Possible Duplicate:
I'm a Web Developer w/ No Design Skills - Should I Still Have a Portfolio?

I want to get into contracting for web development, but I don't yet have a portfolio. Unfortunately, my professional web development experience consists of the following:

  • First year university project - can't remember where I put the source code
  • Website for a small business - still around, but a cheap and quick job, not very pretty
  • Webmaster for two university societies - sites have since been redesigned
  • During my first full-time job:
    • WebOS App - HP cancelled WebOS just before we were planning to release the app
    • An intranet site
  • Second fulltime job - 80% backend work. Only there for 6 months and didn't end well, so not going to get a good reference

I was talking to a possible client and he asked if he could see some previous work. So, do I show them the one website that I have - it's better than nothing right? How do I explain the lack of evidence?

  • 1
    If I were you, I'd make one. See related question: I'm a Web Developer w/ No Design Skills - Should I Still Have a Portfolio? (the community can decide if this is a duplicate or not -- to me it is, since the answers are still valid for your question, if you just replace "no design skills" with "not a lot of experience").
    – jcmeloni
    Jun 26 '12 at 9:59
  • If you've got a more specific question or a case that isn't covered by the answers in the other question that's great, let us know by editing this question; for now consensus seems to be this is a duplicate.
    – Rarity
    Jun 26 '12 at 13:03
  • 1
    @Rarity: This question seems to focus on applying for positions without strong evidence, rather than building a portfolio
    – Anon
    Jun 26 '12 at 22:52
  • 1
    Explain that your experience is in creating in house intranet applications that you have no way of showing the client. If you plan on doing freelancing side work I would recommend you put together a personal project that looks great and has some jquery/ajax/any other tech you want to showcase. it does not have to be anything special just a basic fizz buzz that you can talk about with experts. They will understand that you created this for this purpose and it not hold it against you... probably it will be a benefit. Jun 27 '12 at 14:07

In the future:

  • backup your code, preferably both with:
    • local copies,
    • and an online private repository (like BitBucket),
  • take some stand-alone captures of notable pages (a normal "save as... one-page HTML" would do),
  • take some screenshots of notable pages (either portions, or use a screenshot software that allows to export the browser's complete scrollport as an image),
  • keep these up to date in a portfolio document that you curate regularly (I use slides for this, to complement my resume),
  • contribute to public online projects, so you have more opportunities to show some work,
  • do your own blog and/or site,
  • do small sites for friends and families, or local companies that may be interested in something relatively simple and quick to do and that you can then show off,
  • do you own dummy/demo websites: they don't need to have a purpose, they're here to show your skills!

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