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Portfolio-building tips for aspiring web developers

Discover essential tips for building a standout web developer portfolio: from highlighting skills to selecting projects, ensure your work stands out in the competitive job market.

The Frontend Mentor team


8 Dec 2023

Building an engaging web development portfolio can help you showcase your skills and make an excellent impression on potential employers. It's not just about making it visually appealing but also about effectively demonstrating your unique talents and technical skillset.

In a recent community discussion, we asked our community of web developers  the question, "What tips would you offer to someone embarking on the journey of creating their first portfolio?”

We're excited to share some key points of their advice and suggestions in this article. Whether you're a novice just starting out or looking to refine your existing portfolio, these insights will hopefully provide some useful ideas to help you put your best foot forward when applying for jobs.

Showcase your skills and achievements

The primary aim of your portfolio is to showcase your abilities and accomplishments. It's essential that it's designed in a way that allows the most crucial elements – your skills, experience, and achievements – to be displayed clearly. This ensures viewers can effortlessly access and appreciate your expertise without digging for it. By highlighting your best work and making your key skills impossible to miss, your portfolio becomes an effective tool for demonstrating your professional journey and technical skillset. Remember, clarity and accessibility are the cornerstones of a successful portfolio.

Using templates is practical

If you lack confidence in your design skills, using portfolio templates is perfectly fine. However, it's important to prioritize simplicity and present your projects in a clear way. Creating your portfolio can be time-consuming, so using a template is an acceptable alternative. The time and energy saved can be better spent on refactoring your code or working on an additional project.

If you want to create your own portfolio, consider utilizing one of Frontend Mentor’s portfolio-based challenges. You could try out the single-page developer portfolio or the minimalist portfolio website challenges.

Best practices for detailing your expertise

One common pet peeve among developers is using percentages to indicate skill levels. A percentage does not accurately reflect someone's expertise, as web development constantly evolves, and the individual arbitrarily assigns ratings that don’t mean anything. Instead, use adjectives like "newbie," "proficient," or "advanced" to indicate skill levels, making it easier for recruiters to understand your capabilities.  If you have professional experience using specific languages or tools, you could mention how many years of experience you have worked with them professionally. For example, "React.js - 2 years experience".

Project selection criteria

Don't feel the need to include every project you've ever done in your portfolio. Focus on displaying projects that matter the most and are relevant to your desired role. Quality over quantity will make a better impression on potential employers. Remember, recruiters don't necessarily have the time to go through all of your projects, so it's better to present your strongest projects to them.

Highlight realistic projects in your portfolio

Whether you’re building a personal project, making a site for a friend, or taking a Frontend Mentor challenge, including realistic projects in your portfolio can be a huge help. Realistic projects that are in a completed state showcase your skills and attention to detail, which potential employers can review. Seeing proof that you can build simple websites or small, fully functional applications will go a long way in impressing anyone who sees your portfolio.

Create a simple and accessible web portfolio

When building your portfolio, the emphasis should be on simplicity and accessibility. Opt for clean, strong designs over complex animations, elaborate graphics, or gifs. Prioritize easy navigation, allowing visitors to explore your work effortlessly. Present your projects and achievements clearly and concisely. This approach makes your portfolio more user-friendly and effectively communicates your professional story and skills in a manner that's easy to understand and appreciate. Remember, a well-organized and accessible portfolio speaks volumes about your attention to detail and commitment to providing a seamless user experience.

Balance design and function

Similar to the above point, when designing your portfolio, consider accessibility, performance, and responsiveness. Avoid using animations unnecessarily. While animations can enhance a portfolio's visual appeal, be careful to use them sparingly, if at all. Unnecessary animations can harm the user experience, performance, and accessibility of your portfolio. It's also important to remember that your recruiter may be viewing your portfolio from a cellphone or tablet, so be mindful of how the content is presented on various devices. It's best to keep these elements simple.

Leverage your GitHub profile

Having a strong GitHub profile is essential for developers. Organize your repositories, include clear explanations and deployment links in your READMEs, and showcase strong projects in your "Featured" section. Recruiters and employers often consider GitHub a primary source for assessing your technical portfolio.

💡 Insider tip: Write your README as you're coding the project. This will prevent any information from getting lost or forgotten if you wait to write it until the project is complete.

Showcase your finished projects

When it comes to your portfolio, it’s wise to avoid including unfinished or partially functioning projects. These can give an impression of unreliability or lack of follow-through. Instead, highlight fully completed projects that demonstrate your coding skills and expertise. Completed projects provide a more accurate representation of your abilities and commitment to seeing tasks through to completion. They serve as concrete examples of your work ethic and problem-solving capabilities. By focusing on polished, fully functional projects, you present yourself as a competent and dependable professional capable of delivering high-quality work. Focusing on completion and quality over quantity will make your portfolio stand out in the best possible light.

Incorporate personal projects

In the realm of portfolio creation, it's a common misconception that only client work can showcase professional skills. However, personal projects can be equally effective, if not more so, in demonstrating your abilities. These projects offer a unique insight into your passion, creativity, and technical skills, unbounded by client specifications or constraints. They allow you to experiment and showcase your strengths in a way that might not always be possible in client work. Including personal projects in your portfolio underscores your initiative, problem-solving skills, and commitment to personal growth and learning in your field. Essentially, they serve as a testament to your enthusiasm for web development and your capacity to create impressive, functional digital solutions on your own terms. Including Frontend Mentor projects in your portfolio is an excellent way to showcase skills. Customizing them a little and adding your own personal touch can also be a nice way to show your creativity.

Showcase your collaboration skills

If possible, gain some experience working in a team setting. Collaboration on projects or contributing to open-source repositories can demonstrate your ability to work effectively in a professional environment. This can show recruiters and employers your ability to work in a team, collaborate, and communicate with other developers.

If you’re interested in understanding and upskilling your soft skills, consider reading our article on the importance of soft skills for web developers.

Seek feedback from others

If you're uncertain about your portfolio, do not be shy to ask others for feedback. More experienced developers or recruiters might be able to provide suggestions on where you could improve your portfolio to help you stand out from other candidates. Test it, gather feedback, and make relevant adjustments.

This article explains the benefits of giving and receiving feedback in web development and tips on how to do it.

Keep your portfolio current

In the ever-evolving field of web development, continuous learning and project work are crucial for skill enhancement. Your portfolio should not just be a static showcase of past achievements but an evolving reflection of your growing expertise. Regularly updating it with your latest projects and accomplishments keeps it fresh and relevant. This practice demonstrates your commitment to professional development and staying abreast of the latest trends and technologies in the industry. By continually adding to your portfolio, you enhance your skills and provide tangible evidence of your ongoing journey, adaptability, and dedication to excellence in your craft.


In conclusion, building a web development portfolio is a journey of showcasing your skills, creativity, and commitment to personal and professional growth. Always remember your portfolio is more than just a collection of projects; it reflects your journey as a developer. Focus on presenting quality work, emphasize simplicity and accessibility, and continuously update it with your latest accomplishments. Consider feedback from peers and professionals as invaluable inputs for improvement.

Most importantly, let your portfolio testify to your passion for web development and readiness to tackle new challenges in this field.

Contribute to the discussion

If you have any tips or advice that would benefit web developers trying to build their portfolio, please share it on our Discord channel.

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