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Web designers generally need to have a decent portfolio of websites to demonstrate their ability.

It seems web developers should have a similar portfolio, but any portfolio website a web developer might put together might never be as flashy as a web designer's, whose main goal is to show off good design.

Is it necessary to have a list of websites I can point to when talking about my experience? Or are there other ways to demonstrate my experience, like perhaps a blog that talks about the concepts I'm interested in?

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closed as off-topic by gnat, Bart van Ingen Schenau, Doc Brown, MichaelT, GlenH7 Dec 28 '13 at 1:47

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Create a homegrown open source CMS. That's a solid portfolio for a web developer. – Raynos Aug 18 '11 at 9:28
Some web developers can be more flashy than designers as they can develop in Flash. cackle – JB King Aug 19 '11 at 22:24
up vote 17 down vote accepted

Most of the development jobs I have seen do not require a portfolio. They have a set of requirements and they verify that your resume meets those requirements. During the interview, they typically ask you questions to confirm that you are capable of doing the job.

It is possible that an employer will investigate you on the Web before hiring you. They will see your postings on Stack Overflow, LinkedIn, Facebook, blogs, etc.. If they go this route, they will probably judge you based on what they see.

In addition, it is also possible that someone will find you through your online contributions while searching for job candidates.

So in short, it is definitely not required (outside of design), it can certainly help you (if you do it well), and it can also hurt you.

EDIT: I would also suggest a STRONG mental portfolio so you can whip out diagrams and code snippets relating to your previous programming success stories. Nothing hurts worse than drawing blanks when asked to draw something on a project you haven't looked at in two years.

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Your edit summed up my whole idea about the question +1 and stay classy – MattyD May 12 '11 at 1:17
code snippets from previous works sounds great! Thx :) – Jasson May 12 '11 at 3:40

While I've not used it to land a job, I have drawn flow diagrams for programming projects. Every programmer at some time has seen a UML or a variation. I document the parts of a program where a considerable effort was required to overcome a problem, or where I have solved a problem in a clever way. And, I just like to draw (^_^).

Flow diagrams are another abstract tool frequently quoted when describing a solution just like commenting your code is necessary for remembering the design, intention, and flagging of your contributions. Thus, it is not outside the realm of proper documentation to add this practice to your workflow and to your "portfolio" of documents describing your work. That said, I don't think I would lead with this documentation. They can be gnarly if you don't do them correctly.

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I guess if you are capable, it wont heart to have a 'hobby' project on your laptop that is well designed and you can show it if you were asked to show something. The project better be good, working, complete, backed with UML diagrams for example, etc.

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I think that very complex web applications can give you an upperhand. I'm definitely a sub-par web designer (I just don't have an extremely keen eye for what looks good), but I designed a data driven web application that has some very complex functionality. It impressed potential employers, and I think it possibly meant more than my degree and certifications. It showed that 1) I knew how to get relatively complex (especially with the backend) and 2) that I have a passion for this. It's not just my 9-to-5, but it's also my weeknight and weekend hobby.

Even if it doesn't look cool, if it does pretty cool stuff then I would show it off. Don't let the visual piece get to you. There's extremely talented designers out there that can do some pretty amazing stuff with HTML/CSS/Photoshop that I can never even dream of coming close to.

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