How to Create an Impressive Software Engineer Portfolio That Will Land You the Job

Whether you’re a freelance developer looking for clients, a junior developer looking for your first development job, or a senior-level developer with years of experience, having a portfolio is essential. Your portfolio will help you showcase your skills and stand out from your peers during your job search.

Watch the video below for a step-by-step breakdown of how to create your own portfolio. (And check out Part 2 to learn how to make it even better.)

Then we’ll take a look at what you should include in your software developer portfolio, along with tips for how to build your collection of portfolio projects, where to host your portfolio, and more.

Having a strong portfolio is crucial for software engineers and developers looking to land a job in today’s competitive market Your portfolio acts as proof of your skills and experience, allowing you to stand out from other applicants But creating an effective portfolio can be a daunting task if you’re not sure where to start.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to build an impressive software engineering portfolio that will catch the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.

Why You Need a Portfolio as a Software Engineer

As a software engineer, your portfolio is one of the best ways to showcase your programming skills and abilities to potential employers. Here are some key reasons why a portfolio is essential:

  • Demonstrates your technical skills: Rather than just listing skills on your resume, your portfolio shows concrete examples of projects you’ve worked on and the specific technologies you’ve used.

  • Shows your experience Even if you’re new to the field a portfolio highlights the projects and experience you do have like from internships, freelance work, or personal projects.

  • Differentiates you from other candidates: With a portfolio, you can stand out from the competition by going beyond just submitting a resume.

  • Supports your resume: Your portfolio complements and provides evidence for the skills and experience outlined on your resume.

  • Acts as a networking tool: You can share your portfolio website link on networking profiles like LinkedIn to give contacts a better idea of your work.

  • Speaks to your commitment: The time and effort spent creating a portfolio shows your dedication to software engineering as a career.

How to Choose Projects for Your Portfolio

Choosing which projects to showcase is one of the most important parts of creating your portfolio. Here are some tips on selecting projects:

  • Lead with your best work: Quality matters more than quantity. Lead with your strongest 1-3 projects that really showcase your skills.

  • Highlight a range of skills: Choose projects that demonstrate a diverse skill-set like front-end, back-end, full-stack, mobile, algorithms, etc.

  • Include thorough project details: For each project, explain the goal, your role, technologies used, challenges faced, and results achieved.

  • Incorporate code samples: Include snippets of code or link to GitHub repositories to exhibit your programming skills in action.

  • Showcase solo and team projects: Prove you can work independently as well as collaborate effectively on teams.

  • Add impressive class/internship projects: Don’t underestimate including projects from college courses or internships that allowed you to apply your skills.

  • Consider personal projects: Personal projects and hobby apps indicate your passion and motivation to code outside of work.

How to Effectively Showcase Your Projects

Once you’ve decided on projects, you need to showcase them for maximum impact. Here are tips:

  • Highlight project visuals: Include screenshots, interface designs, animations, diagrams, and more to make projects visually compelling.

  • Embed videos: Use screen recordings to walk through your projects, explaining key features and functionality.

  • Link to live sites: Provide links to try out web apps and sites you’ve deployed.

  • Include GitHub repos: Link to GitHub code repositories so viewers can inspect your actual code.

  • Leverage README files: Flesh out GitHub repos with README files explaining your approach, architecture, challenges, and results.

  • Be detailed yet concise: Use summaries and bullet points to explain projects thoroughly but concisely so users can scan details quickly.

  • Show the final product: Demonstrate the end result and impact of your work, not just the coding behind it.

How to Effectively Design and Structure Your Portfolio

In addition to your projects, the design and structure of your overall portfolio are equally important. Here are some design tips:

  • Keep it simple: Avoid over-complicating the design. Use plenty of white space and clean layouts that allow projects to shine.

  • Make it easy to navigate: Use clear navigation menus and structure the content in an intuitive, logical flow.

  • Focus on responsive design: Ensure your portfolio looks great and functions well on mobile as well as desktop.

  • Incorporate some personality: Consider adding design elements that reflect your style, but don’t go overboard.

  • Highlight key information: Structure content to spotlight your skills, experience, projects, and contact info prominently.

  • Use consistent branding: Maintain a cohesive visual style and tone throughout your portfolio.

  • Include a short bio: Give a quick overview of your background and what drives you as an engineer.

  • Make contact info accessible: Provide links to your email, LinkedIn, GitHub, and other profiles.

  • Showcase your blog: If you maintain a technical blog, link to it from your portfolio.

  • Add your resume: Include a downloadable PDF version of your resume.

Where and How to Host Your Portfolio

You have several options when it comes to hosting your software engineering portfolio:

  • GitHub Pages: This free hosting option allows you to create project pages and websites directly from GitHub repositories.

  • LinkedIn Profile: Build your portfolio right into your LinkedIn profile using their features for showcasing projects.

  • Personal Website: Use web hosting services to register your own domain name and host a custom portfolio site. Popular options include Bluehost, HostGator, and GoDaddy.

  • Website Builders: Tools like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly offer easy drag-and-drop website creation with professional portfolio templates.

  • Shared Hosting: Web hosts like Hostinger offer cheap shared hosting plans starting around $2/month for basic portfolio hosting needs.

The best option depends on your budget, coding skills, design preferences, and hosting requirements. Building your own portfolio website from scratch is impressive, but starting with templates can save time.

5 Crucial Tips for Creating Your Portfolio

Keeping these tips in mind will help ensure you build an effective portfolio:

  • Showcase both soft and technical skills: Balance showcasing coding abilities with communication, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

  • Adapt your portfolio for each application: Tailor which projects you highlight based on the skills needed for specific jobs you’re applying to.

  • Ask others to review your portfolio: Get unbiased feedback from mentors, colleagues, and non-technical friends on your portfolio.

  • Update your portfolio regularly: Continually add new projects and refine descriptions as you gain more experience.

  • Link to your portfolio on your resume: Put the URL front and center on your resume to direct readers to your portfolio.

Final Thoughts on Creating Your Software Engineering Portfolio

Developing an impressive portfolio does take time and effort, but it’s one of the best investments you can make in your software engineering career. The portfolio creation process will help refine your skills as you assemble project examples that highlight the unique value you bring to the table.

Remember to focus on quality over quantity, effectively showcase the details of each project, and craft a portfolio tailored to the types of roles you’re interested in. Treat your portfolio as a fluid, ever-evolving body of work. Continue iterating on it over time as you gain more experience and skills to showcase.

With a comprehensive portfolio that demonstrates your abilities as a software engineer, you’ll be able to stand out and get noticed by recruiters and hiring managers. A portfolio provides the evidence you need to back up your resume and will drastically improve your chances of landing the software engineering job you want!

how to create software engineer portfolio

Learn something new for free

Your portfolio doesn’t need to be a complete website — it can just be a simple page. In fact, it should be. Recruiters and hiring managers are reviewing a lot of portfolios and have limited time to spend with yours. So if you are thinking of including a TL;DR section, it may contain too much information. However, here are some details you should include.

We’ll start with what to include in your About section. This is the non-technical section of your portfolio. It’s where you’ll let visitors and recruiters know a little bit more about you, share some high level experience, and let people know how to contact you. Here are some things to include in this section.


You’ll want to describe aspects of your personality. Maybe describe why you got into programming. You can also include any hobbies or activities. There’s no need to go overboard, but this is where you can show your personality.

Contact information

This is the most important part. Make sure that people can contact you from your portfolio page. Include at least your email. Many recruiters like to contact candidates by phone, but having your phone number visible may result in unwanted calls, so that decision is up to you.

Relevant skills

You’ll want to list your technical skills. Don’t list everything — just those skills you are strong in and want to work with again. If you are currently looking for a job, update the skills section to fit the job you want. Want more to add to this section? Learn a new language or skill from our course catalog.

Related social media profiles

The obvious links to have here include your Github, Bitbucket, Gitlab, and LinkedIn profiles. There also might be other profiles you want to add. If you actively answer questions at Stack Overflow, Quora, or Reddit, you should add links to those profiles. Of course, you only want to add links to those if you have a good reputation and focus on technology topics.

Awards, contests, or other recognition

Add links to any articles or books that you have published. If you entered a coding contest and won, add it. If you captured a big bug bounty, add that too.

A link to your resume

Recruiters and HR always want a hard copy, so it is essential to include a link to your resume so they can print it out.

What types of projects should you include in your portfolio? You can include a mix of professional projects and personal projects, depending on where you are in your professional journey.

Note: While screenshots or website links may suffice during the initial stages of the hiring process, you’ll also to “show your work” (i.e. your source code) to impress the technical people involved. Choose a free software repository like Github, Bitbucket, or Gitlab and add your source code. Make sure to add documentation to your projects to explain what they are as well as how to use them.

Professional projects

If you’re more experienced, you’ll likely have a variety of projects you worked on for others, whether a client, a job, or a programming course. Link to the projects so recruiters can see your work in action.

Make sure to include projects that utilize technologies that you’d like to work on again. Also include any relevant details about the project, like screenshots, who the project was for, and when you completed it. If the project is a live website, link to it.

Personal projects

If you’re new to programming and are looking for your first development job, you may not have related experience other than the projects you completed for a course. That’s ok! If your projects section is light, it’s ok to add personal projects to boost your portfolio.

Do you need a software developer portfolio?

Every developer who has completed a few development projects should have a software developer portfolio. While a technical resume may be enough to start applying to some jobs, a portfolio will show that you can actually use all the skills listed in your resume.

Plus, resumes are usually only seen when you are looking for a job, while your portfolio can work for you all the time. You can share a link on your LinkedIn and social profiles like Twitter to let your contacts see what you can do. Through your portfolio, contacts can learn more about you, see your work — and it makes networking and introductions easy. Who knows? Maybe the best job will come when you aren’t even looking for it.

Of course, if you haven’t created any projects yet you won’t need to create a portfolio just yet. But the fact that you’re reading this article shows you’re in the right spot to start building a strong portfolio as you start creating your own professional-grade projects. If you’re learning with Codecademy, you’ll find Portfolio Projects built into our Career Paths, giving you the opportunity to start building out your portfolio as you go.

How to Build Your First Developer Portfolio (2022)

How do I create a software engineering portfolio?

Use your own images to set your portfolio apart from others that use stock images. Build a portfolio based on a theme. To help create a software engineering portfolio that stands out, pick a theme. For example, you might be interested in building a career in the cybersecurity industry. Create a portfolio that’s themed around that topic.

What makes a good software engineering portfolio?

Think out of the box. To make your software engineering portfolio stand out, embrace your creativity and think beyond conventional project ideas. Draw inspiration from your educational journey, personal interests, and dream job aspirations. Don’t shy away from exploring fun and innovative projects alongside practical ones.

What should a software engineer portfolio look like?

Your portfolio should showcase your best work, and one of the best ways to do this is by highlighting your most impressive software engineer portfolio projects. Choose projects that demonstrate your technical abilities and show your potential clients or employers what you’re capable of.

What is a software engineer portfolio?

Literally. Anyone can *say* they’re good at something, but a software engineer portfolio is the evidence that you actually have the skills you’ve listed on your resume. The projects you showcase provide real-life examples of how you work—and the approach you might bring to the companies you’re applying for.

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