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I work in the tech industry as a data scientist. I generally know how to code with HTML/CSS and Javascript, as I like to attend hackathons where those sort of projects are popular. But I'm not a web developer or front-end engineer. I've never built an entire website from scratch by myself.

Since I'm not designing websites as my profession per se, would it matter if I coded my own website from scratch or just worked off of a template?

And if it's fine to work off a template, are there any preferred websites out there which make it reasonably simple to edit the code (e.g., Squarespace, Wix)?

I'm mostly asking because I assume my amateur web development skills will not end up being as visually appealing as using one of those websites that provide templates. But I expect I would want to add in my own custom code here and there. I'm interested in learning more about web development, but I also would not want to put out a terrible looking website just to get it out there.

closed as too broad by IDrinkandIKnowThings, dwizum, The Wandering Dev Manager, gnat, Fattie Feb 5 at 13:21

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  • I know I will be cursed by saying this, but... Have you looked into wordpress? – tweray Feb 4 at 19:49
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    @tweray: curses on you! Curses! – bytepusher Feb 4 at 19:50
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    How is this workplace related? Not trying to be facetious, I just don't see the link. Is this website for your employer? When you say, "would it matter" - would it matter to whom? And for what purpose? What is the website for and what are you hoping to accomplish with it? – dwizum Feb 4 at 20:13
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    Though the question as asked may seems off-topic. It is possible to answer it in a "on-topic" workplace related fashion. Because behind the technical choice, there is in fact a business choice, which is "how should I present what i'm selling". – Walfrat Feb 5 at 12:35
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    @dwizum It would matter because its purpose is essentially a digital resume. I was under the assumption that resume-based questions were welcome on The Workplace? – q-compute Feb 5 at 21:30
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Use a service, and build out a site that presents the information you want prospects and employers to see. You're not presenting yourself as something you're not (if you were trying to sell me web design/development services and had a Wix website, I'd be looking elsewhere. But you're not doing that.)

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You're not selling your website skills, so use a service and have that service present what you are selling in the best possible light.

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A simple cost-benefit analysis will probably point towards a template-based, customized framework.

From client-side considerations like design, user experience, cross-browser and cross-form factor testing to back-end concerns like storage, cross-domain validations, authentication and security - and these two lists are way, way far from being comprehensive - I'd say that a template will save you a lot of time and frustration.

Would it matter if I coded my own website from scratch or just worked off of a template?

Since you're a data scientist as a potential employer I would be looking at your training or your expertise with core competencies like machine learning, R or Scala; a good design would play a minor role.

are there any preferred websites out there which make it reasonably simple to edit the code (e.g., Squarespace, Wix)?

Both services mentioned offer fairly simple to use editing interfaces.

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Website software and templates are a dime a dozen and there are also free ones. Just find one that suits what you want. They all do pretty much the same thing. It depends what you want the site to do.

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I assume my amateur web development skills will not end up being as visually appealing

That's what happened to me :-)

Also, it's what I expected; but, along the way, I taught myself PHP and AngularJs/HTML/CSS and am now quite confident with "webbie" stuff, even though by profession I am an embedded programmer for products that don't even have a GUI.

So, ask yourself whether you want some pretty eye-candy, or whether you want to learn some new skills.

If it’s just for a personal page, I would go for the skills. If you need pretty, choose a template.

I think that the clincher is

I like to attend hackathons where those sort of projects are popular

What sort of hackathons? If they are about creating web sites (only) then you are out of your depth (at the moment).

If the web site is simply to visually present some results, I doubt that “pretty” gets much weighting.

I am thinking of the sort of hackathon where, for instance, you couple a Raspberry Pi to some sensors and simply use the browser to display some results Attendees are much more likely to be excited by the hardware aspects than eye-candy.

That being said, it is easy enough to familiarize yourself with a few reporting/charting libraries and use those to get fancy looking results. Check out the excellent and free D3JS for instance. The gallery currently has 2,490 examples of impressive charts.

If I have the wrong end of the stick about your hackathons, please update your question to give more information.

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