App builders Vs from scratch for employability

I wanted to ask the community regarding building projects as part of a portfolio website.

As I build projects I am doing different things and attempting to showcase my skills.

While I search for ways to build things and I learn. I am encountering online application builders.

Some of them are similar to drag and drop and are focused on not coding at all. Others met you in the middle and give you some stuff to code (Anvil for example) and some stuff like the UI that the builder will drop in for you.

How much of these matter for your employability?

Can you showcase your skills with app builders that meet you half way and take some of the work off your hands?

Maybe 50/50 split?

Or for the beginner you should build all of your portfolio items from scratch? Showing you understand the foundations of how to build something from nothing.

Thank you for reading my questions. And for all answers.

What skills are you showcasing?

If the thing you’re trying to demonstrate is inherently difficult to demonstrate and you need to bang a GUI on it so that people can interact with the program, I guess so? It would be confusing though, you’d have to be extremely clear that you’re not demonstrating what it looked like or worked from a UI perspective. If you’re trying to demonstrate your skills with front end web stuff, obviously you can’t just put up something made with drag and drop, you can’t really showcase skills by not showcasing any skills. And issue with using stuff that generates bits of the code is that often it isn’t actually a timesaver, it end up being far to constrained to be particularly useful. Sometimes is fine though

Edit: There are levels to this, as you have noticed: Anvil, for example is a code generator, but the primary usecase for that specific category of tool is “I have lots and lots of data and I need to put a UI on it so that I can display/interact with it”. Generally this is tied to “I am a business”. I’m gonna guess that’s not your usecase. Not saying don’t use code generation (lots of stuff you use will include or have codegen tooling), but tools are made for specific usecases

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This really depends on what kind of jobs your aiming for.

If you have half your projects you show off are using no-code drag and drop tools, then it appears half your skills are for those tools. Similarly if all the projects you show off use a specific set of tools (drag and drop, or codegen or whatever) then your skills probably reflect the same.

The next question is what kind of jobs are you looking to get? I usually call this “going backwards” as you want to look at the jobs out there you will apply to early in the process, so you can use them as a guide on what to learn and expect. This also includes freelance vs full time. I see a lot more freelance jobs that are inline with “build me a website using X for Y”, where X is the platform, like wordpress for example and Y is the amount you’d get paid, so 500$ for example. For some people that might be super reasonable, for other’s with higher costs of living it’s not worth their time. This is just an example, and everyone’s situation is different, so I recommend going out and looking to see how far you could go if you are potentially interested in freelancing.

However, if you plan on getting hired as a full-time employee for development, odds are you will not be using the easier tools. The simple reason for this is if most of the use-cases fall into “use a drag and drop/easy to use editor for this”, they wouldn’t go out and hire a new asset just to do it unless they are super technology adverse, or have more specific things in mind, where you might need to leverage more of your skills.

This is important with or without these code tools. You should understand the fundamentals so you can always fall back on them. You don’t want to leave it in your mind as “its magic”, because if an issue comes up, you want to have that experience of knowing “whats under the hood”, as it could save you, and your company, a ton of time and headaches.

Good luck, keep learning, keep building :+1:

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What skills are you showcasing?

I am not entirely sure. I feel my range is trying to demonstration, front-end with the ability to do back-end. Full stack with a preference for the front end.

So far my projects that are on my website as entirely front end, jQuery story teller, React Indie games studio with newsletter and podcast player. All front end. I am currently trying to learn PHP in Laravel and WordPress.

But my question spawns from this learning. I am finding myself spending along time learning, searching for solution for problems and I feel I am going at a snail paces and not having much to show for it. The current projects I have live are all since the start of the year and this I feel like it’s taking a long time.

Edit: There are levels to this, as you have noticed: Anvil, for example is a code generator, but the primary usecase for that specific category of tool is “I have lots and lots of data and I need to put a UI on it so that I can display/interact with it”. Generally this is tied to “I am a business”. I’m gonna guess that’s not your usecase. Not saying don’t use code generation (lots of stuff you use will include or have codegen tooling), but tools are made for specific usecases

This gives me more insight into my question. I can see your point here. For a business that just wants something that can be put up semi quickly with something in Anvil or another type of thing. It would be more suitable. But for myself, focusing on employability and to learn the actual technology so I can manipulate and adjust it to the needs I want. It makes far more sense to build from scratch.

Again my question comes from my own desire to get projects out the door. Because I feel I am taking far too long to build stuff. Perhaps I am biting off more than I should in my own vison of the apps I am building.

Thank you for answering my question. It is very much appreciated! :pray:

what kind of jobs are you looking to get?

One that isn’t in retail. Haha. :sweat_smile:

However, if you plan on getting hired as a full-time employee for development, odds are you will not be using the easier tools. The simple reason for this is if most of the use-cases fall into “use a drag and drop/easy to use editor for this”, they wouldn’t go out and hire a new asset just to do it unless they are super technology adverse, or have more specific things in mind, where you might need to leverage more of your skills.

I see what you are saying. Yes I agree with you, my goal is to enter the WebDev industry and be employed, I would enjoy freelancing in the future. But I’ve found myself doing mediocre websites and not having my own skills up to a good standard. So for the past year I have been learning to code properly and attempt a career shift from retail to programing. It’ been fun, but long and tough and I am attempting to figure out, the best approach to building portfolio items. Perhaps I am being unrealistic? In the sense of asking a full app from myself in just a month or?

This is important with or without these code tools. You should understand the fundamentals so you can always fall back on them. You don’t want to leave it in your mind as “its magic”, because if an issue comes up, you want to have that experience of knowing “whats under the hood”, as it could save you, and your company, a ton of time and headaches.

Yes I completely see your point. You and Dan have made me do a complete reserve for me on this. I see the need to understand top to bottom the tech and stack you are using, especially as I want to peruse a career in a tech company.

Good luck, keep learning, keep building :+1:

Thank you for answering my question. It is very much appreciated! :pray: Also happy anniversary on joining the forum!

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