As a back end or full stack developer, one may want to have a portfolio site that showcases their other work. However, not everyone wants to design or build a portfolio site.

  • Is it ok to use a template (like a generic bootstrap template) for a portfolio site?
  • Is it ok to use a service like wix or squarespace?
  • How does one highlight that the portfolio site is showcasing their work but is not intended to be judged as their work?

The quality of your portfolio site will affect the perceived quality of your work

Regardless of whether you are a physics engineer, back-end programmer or any other discipline (even those unrelated to development) - the quality of anything you show to a potential employer will influence their opinion of you.

This is obviously different from the way it will influence their opinion if you were actively seeking a design or front-end role. That is, you do not need to have a site with all the bells and whistles, or otherwise outstanding. But the quality will affect how the word within it is percieved.

As a back-end programmer, I'd recommend either:

  • Using a templated site that is clearly a template, but makes your work clear and easy to assess.

  • Give direct access to a source repository that holds your projects.

Although counter intuitive, in my experience - if you cannot create a solid website yourself, you are far better to make this clear (by choosing a template that is visually obvious as a template). This way, you separate the mental judgement of your personal work/skills from judgement of the site you've used to hold it. The more simple, and clear a template you can find, the better.

Taking that to the extreme, it can also be beneficial to just present your work on a web-accessible source control platform (such as Github). By doing this, you remove yourself even further from the judgement of the host site - it's very clear what is your work, and what isn't.

On an additional note, using a site like Github also enforces the fact you understand these tools and are comfortable working in a technical-facing environment. If you do choose to do this, ensure your work is well organised and easy for a non-technical person to download.

  • 1
    I like your last point :) – Matthew E Cornish Sep 12 '18 at 15:43
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    This is true, and not just for technical fields. When I go searching for housing contractors, I will judge them on the quality of their website. Even though I know your ability to build a website has nothing to do with your ability to hang siding or do plumbing, if you have a crappy website I have much less faith in your abilities in general. – Seth R Sep 12 '18 at 15:59

I think it's fine to use a template if you're not trying to pass it off as your own. I think that's especially helpful for a more back-end focused developer who is trying to highlight the functionality of their work as opposed to the aesthetics.


I think you're better off using GitHub, or similar. That said, a well structured website can act as a good calling card, or sign post people to other places such as GitHub, LinkedIn etc.

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