I work in a pretty narrow field as Microsoft Dynamics AX programmer.

I'm currently looking for a new job, reason being growing demands and duties without compensation, excessive overtime and much more.

I'd like to be able to show some projects to my future employer so they can get a grasp what I can do. I know a good portfolio on github would definitely help, ideally with code in technology I want to find job in. I have some projects there, mostly in SQL and C#, but not in the technology I work in everyday and look job for.

Problem is, I can't really create any code relative to my field without using licenses belonging to my employer. Buying such licenses myself is out of question since they cost more money than I can muster without starving.

What can I do to prepare and prove my skills for future employer ?

Some additional scope to the question:

Ms dynamics AX is a complex ERP solution for businesses that, depending on the type of license company buys, allows for more or less advanced code manipulation.

Code editor is integrated in the ERP environment (something along VBA editor in Excel), where dedicated X++ programming language is used. That means that basically everything I code, uses business licenses that belong to the company. I can't code without them.

As far as I know and searched, there are no free of charge environments for me to just code some solution to prove my coding skills in X++ (something like Visual Studio Code/Community)

So unless you're a Microsoft partner or end client, you can't access the X++ code editor (there are only business-side trials available). And if I were a Microsoft partner, I wouldn't have to build my portfolio anymore.

This is my first job as MS Dynamics AX programmer. I live and work in Poland.

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    You don't need a github portfolio. A resume with your education and work experience is fine for most places – dustytrash Jan 23 '20 at 13:51
  • It's doubtful a potential employer would ask that you show what you do with Dynamics AX relating to your current employer. They might ask you particulars of the software or demonstrate a quick thing pertaining to skill sets you listed. If you cannot show that without breaking your employer's NDA, then I think you should revisit what skillset you actually have. – Dan Jan 23 '20 at 14:00
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    Does this answer your question? All the code I've written over the last 20 years is proprietary – gnat Jan 23 '20 at 14:06
  • @Dan I'd even expect some kind of test during interview, NDA shouldn't be an issue there unless they'd want to take a look at the code I worked on, that is obvious. I simply never was in a position where I can't really prove my core skill beforehand. – Luntri Jan 23 '20 at 14:21
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    If you look for work in field that requires the speciality tool the ones who will employ you have that tool. So they can check how well you use it. – SZCZERZO KŁY Jan 23 '20 at 15:01

Quite often you don't need a (public) portfolio as a programmer/developer.

You can show where you've worked. You can talk the talk and walk the walk when it comes down to having conversations about Microsoft Dynamics AX programming. That alone tells a future employer a lot (at least, at the technical interview if a technical person is not present during the initial interview).

My advice: go apply for new jobs.

When you get asked specifics, ask them into how much detail they would like you to go. You might be talking to a general manager, HR or someone else without a technical background.

Another thing companies tend to do (not all, and better they don't) is have you do a technical challenge of some kind. This is kind of a snapshot grading system, hence that I dislike them, as they might be about a part of a framework you're (un-)familiar with, thus throw off the resulting opinion of you. Still, they provide both them and you with some information about one another.

Next, something which near every company everywhere does: probation periods. When you sign a contract for a year, you'll usually have a month (or 2) probation in there, during which both you and your new employer can sever ties at any time.

An example is my current job. I used to work exclusively with Zend Framework (PHP language), now I use Symfony for my current job (PHP language). I started the current job without ever having used Symfony, but got hired on the premise that I know the language (PHP), programming concepts and social enough ;)

  • Absolutely. I interview people regularly and being able to answer nitty-gritty questions related to the tech/experience on your CV is always more telling than a code-base uploaded with a single commit for a portfolio. – Jay Gould Jan 23 '20 at 15:00
  • @JayGould Did that in my previous job as well. Got us a student hire in his last semester (half year) of is education. Boss was in doubt, but he was doing stuff at home in several languages, trying things, but had no portfolio. Turned out to be an excellent hire :) Shows that no portfolio isn't bad. (Hunger for) Knowledge, trying and enthusiasm are way more important. – rkeet Jan 23 '20 at 15:12
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    This is pretty much the answer I was about to write. I really think the number of firms or jobs which require a public portfolio is extremely exaggerated in the "blog-o-sphere" (except maybe for folks with zero professional experience). The vast majority of any experienced developer's previous work belongs to his/her current or former employers, and I wouldn't expect to ever get to see this. If you advertised on your resume that you are a (large) contributor to open source, of if you advertised a hobby project, then I might expect to see it. – dan.m was user2321368 Jan 23 '20 at 15:55
  • As above. Almost every CRM or Workflow or ERP cannot be demonstrated (by an employee looking for a new job), and whoever is interviewing will understand this. They might ask you to create a new form or something on their test system, or get you to spend a morning creating a Workflow. But probably they'll just ask questions to satisfy themselves that you've used the product to the extent you claim. – Justin Jan 23 '20 at 16:40
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    "Quite often you don't need a (public) portfolio as a programmer/developer." you could consider changing this to "Most programmers / developers do not have a public portfolio." I'd say that less than 10% of the people I've interviewed in my career have had a public portfolio I could evaluate, and I honestly can't remember any public portfolios that have been useful. The only developers I can think of who will have public examples of their work are open-source developers. – dbeer Jan 23 '20 at 16:56

I'd like to be able to show some projects to my future employer so they can get a grasp what I can do.

That is tricky. If you come with the code from home, how will the employer know that you actually created it? If the employer wants to see you writing code, then they will ask you do undergo some programming test. They would get much more valuable information.

From my experience: I changed jobs or a few times. I never presented them not even one single line of code which i wrote for the previous employers. Heck, I did not even show them one lousy ASCII character.

Companies will understand your abilities indirectly from:

  • your employment history;
  • the discussions that they have with you;
  • references, if there are any;
  • tests applied on the spot.

Just do not worry about showing copyrighted work you do not own, and go apply to wherever you consider attractive.

In the unlikely situation that a company want you to show them code, you can answer something like:

The code I wrote for my previous employers is their property and I cannot show it to anybody without breaching the rules of confidentiality and the law. Even more, would you be happy if in the future I would show the software I will write for you, to other companies?

If they still insist you to show them code, then take that as a bog red flag and go away without looking back.

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