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Portfolio Projects for all Skill Levels

Whether you are just starting your journey as a programmer or you have a few years under your belt, every programmer needs a working portfolio. A well put-together portfolio is almost an unspoken requirement to get into any sought after position. Before anybody will hire you, they have to make yourself stand out and prove that you are the right person for the job.

Read on to learn what it takes to put together a programmer’s working portfolio, the benefits of having one, and how it will help you land your dream job.

Why You Need a Working Portfolio As a Software Developer

A programmer’s working portfolio is more than just a PDF that tells a potential employer why they should hire you. It is an ever-growing list of completed projects and works in progress that shows off just what you are capable of; anybody can talk a big game but to be able to prove that you can do the things that are listed on your resume is crucial. Having a portfolio that has anywhere between three and seven completed projects that show off the skills listed on your resume is going to put you ahead of most of the competition when applying for a position.

How to Build a Working Portfolio

Building a working portfolio with GitHub is one of the go to methods, the technology is simple and easy to learn, having a large community behind it that are happy to help newcomers, as well as it is completely free to use, and on top of that, most companies that develop their own software use GitHub and the tools that power it to help keep all of their developers on the same page. This means that once you learn how to use this powerful technology, it will be one less thing the company will have to train you on and one more reason they will want to hire you.

The other method of building a working portfolio is to build a personal website that showcases your projects. This is a time-consuming process that is often unneeded as an entry-level programmer.

This article is focused on the projects you can work on and post on GitHub, how to set up a GitHub account or build a personal website will not be covered in this article.

If you do not already have a GitHub account setup, you can set one up Here.

Before You Start

These projects have been categorized into three different sections:

  • Beginner – For anybody that is just starting their programming journey and would like a short and fairly simple project to help learn how to code and to start off their portfolio with.
  • Intermediate – For programmers that have a couple of months of experience under their belt and are starting to understand the concepts of programming.
  • Expert – These projects are going to be for experienced programmers that feel as though they truly understand what is going on in their selected language and want to challenge their skills. These will take the longest to complete and will look perfect on your portfolio.

When it comes to knowing which project to start, try to take into consideration the type of job you are wanting to get. If a project seems to be more back-end based, it would be better for people aiming to become a back-end developer, if it is UI/UX based, it would be better to work on it if you are wanting to be a UI or UX designer.

Secondly, when a potential employer is looking through your portfolio, they would rather see one or two completed and polished projects instead of five or six projects that have been started but not completed. Pick one project and stick with it until you finish it, once you finish it, work on optimizing and polishing it before moving on.

How to Start

  1. Sign up on GitHub if you haven’t already.
  2. Pick a project from the list below.
  3. Create a brand new GitHub repository for the project you’ve picked.
  4. Start coding on the project, try to reinvent the wheel and create new and unique solutions to the problems you encounter, and stay away from solutions you find online as much as you can.
  5. Once finished, comment your code, try to find ways to optimize it and make it faster, and polish it up.
  6. Push it to GitHub and start showing it off.

Projects

Beginner

  • A Simple Web Scraper
  • A Cipher
  • A Leap Year Calculator
  • A Stock Price Tracker
  • A Hangman Game
  • A Library Management System

Intermediate

  • An Unbeatable Tic-Tac-Toe Game
  • A Calculator
  • A Simple Web Browser
  • A Bandwidth Meter
  • A Mock Banking System
  • Write a BigInt Library
  • A Quiz Game
  • Minesweeper Style Game

Expert

  • A Simple Operating System
  • A Peer-to-Peer Messaging System

Projects Without a Prompt

  • Make a Mock Website For an Imaginary Business
  • Build a Mobile Application and Publish it to an App Store
  • Build a 2d Video Game

Takeaways

  • A programmer’s working portfolio is meant to be updated and changed as you learn and grow as a developer, so make sure that you continue to build projects and add to your portfolio as you learn new languages, techniques, and technologies.
  • As you progress as a developer, you may want to build a personal website that can better showcase your skills and allow you to sell yourself as a developer.
  • Pick one project to work on at a time, complete it, optimize it, and polish it before moving onto something new for your portfolio.