If you want to land an interview at a tech company, bringing you one step closer to your dream job as a software engineer, you’re going to need an impressive computer science portfolio. Many people now consider a portfolio to be the new resume, so yours has to make you stand out from your peers.
But do you know how to make a computer science portfolio? If not, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about getting started in your new career, with plenty of computer science portfolio examples.
What Is Computer Science?
Computer science involves the study of information, automation, and information. This profession spreads across several theoretical disciplines, including theory of computation, algorithms, and information theory. It also includes practical disciplines like software and hardware design and development.
Experts believe that data structures and algorithms represent the heart of computer science. The theory of computation deals with models of computation and the problems that can be solved by adopting them. Computer security and cryptography involve studying the means through which secure communications can be established.
Do You Need a Computer Science Portfolio?
Yes, you need a computer science portfolio. As mentioned earlier, a computer science portfolio can also serve as a resume. It is at least as important as having a resume. Although a resume fills your prospective employer in on your work history and skills, it can’t prove that you know what you’re doing. But a professional portfolio can demonstrate your true capabilities.
Most online courses or undergraduate programs that offer computer science degrees require students to complete portfolio projects as part of the passing grade criteria. Remember that everything in your portfolio should contain grammatically correct sentences. It needs to sound professional, and nothing is worse than a grammatical error when you’re trying to get a job.
Elements of a Strong Computer Science Portfolio
- About section: It is important for prospective employers to find out who you are, so your computer science portfolio should include some personal details. Even though your personal brand takes time to develop, it is an asset you must nurture if you want your career to evolve.
- Relevant experience: This section should include some of the places you have worked and the skills you have built up, such as algorithm analysis. Your relevant experience will let the potential employer know that they can take you seriously.
- Projects: This is the critical component of any computer science portfolio. Your portfolio should be home to your very best work samples. It should be captivating and highly creative, with an appealing design and animated elements or videos added in.
- Context: Employers will want to see more than just the title of your project. They also want context. You should consider adding who the project was created for, when you produced it, and other relevant details. Context is particularly helpful if you are applying for opportunities to freelance.
- Contact me: Your potential employers must know how to reach you. Without a contact section, your chances of nailing down the job could fall to zero. You should include a contact form in your portfolio, as well as your professional social media channels and your email address.
How to Make a Computer Science Portfolio
Today, many job applications will require a portfolio submission, especially in computer science. Showcasing your skills effectively can make a huge difference in your job search. If you want to make sure your portfolio will help you meet your career goals, follow the simple steps below.
Tailor Your Work Samples for the Role
Your programming portfolio should include several samples of your past work. Still, you should be updating the samples you choose to include based on the job you’re applying for. For instance, if you’re applying for a coding job, you should include samples that show you know how to handle code-heavy projects.
Include Extracurricular Work
Sometimes, including personal projects in your portfolio can help capture the attention of your prospective employer. Just because you have formal experience in a particular skill doesn’t mean you can’t also show off your side projects.
For example, you might decide to design a prototype assistance chatbot for your dream employer, hoping to impress them. This will not only display your skills but will also show that you are raring to go.
Ensure Your Design Is Responsive
As a software engineer, you definitely need to make sure your portfolio’s design is mobile-responsive. You don’t want your potential employers to get the wrong impression due to a layout glitch on your portfolio. Having a mobile-responsive design means all viewers will be able to experience your portfolio the way you intended it.
Customize Your Web URL
You must note that your programming portfolio represents your brand. For that reason, you must choose an appropriate URL. It should include your name and describe the type of work you do. You should also be sure to purchase the domain rather than use a free one. This will make it look more professional.
Reduce the Touchpoints
It must be stressed that you are looking to impress people, not confuse them. As a result, your portfolio website should not have too many touchpoints. It should boast a smooth, straightforward interface that visitors can easily navigate to learn about you.
Computer Science Portfolio Examples
Developing a professional portfolio is an important step to landing your ideal job at a software company. While getting acquainted with how to make an online portfolio, it’s best to look at some good examples. Below, we’ll look at some of our favorite examples.
Megan has been involved in the computer science field since graduating from college in 2018 with a degree in computer science. She now works as a software engineer for Disney and has worked on several projects, including a Mercedes-Benz Vans project and conducting her own drone research.
Best Parts of Megan Landau’s Computer Science Portfolio
- About: This section contains Megan’s personal details, including where she’s from, where she has lived, and where she attended college.
- Research and projects: In this section, Landau lists details of all kinds of projects she has worked on. They include projects from her university courses, work, and workshops.
- Contact: Landau has included all of the ways prospective employers can reach her, such as her email address and social media handles.
Nakano is a California-based computer scientist. Her website features a very simple and appealing design with only three sections, so it’s easy for the viewer to zero in on her work.
Best Parts of Kalyn Nakano’s Computer Science Portfolio
- About: This section features a fun mock-code design that lists Nakano’s personal details such as her school, work experience, and interests.
- Resume: This section lists the details of the places Nakano has studied, including the particular skills she focused on in each program.
- Work: In this part of her website, Nakano lists specific projects she has worked on, accompanying each with a fun and enticing image.
Victoria Holland is a Java web developer from Norwich, England, who has over 11 years of experience working in IT. She is well-versed in both server-side and client-side programming.
Best Parts of Victoria Holland’s Computer Science Portfolio
- Me: In this section, Holland highlights her specific skills, and her education and work background.
- Testimonials: Here, Holland includes recommendations from her colleagues and managers. They discuss her specific technical abilities as well as some of her character traits.
- Relevant social media: On every page of her website, Holland includes her social media links, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, plus links to her latest blog articles.
Gautam Krishna works in software engineering and is an open-source maintainer. He is a full stack developer with more than four years of experience in developing enterprise applications.
Best Parts of Gautam Krishna’s Computer Science Portfolio
- About me: This part contains a quick rundown of what Krishna is good at. It also contains a couple of graphics that show his GitHub stats and a breakdown of the time he spends coding each week.
- Portfolio: This portfolio section is displayed as a block of square icons. Then, the visitor can click through each one to see the in-depth work that Krishna has done on the project.
- Contact: Krishna’s contact section features both links to his social media pages and an inquiry box that the visitor can fill out if they have a project request.
Lakshmi Chandana is an experienced front end web developer with more than four years of experience in developing responsive user interface designs.
Best Parts of Lakshmi Chandana’s Computer Science Portfolio
- Skills: This section is very simple yet effective. Chandana has included the logo of each of the programs she knows how to use.
- My projects: In this part, employers can click through to view a small pop-up window that provides a few details about Chandana’s past work.
- Why me?: This is a unique idea that directly addresses why the visitor should hire Chandana. In it, she has listed her awards, achievements, completed projects, and certifications.
Best Computer Science Portfolio Project Ideas
If you want to make a big impact when applying for jobs, you should focus on your project portfolio. If you include the right projects in your portfolio, it will increase your chances of quickly finding success in the job market.
If you’re close to earning your graduate degree, you might want to include your final project. If not, you can simply include a side project or any past work that showcases your skills. Some top computer science projects that you may want to include in your programming portfolio are discussed in detail below.
- Face detection: This is one of the best ideas for a project. Face detection programs can identify people’s faces in videos and live streams using pre-trained XML classifiers. It is also possible to use the software to employ different classifiers to identify other objects. If you can create a program at this level, the employer will be impressed.
- E-authentication system: An e-authentication system adopts a combination of one-time passwords and QR codes to improve security and prevent hacking. A user would need to set up an account in order to use this system. This project would show you have some skills relevant to cyber security.
- Android battery power system analyzer: This is a simple yet exciting computer science project. This system can estimate battery usage data and provide a list of apps that are draining the power of an Android phone. If the battery level is low, an alarm will be triggered and the system will tell the user to close the unnecessary apps.
- Symbol recognition: This is a good project for beginners. It involves using an image recognition algorithm to design software that is able to recognize symbols inserted by the user.
- Online auction: An online auction program involves buyers and sellers engaging in transactional business. The software needs to allow a buyer to purchase an item via price bidding. For this, the program needs to determine a starting and ending time. The software will then recognize that the buyer with the highest bidding price is the winner. This type of software will show that you have skills that are valuable to online retailers.
Computer Science Portfolio FAQs
Yes, a portfolio is just as important as a resume. When it comes to computer science, a portfolio can even be more valuable than a resume. This is because a digital portfolio can actually show your skills, rather than just describe them.
Some of the common mistakes you must avoid while creating a portfolio are things like using a negative tone, having grammatical errors, and using an ineffective design. You’ll also want to be careful of excessive advertising and exhibiting a lack of professionalism.
The goal of a portfolio is to impress a potential employer by showcasing your skills through your past work and providing insight into who you are. As long as you have a well-designed portfolio employers can see firsthand that you can solve real-world problems.
Yes, you must add projects to your portfolio. This is the only way that a potential employer will be able to get a good idea of what you can bring to the table. You must describe each project in clear, concise language. It would be even better if you could discuss alternate practical applications for any special project you have designed.
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