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I have around five years of experience in PHP development and around one year of experience with ExpressionEngine.

I use PHP 5, HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other web technologies.

I decided to create a portfolio site and include hundreds of (if time permits) little examples to prove my skills.

Then at the interview if the interviewer asks me to show my work I am going to show my portfolio site.

Is this a good approach?

If yes, can you suggest to me some great, creative projects to include in my portfolio? I am thinking: 1. Model View Controller 2. Simple e-commerce site 3. Content Manage System (CMS)

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closed as not constructive by gnat, Martijn Pieters, Walter, ChrisF Feb 17 '13 at 14:41

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Several hundred little examples would be miserable. 5 or 6 big examples would be good. But design it to be shown on paper, and have it distributed as a PDF. Anything more complicated than that no one is going to want to bother with. –  whatsisname Feb 17 '13 at 6:23
Thank you very much –  user2005857 Feb 17 '13 at 13:06
While that sounds like a good idea, I would better go for few serious projects. Don't be w3c. –  lukas.pukenis Feb 18 '13 at 10:47

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I'm sorry to be so blunt, but what you have described so far (in your original answer and your comment) sounds dreadful. I can tell you right now that if I was hiring, I would only glance at the site... A quick perusal if you will. However, you could be certain that I will not be reviewing UML diagrams and other project-artifacts.

As a hire'er (word?) I will, hopefully, be looking at several candidates. As such, I want to see what they are doing that might be interesting or what may make them qualified. And, more importantly, I want to be able to do it efficiently (not much digging). What you are describing sounds like a repository of your work. And it sounds like it might be overwhelming and not immediately obvious.

What I would be more interested to see is the nature of the projects that you've worked on and generally what you've been doing. For example, if you have a GitHub account (or similar) then I would probably browse around your repos for maybe 10 to 15 minutes (at most). From this I should be able to see what you are working on (the subject of the projects), how frequently you contribute code, and what languages you are working in.

If I like what I see, then I'll invite you in for an in-person interview. It's here that I will ask you to explain some of your projects in depth. I want to hear the explanations from you. I don't want to read UML diagrams that you created. I want you to articulate to me, on the fly, what the challenges were in your project and why your project is exciting and/or important and what makes it special. I want to know what you learned from the project and what other projects you may be working on at the moment.

So... I should just have a GitHub profile and that's it?? YES! I mean... No. You should definitely have a GitHub profile and you should put all of your fun projects on there (that you don't mind sharing with the world), but you may want to have more than just a GitHub profile. Additionally, I'd recommend writing a technical blog. Write about what you find interesting or something new that you've learned or have been struggling with.

From this, a hire'er will be able to quickly gauge what interests you and they can pick and choose a couple of articles to skim to see how much you may know on a particular topic.

Final Notes Think of ways to concisely show off your skills to possible hire'ers (avoid showing UML diagrams at all costs). As a hire'er, it is their job to find qualified applications, but as the hire'ee it is your job to make your self efficiently discoverable. I'd highly recommend a GitHub profile (in which you're actively contributing) and a technical blog (of which I do myself).

Also, I additionally agree with @Akira71 in that you should keep and up-to-date LinkedIn profile with references, and your job history and what not. And remember to always keep networking, you may land your dream job through someone you met at a conference or code with online.

Warning: If you do go the route of the blog, note that it is a big commitment and an outdated blog may not be the best thing to show off.

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Great answer. Thank you very much for your time. I appreciate your kindness. Yes, interviewers do not have time to check hundreds of little projects. I will only lead them to the projects I did for companies. Technical blog is a great idea. Thanks again. –  user2005857 Feb 17 '13 at 13:14

There is nothing wrong with that approach as long as it is truthful and shows off your abilities in a positive light. Some other suggestions might be:

  1. Be an active contributor to this network and earn some reputation that can help you
  2. Have a GIT profile (or similar) with active contributions/projects (better yet store your examples there)
  3. Have a full vetted profile on LinkedIn with endorsements and quality contacts from prior jobs and experience that can vouch for you if possible
  4. Still have a professional resume/CV that you can present as that is the world many recruiters and HR departments understand

The kind of projects to show would be real projects of value that you have done in the past. Having "hundreds" of examples might be setting yourself up for disappointment when you don't have that much real work. Many people have that much work after being around a long time with work turned in for pay, personal projects, and open source contributions. If you have those, then share what you can where legally able to and link to sources where possible. Use GIT to highlight your knowledge.

I think from the sounds of it, in your case you are just starting out. Work on building that portfolio of work by doing it. That is always much more impressive than a "resume" site without the requisite work to back it up.

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Thank you very much. I am going to put links to projects I created when I worked for companies. (E-commerce sites and Financial data management site) And I want to put code snippets to little creative works. (eg: plugins for expression engine.) Yes, you are correct. Resume site is useless if you cannot prove your skills. I am going to show all the steps I did when I create a site by using -> data flow charts, UML diagrams, paper and pencil diagrams (.jpg ). Do you any other suggestions? Thanks again for your help. –  user2005857 Feb 17 '13 at 5:25

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