How to Create A Developer Portfolio When You Can’t Show Your Work

It can be difficult to stand out from the crowd of other developers, especially when a potential employer can post a job posting online and have dozens of proposals from developers overseas offering to do the same job at sub-minimum wage prices. How can you compete?

Besides that, web developers are also getting replaced by SaaS products like SquareSpace and Wix. It’s similar to what happened to factory jobs: Work became automated and eliminated simple jobs. However, in the process, it created higher-paying, more skilled jobs. Web development is going through a similar phase. How can you show that you can think about the client’s problems on a higher level?

You Write Case Studies

You need to show clients that you can get results, but creating a portfolio as a developer is more challenging that being a designer or writer. A client can look at pictures of a design or read a sample of someone’s work, and understand the quality. The same can’t be said for non-technical clients looking at your Github profile. You could show screenshots, but that doesn’t convey much.

Instead, you can write a case study. A case study is an article that details the process you used on a client project. A client that doesn’t understand technical jargon will still be able to understand your problem-solving techniques.

A Template For Your Next Case Study

  • What Problem Did You Solve? Think back to before you starting working on the project, back to when you first talked to the client. Why were they looking for a developer in the first place? Something in their business is so painful that they were willing to pay a decent chunk of change to an outside vendor to come in with a fix.
  • What Was That Fix? Once you’ve laid out the problem, explain how you went about fixing it. You can explain what tools you used and why. You can write in-depth here, or keep it short. Neither is right or wrong, just pick a style and go with it.
  • What Were the Results? After you implemented your fix, how was the client’s business different? Specific numbers here are glorious. Don’t be afraid to shoot the client an email and ask them if they saw any specific results.
  • BOUNS: A Testimonial Quote. This quote can come from above. If you can get a quote from the client along with a headshot, it will provide social proof and go a long way to increasing your credibility.

Talking about how great you are in your words on your website can only go so far. Show you can get results. Let other people talk about how helpful you are. That’s how you get a competitive advantage in this industry. Look at your last project and see if you can answer the three questions above. If so, write up a quick case study and publish it on your site. Here are a couple of examples to give you some ideas:

Need a template to follow for your case studies? Get the bonus content: Anatomy of an Optimized Article
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