want to sponsor or do a collab based on your content
Why choose audience?
The kind of content you need to showcase will change based on your audience. When developers visit your portfolio, they would be more interested in the kind of work you do, open source projects, informative blogs etc.
And when recruiters visit, they would look more at your work history, educational background and projects/roles that you are a part of.
Sometimes, you will need to have content for multiple category of audiences. In that case, all the necessary information should be accessible.
I use my portfolio site as a playground for learning new frameworks. In the last few years, I’ve re-written my portfolio over 4 times as part of learning new things. During this process, I have created a list of things that I think are necessary for a portfolio.
- Homepage (highlight content for your target audience)
- About You
- Photo (makes the site feel human)
- Your Goals
- Skill set
- Work history
- Your preferences for work
- Projects (could be the ones from work or personal projects)
- Project screenshots
- Live demo
- Prefer custom images as much as possible
- Podcasts / Videos
- Downloadable resume
- Contact (Email and Social media, optionally an inline form)
- Website responsiveness (mobile friendly)
- Meta Tags (so that the portfolio is sharable with link preview - even slack has previews)
- Sitemap for search engines
- Add site to Google webmaster tools/Bing webmaster tools
- Google Analytics or any other analytics service
- Add robots.txt / humans.txt
- Fast loading (measure performance with google lighthouse score, aim for over 90)
- schema.org json (person schema - optional)
- Web mention (optional)
If your portfolio needs to impress visitors, consider adding some UI interactions for user actions like scrolling and mouse hover. Even page load animations with custom loaders can leave a good impression.
Your creativity only stands out!
Disclaimer: This list is in no way complete. There will always be new things coming up which can be added.
Do you have a portfolio?
I would like to check it out. DM me the link to your portfolio on Twitter so that I can take a look. I would also be happy to review if required.
I talk about the latest in frontend, along with my experience in building various (Indie) side-projects