You have worked hard and completed several projects as you learned about computer science and all its difficult concepts. And now, it’s time to put them out in the open and show your future potential employers what you can do.
But a question arises, how to display projects in your coding portfolio? What’s the most effective way to show the recruiters and hiring managers all the complexity and elegance of your applications?
In this article, we will show you the best ways to display your projects in a coding portfolio, so you can impress others and get the internship or a job you deserve!
What Is a Coding Portfolio?
A coding portfolio is basically an exhibition of your programming projects. It’s a collection of your best coding work that demonstrates your abilities to potential employers or clients.
Think of your coding portfolio as a personalized gallery where you display the projects you’ve built, the problems you’ve solved, and the technologies you’ve mastered.
A coding portfolio can include a variety of things, such as websites you’ve built, web applications you designed, mobile apps you published, or open-source projects you’ve contributed to.
A coding portfolio is a way to present your projects in a tangible and visual format, allowing others to view your code, demo your applications, and read about your projects.
Why Is a Coding Portfolio Important for a Developer?
A coding portfolio is crucial for developers who are looking for internships or entry-level jobs. Why is that?
When you are still a student or a recent graduate, you likely don’t have real job experience, maybe an internship or two. But what guarantee can you provide for potential employers that you are a good hire if you haven’t yet proved yourself in a professional setting?
That’s where your coding portfolio comes into play. Your personal projects are the closest thing to a demonstration of work aptitude that you possess as an inexperienced developer. It’s how you can show potentially interested parties how you approach a large problem, divide it into smaller tasks and implement your solutions.
A coding portfolio is your chance to make the recruiters believe you are worth the opportunity they are offering. It provides tangible evidence of your abilities and showcases your passion and dedication to coding.
When employers review your portfolio, they can assess your technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and creativity in a practical context. It sets you apart from other candidates who may only rely on resumes or academic achievements.
Your coding portfolio tells a story about your capabilities and potential as a developer, giving employers the confidence to consider you for internships or entry-level positions.
The Best Ways to Display Projects in a Coding Portfolio
There is more than one way to display your personal projects in a coding portfolio that will attract the attention of recruiters. We will discuss each, along with their advantages and shortcomings below.
The most common and straightforward way to talk about your portfolio of software projects is putting them directly on your resume.
Having a dedicated section with your best work will ensure that recruiters and hiring managers have a look at your projects. After all, a resume is the first and most important place that does not get neglected by the eyes of employers.
The best way to present your portfolio of projects on your resume is after the “Work experience” section (if you have any).
Make sure to mention the project name, the technologies used, and any notable outcomes or achievements. If you have any source code or demos available, insert a link for the employers to click on, if they feel so inclined.
Here is a nice example of how (and where) your Projects section should look like.
Another effective way to showcase your coding projects is by creating a dedicated GitHub repository. GitHub is a widely recognized platform for version control and collaboration, making it an ideal choice for displaying your work to potential employers.
By creating a repository for each project, you can provide detailed documentation, code samples, and demonstrations. This allows recruiters and hiring managers to explore your projects in-depth, examine your coding style, and assess your problem-solving skills.
When creating a GitHub repository for your projects, here’s what you should pay attention to:
- Provide a clear and concise project description: Make sure to not skip the project description field! Point to the overall purpose of your application and main features. That way, visitors will be able to navigate your code better!
- Organize your code: I guess it’s a general programming tip, but make your code readable (be consistent with camel case vs. snake case when naming variables, for example). Also, use clear file and folder naming conventions and include a README file that provides instructions on how to run the project locally.
- Showcase your best work: Feature your most impressive projects prominently on your GitHub profile. Pin these repositories to the top of your profile to ensure they catch the attention of visitors.
- Include documentation: Write comprehensive documentation that explains the project’s functionality, features, and any notable achievements. Add screenshots or GIFs to visually showcase the user interface or key components. Trust us, it will make a huge difference in the hiring manager’s eyes!
- Demonstrate collaboration skills: If you have collaborated with others on a project (which we recommend you do for at least one project), highlight your contributions and mention the team members’ names or GitHub handles. This demonstrates your ability to work effectively in a team environment.
- Link to live demos or hosted applications: If applicable, provide links to live demos or deployed versions of your projects (more about this in the sections below!). This allows recruiters to experience the project firsthand and see it in action.
By leveraging GitHub’s features and best practices, you can create an impressive portfolio that demonstrates your coding expertise and professionalism.
Here are some of the best GitHub profiles we’ve seen (presented for your inspiration):
Another innovative way to showcase your coding projects is by creating a YouTube demo channel. YouTube provides a dynamic platform where you can visually demonstrate the functionality and features of your projects through video content.
Here’s what you get to do by choosing a YouTube channel as your portfolio medium:
- Demonstrate project functionality: Record video demonstrations of your projects to showcase their key features and user experience. This allows recruiters to see your projects in action and ignite their interest.
- Provide project explanations: Use video tutorials to explain the technical aspects of your projects. You can walk viewers through your codebase, discuss design patterns, and explain the problem-solving strategies you implemented, since you’ve already grabbed their attention.
- Share your thought process: Use the video platform to share your insights, challenges faced, and lessons learned during the development of your projects. This adds a personal touch and allows recruiters to assess your critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
When creating a YouTube demo channel for your projects, consider the following tips:
- Keep the videos concise: Aim for shorter videos that focus on specific aspects or features of your projects. This allows viewers to quickly grasp the key points without losing interest.
- Use clear visuals and narration: Ensure that your videos have clear visual quality, legible code snippets, and audible narration. Use screen recording software and a good microphone to provide a professional viewing experience. Consider using a front-camera window to show your face in a small window as well.
- Include project details and links: In the video descriptions or video overlays, provide links to relevant project repositories. This allows interested viewers to explore your projects further.
- Put a link to your channel on your resume: Make sure to link your YouTube channel with your project demos in your resume. This way, recruiters will have a shortcut leading directly to your videos.
When it comes to displaying your coding projects, a portfolio website offers a versatile platform for showcasing your work in a visually appealing and personalized manner.
You can leverage various elements to present your projects effectively, including project descriptions, screenshots, YouTube demos, or a combination of these methods.
Provide concise and compelling descriptions of your projects on your portfolio website. Clearly explain the purpose, functionality, and technologies used in each project. Highlight any notable achievements, challenges overcome, or unique features. Use language that showcases your passion and expertise, and aim to capture the interest of recruiters.
Including screenshots of your projects is a great way to give visitors a visual representation of your work.
If your project is a mobile app, consider using phone frames (see below) to present screenshots, making them appear realistic and engaging.
Showcasing the user interface and key features through screenshots helps potential employers understand the visual appeal and usability of your projects.
Credit: Vega IT
Incorporating YouTube demos into your portfolio website adds an interactive element to the presentation of your projects. Record video demonstrations that showcase the functionality, user experience, and key features of your projects, and add the videos directly to your portfolio webpage!
By visually illustrating how your projects work, you provide a deeper level of understanding to recruiters and engage them in a more immersive way.
Combination of the Above
To create a comprehensive and engaging portfolio, consider combining descriptions, screenshots, and YouTube demos.
Start with a concise project description that highlights its purpose and key features. Follow it up with relevant screenshots that visually showcase the project’s interface.
Finally, embed or link YouTube demos that provide a more detailed walkthrough of your projects, allowing recruiters to experience them firsthand.
Remember to maintain an aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly design for your portfolio website. Keep the layout clean, navigation intuitive, and ensure that your projects are easy to find and explore.
Make sure to put a link to your portfolio website on your resume (in the head under your name). Regularly update your portfolio with new projects and refine existing ones to demonstrate your continuous growth and dedication to your craft.
Also, make sure to read our separate article on how to create a computer science portfolio website on your own!
Here are some of the best coding portfolio websites we have seen:
All right! So, obviously displaying your coding projects in a portfolio is crucial for impressing potential employers and showcasing your skills. Let’s review the best ways to do so as a recap.
Firstly, include a dedicated section in your resume with project names, technologies used, and notable achievements. Provide links to source code or demos for further exploration.
Creating a GitHub repository for each project allows for organized code, comprehensive documentation, and prominent showcasing of your best work. Include live demos or hosted applications whenever possible.
Consider creating a YouTube demo channel to visually demonstrate project functionality and share insights. Keep videos concise and provide links to relevant repositories.
A portfolio website offers a versatile platform. Use project descriptions, screenshots, YouTube demos, or a combination to effectively present your work. Ensure a visually appealing and user-friendly design.
If you do manage to implement these tips on how to display projects in your coding portfolio, you can make sure to demonstrate your creativity, skills, and expertise to the potential employers. Make yourself stand out and increase your chances of securing internships or entry-level positions in the coding field!
Elmar Mammadov is a software developer, tech startup founder, and computer science career specialist. He is the founder of CS Careerline and a true career changer who has previously pursued careers in medicine and neuroscience.
Due to his interest in programming and years of past personal experience in coding, he decided to break into the tech industry by attending a Master’s in Computer Science for career changers at University of Pennsylvania. Elmar passionately writes and coaches about breaking into the tech industry and computer science in general.