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Trying to launch a freelancing gig as a side business while working full time, I'm a web developer and am struggling with my portfolio.

I don't have any personal projects to show on my portfolio, because in my last job I was swamped with work constantly which left me with little time for learning, let alone freelancing.

Is it legal to showcase my previous company work on my portfolio page, give a brief description of what I did and highlight that the work was done while I worked for my previous company?

Additional notes:

  • The websites I worked on, weren't startups they are in the e-commerce space, so they are public.
  • There was nothing mentioned in the NDA.
  • I left on good terms.

marked as duplicate by David K, Chris G, Xavier J, JasonJ, gnat Dec 4 '16 at 8:10

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  • state your country. Answers may change depending on the country. – Mindwin Dec 2 '16 at 12:10

You need to talk to your previous employer, rather than the end-clients. Whether you can use your employers work in your portfolio depends on their contract with their client. You don't own the work, regardless of the fact you did it.


You could ask the previous clients to be references. Including using generic versions of the site. Without their permission it may not be illegal but its not something I would want a contractor I payed to do.


If what you call the "portfolio page" is just a list of projects you have worked on describing your contributions and providing links to the respective web sites, I don't see a problem. Especially since there was no NDA.

The moment you start to reuse the content you have created for your clients on your own web page (even to showcase your work), you can get in trouble.


A portfolio is something personal to me; something I built/made. It highly depends on your field, though. I'm a software engineer, and on my own portfolio I only list stuff that I worked on on my own and in my spare time. Stuff that I worked on for a company (whether it be in-house/freelance, ..) ends up on my LinkedIn in the Projects list.

Designers and web designers/web developers most often use their portfolio as a showcase. Since you're a web developer yourself, I would recommend adding projects to your portfolio. If you're not sure whether you're allowed simply contact your previous company and ask whether it's ok to list some projects you worked on in your portfolio. I highly doubt they're going to say no to that :)

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