Importance of an Online Portfolio and How to Create One
Why make an online Portfolio?
I think the more important question is “Why not?”. So I migrated to Australia from Pakistan in July 2017 and was lucky enough to get a job right away. What was the very first thing each recruiter said to me after applying for a position? It was “I really like your portfolio and would like to talk more about the position…” and so on. In the first interview that I went to, the interviewers had my game installed and tabs of other projects already open!
Rather than spending some of the limited interview time to “tell” them about my projects, they had already seen my work and knew exactly what questions to ask (based on the things I had built, and what their requirements were). And guess what? I got the job, and I like to think that the online portfolio facilitated that a bit.
Zero coding policy
Ok, so I’ve done Web Development for a while so I know how to build websites. But, I have been doing Mobile Development for a while now, so I had made it my aim to make sure I don’t write a single line of code to make a website since the things that I had done in Web Development are old news now, and I wanted to use the latest techniques.
If you’ve read my previous blog “How I made a complete website in one day”, you will see how I created a website in a day without any coding using a WordPress Theme. I did the same thing here. I already had a WordPress website, all I had to do was create a new page and drag and drop different components to make everything look flashy and to the point. And you can do it too!
How to build a Portfolio
Here is a step by step guide on how you can create your own online portfolio using a WordPress Theme without any coding skills (Links to tutorials for each step at the end of the blog):
Step 1: Domain name and Hosting
If you can buy your own domain name, that’s the best. You’ll be free to do whatever you want with a personalised domain name and website. If you don’t have any experience in web development and server management, I will recommend you stick to hosting services like Bluehost, or GoDaddy, etc, any hosting service that provides a “cPanel”.
I have used Bluehost extensively in the past and have not been disappointed with their usability and customer support. They have step by step instructions on how to set up WordPress websites, give that a go.
There are other providers who provide free subdomains (including wordpress.com) with WordPress integration if you don’t want to spend money. So, Step 1, do some research and get a domain name and hosting for WordPress.
Step 2: Get a WordPress Theme
Now comes the fun part. Getting a theme and start building stuff. I use “Envato Themeforest” to search and buy wordpress themes. You can find free themes as well, however, the free themes have very limited functionality and customization. Spending a little cash on a good theme goes a long way. Just be sure to look at the demos provided by each theme to make sure it has a demo that suits the design you have in mind.
These days every theme comes with good documentation, and if you purchase a theme it’s quite easy to contact the developers for support as well. Impreza, MagPlus, and Entrepreneur are some of my favorite themes that I use regularly on different websites. Spend around half an hour searching for different themes and check out their demos to make an informed decision for your perfect portfolio.
Step 3: Start Building
Most themes come with an “Import Demo” option. That’s the easiest way to start. Import a demo you like and start changing it to suit your needs. Read the provided documentation about the different componenet the theme provides and how to use it.
Drag and Drop, move things around and see your portfolio come to life. Is it really that simple? Short answer, Yes! Each step requires some amount of work of course and you might get stuck at something, but simply Google your problem and someone would have already found a solution for it. If not, contact customer support for the service you are stuck at. I have listed some useful links to tutorials at the end of the blog to help you get started.
You never know who’s looking. Recruiters are constantly searching for candidates, and that is how I got my current job as well. I would get emails and calls every day with a lot of recruiters saying they liked my portfolio and would ask if I would be interested in new opportunities.
The recruiter through which I got my current job contacted me through LinkedIn and mentioned he liked my portfolio before recommending me to the employer. So all the money I had spent on domain, hosting, and a wordpress theme played a part in me landing a much better job!
What to put in the portfolio?
I will be covering how I decided what to put in my portfolio and how to structure it for maximum impact in my upcoming blogs, so stay tuned! 😉
Domain name and Hosting (Basic plans should do the job):
- Bluehost: https://www.bluehost.com/web-hosting/signup
- GoDaddy: https://www.godaddy.com/hosting/wordpress-hosting