How to start and finish your next developer portfolio faster.

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If you're anything like me, at some point during the portfolio building process you will come up with a reason to delay "going live". Or maybe you just haven't been able to start on yours yet. Either way, I'd like to share a handful of tips that have helped me and perhaps can also help you kickstart your new portfolio or finally hit publish.


It sounds quite simple but this is the most important piece of advice I can give you if you are putting off not starting on your portfolio. No one but you is going to create your portfolio. Well, unless you pay them...

Pick a theme before starting.

Having a theme in mind while building can dramatically speed up the creation of your portfolio. By theme I mean, how you want your website to look or feel. Such as very minimal, or black and white only, perhaps a SaaS style layout or grid focused, etc. Once you have your theme decided, stick to it!

When in doubt, look for inspiration.

Looking at websites other developers and designers have created can be an invaluable source of both inspiration and knowledge. Not only can it spark your own creativity but it will also teach you many design techniques and trends. One of my favorite resources is Siteinspire.

// I'm not saying find a portfolio you love and copy it. Instead let that inspiration help you get started and then find a way to gradually make it your own.

Write your main content before building a page.

Before you start on a new page, try writing down your content or most of it. This allows you the opportunity to step away from the coding or design process to focus solely on writing your content. Plus it will also speed up the building of your layouts as you'll have real content instead of lorem ipsum.

Finish one part and move to the next...quickly.

It's easy to fall into the trap of making constant changes to the same section only to return to how it was originally. This is great for exploring new designs and ideas but not so great for finishing your portfolio in a timely manner.

Let's take a hero section for example. Pick your background color, add a headline, a sub-headline, a photo if you want, get the layout setup and then move on. Repeat this process until you have your page completed and then come back to the beginning and start fine-tuning it. This will allow you to look at the page as a whole when making significant design changes and will decrease your time making needless changes.

Projects: If you're proud of it, include it.

This is one is pretty self-explanatory. There is no reason to include every project you have ever built since you started programming. Ask yourself one simple question: "Am I proud of this project?".

If the answer is yes, then add it to your portfolio.

Set a [soft] deadline.

This can be an important step for many. No matter if it's two weeks or two months, set a deadline and try your best to stick to it but also be realistic in regards to your own life.

// I think 1-2 months is a very good deadline to set for yourself. It's long enough to spend quite a few hours working on your portfolio but also keeps you from prolonging it for many months.

Share your progress.

Sharing with friends, family, or on social media is a great motivator to finish your portfolio. I recommend sharing your progress as you build for three reasons: accountability, feedback, and support.

Accountability to help us with our deadline, feedback to fine-tune and fix areas we might have overlooked, and support for those days when we need a reminder that we're doing a great job.

Have fun with it.

Try not to overthink it. This is your little slice of the internet and you can do whatever you want with it. Make it as simple or as complex as you want.

Don't fool yourself into thinking your portfolio has to be absolutely perfect. You can always build version 2.0 later.

Go live!

You've put in the hard work, now publish it! There are plenty of options out there so do your research. A few I would recommend are Netlify, GitHub Pages, or Surge.

I wish you the best of luck with starting or finishing your next portfolio & I hope you have found these tips helpful!

Until next time.

-Kyle Shook (elyktrix)

Illustration by Freepik Storyset