Applying for jobs and personal projects question

I have a question regarding applying for jobs especially entry-level and junior positions.

Do all these projects that we build as part of let’s say Udemy and fCC for example counts in a way that they are going to impress recruiters or/and employers when applying for such job positions? Again I am talking about entry-level and junior positions.

The reason I am asking is that they are not projects that were created from scratch and only as part of a course or Bootcamp where we mostly just copy, code along and follow instructions and the instructor. In other words no real world experience…

Of course, we can always twist, modify and make them our own but I still do not know how recruiters or/and employers will see this… For example, should I just push to my GitHub account these projects and put them on my resume/CV as if they were mine, or is expected much more than that?

The FCC projects are much more open-ended than the typical projects you’ll find in a Udemy course—everyone’s tribute page, random quote machine, etc, will all have the same features but unless you’re intentionally plagiarizing someone else’s work (obviously not ethical), your FCC project shouldn’t look like someone else’s. So while the FCC projects are certainly valuable, and should be unique to you, I wouldn’t personally call most of them the kind of projects that would impress recruiters/employers. Consider them learning exercises—use what you learn from them to build better, larger, and original projects.

Projects that you complete while coding along to a Udemy course should not be considered as part of your portfolio. While the instructors/TAs in some courses are pretty lenient about letting students post their code online (like Colt Steele’s “The Web Developer Bootcamp”), none of that code is really “yours”, but rather the instructor’s (Colt Steele’s in that example). And that course has over 400K students right now—if even a quarter of those have completed the course, that’s at least 100K student implementations of YelpCamp, all of which are identical. So basically your implementation of YelpCamp won’t help you stand out from anyone else, and since you didn’t come up with it yourself, you’d just be mis-advertising yourself.

Hopefully you learned something doing YelpCamp anyway, but unfortunately that project, along with every other project in Colt Steele’s course, and every other Udemy course for that matter, don’t do anything to show your ability, which is the key part. Projects that you share online should showcase either: your ability alone, or your ability to work with a team. Ability to work with a team can be shown on GitHub through one of two ways: (1) Collaborating with people that you know (either in-person or remotely), or (2) Contributing to an open-source project.


I understand, some great advice, thank you @camperextraordinaire and

The way I was thinking of doing is to start to push most of the projects that I build from fCC and Udemy to my GitHub and keep pushing them as I continue to learn and build things, first to start to get used to GitHub and Git and second of course to have something to show when the opportunity eventually comes.

Even though most of the projects that I build are not mine or partially mine I will be honest in a way that I will make comments in the HTML | CSS | JS file saying [This project was created as part of xyz course/Bootcamp etc] and in an eventual interview I will say that I did it as part of a course/Bootcamp and I learned this and that from this project for example.

But never claiming that the projects are mine, instead I would describe my learning experiences and what I have learned and, talk about the process and what technologies I enjoy, and I am excited to work with.

After I have built a lot of projects like that and approaching things this way in my view I would have cemented the knowledge, the skills and have some ideas to create something more original and unique along the way, because I will have a better understanding of all the process involved in building web apps; And hopefully I can get my foot in the door somewhere in the middle of the way.

My experience may not be representative, but…

With two fCC certificates I didn’t get much response from lots of applications. But when I started a project on github (linked to elsewhere), and passed that on to a recruiter I got a “Nothing for you now, but stay in touch” response. Not much, but more than before. And that’s for a project which isn’t near finished.

On the other hand: it maybe that my project uses react - a certificate I don’t have yet. But I am more proud of my personal project than anything I’ve done on a course. Why wouldn’t employers see it as a sign of my passion and interest?

I was watching a video on YouTube a couple of days ago on [How to Get Your First Web Developer Job] and the Senior dev being interviewed said that he is not a big fan of CV/resume and Linkedin, he said he is a big fan of GitHub. Excellent video to watch BTW.

Also, certifications do not matter, and it only shows that you accomplished something but does not indicate if you can do the job. In the end, it is just a piece of paper or pixels on the screen.

I think it is all relative, and what I mean by that is that you have to be at the right place, at the right time and with the right people/person. As you will see that some cases here where some are less skilled and experience than others, and they can find opportunities much easy than others in the other end of the spectrum.

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I personally recommend giving up on the idea of “cemented the knowledge”. There is no such thing has knowing “everything” when it comes to development, you will always not know something, forget something, or do something not the best way. That is to be expected.

Now the thing I do recommend is building something (more or less) original from the ground up sooner rather than later. Udemy courses, and FCC both give you a lot of structure to solve a problem, and the problem itself (challenges, or build this). The hardest part about development is gaining the intuition to understand the problem, and overcoming problems found during implementation. Generally following challenges, and Udemy courses don’t let you struggle and this is a problem because thats where you learn the most! You might get the feeling your learning, but you really need to use what you learn in a real world environment for you to really get the most out of any course.

If I were a hiring manager and found you did 1 project from the ground up, and spent 3 months struggling to get some basic stuff going (a portfolio hosted on github) without taking following any course, and spent most of the time using just guides and debugging issues you found along the way. I’d be impressed with the applicants grit and determination and ability to figure their way thru it. Now if I found someone who followed 15 udemy courses in 3 months, but never built anything on their own, I’d get the feeling they might need too much hand-holding when given a real-world problem. Experience is experience, even if the 1 project you built from scratch has a number of problems, I’m sure you learned a heck of a lot more struggling during that time. The most important thing to draw from this is employeers are looking for people who can solve problems, and being able to show you know “stuffs” from courses is less of an advantage than just being able to show you have the grit grind and passion. All of these traits are usually shown in having more projects to show, and experience from building things more from scratch than doing course work.

Simply put, if you want to go out and solve real world problems, go out and try to solve real-world problems. It’s fine to do boot-camps to get and idea of what you can do, but don’t think copy-pasting and following a persons instructions is learning. You have to go out and do stuff to gain that experience.

PS. Learn git and github to show off all projects you do regardless of if its course-work, or personal projects. It’s a great way to show what you have done, regardless of why you did them, learning is learning no matter what, but not all “learning” is equal in terms of employment value.


My personal opinion (as a senior software dev) is that adding FCC / Udemy course exercises onto your CV actually harms any application you send through.

It will make you look super inexperienced and cement yourself as someone that’s very beginner.

What you should have is something that you came up with on your own that you can be proud of having created, and shows some insights into your thinking process and problem solving ability. It should also be more than just a simple demo app.

Basically think about it like this: anyone can follow a tutorial, copy paste code - it requires very little thinking. What does take thinking is taking the skills you learnt through doing that and applying it to a problem.


Thank you so much for this video!
Very useful.

I have a question regarding applying for jobs especially entry-level and junior positions too