I lost my projects portfolio after graduating. Any advice?

Hello, all. I’m new on these forums but I needed a place to talk and get some potential support.

Backstory:
I recently graduated a few months ago with a BS in CS. In my last 2 years of college (where the actual computer science classes happened), I accrued some neat projects I created as assignments for my classes. Some examples include making a mock e-commerce website for a fake business using simple HTML/CSS/Javascript, making a mock dating website using the ASP(dot)NET framework, and other neat little projects implementing topics we’ve learned throughout my classes. Not too long ago, I got my laptop stolen which contained all my assignements I’ve done since my first computer science class.
I am heartbroken for two reasons:

  1. Those assignments had sentimental value.
  2. My main reason: I no longer have a portfolio to demonstrate when applying for a job.

My Main Question:
With all that being said, am I now at a disadvantage when applying for a job? Can I still list those projects on my resume and explain that I have lost the actual programs if asked to show them the code? What is your take/opinion on this situation?
(Note: I since then realize that I need to invest in an external hard drive)

I would recommend looking into Git & Github. You should be uploading all your work there or to some similar version control like Gitlab…etc.

If you don’t have access to those projects and the code associated with it I wouldn’t use it for your resume because ultimately employers will want to see your projects and code.

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If you’re not comfortable with git or github (aside from the fact that the majority of employers will look for some sort of versioning experience), there’s also the google drive option. Or dropbox. or any number of cloud storage options. Personally, I maintain a remote sandbox (online, but https), everything there gets backed by .zip to my google drive (because I’m paranoid), and while the project is under dev, it goes in stages to git, so I can keep my versioning experience going.
There are always options. And lets face it, if you had the laptop in a carry-bag, you’d have had the external hard drive in the bag with it.

When you were at university, how did you submit those projects for grading and assessment? Is there a possibility that your school might still have copies of the more recent or more important ones? Did you work on any of those projects with other students, and could they have a copy of the source code?

It’s a pretty horrible situation, but the biggest advantage you have going into the job hunt is the skills you learned during your degree. Keep building projects and these ones will be as good or better than the ones you made for college.

Learning Git and GitHub, which doesn’t take long, would also be great. It’ll feel great when you type git push origin master and can feel that security.

Best of luck with your job search.

While I have had interviewers ask me questions about projects I did in school, I’ve never had anyone ask to see them demonstrated (let alone ask to see the code).

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@wmooney1984
Thanks for the feedback. Well, college is bad at preparing students on what to do AFTER college so transitioning after college was/is kind of rough. My CS classes never mentioned Git/Github until the last month before graduating where we had a lecture on Github. By then it was too late.
Regarding not putting my projects on my resume, that’s a bummer. Some people said that most of the time employers will just ask about the projects one has done instead of demonstrating them. I just feel like I worked too hard on my projects for me to not at least mention what I did/implement. Regardless, I have since then discovered Git/Github and will be using them from now on.

I know it’s a lot of work, and I’m sorry you lost your portfolio, but the best way to move forward is to start creating something new if you cannot retrieve a backup from your professor.

That said you can list what you did on the projects in a resume, your tech stacks and with a CS degree you should be able to find a position.

Just keep developing and get on github.

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@trejoa, that is unfortunate, however you can also see it as being a bit of a humorous tale of why version control is important, and can serve as a great learning lesson.

The best thing you can do (aside from recovering those projects), is to spin it into something really good. Go and learn git really well along with the development flows that people use with git.

If the projects you created had significant complexity in terms of their modelling (more so than a demo app) you can still talk about them, but it’ll be more useful for whiteboarding type exercises where you can talk about domain modelling.

Lastly, nothing beats a non-university project for showing off your competency and enthusiasm for coding. When would now be a good time to start?

It should absolutely still be in your resume. Regardless where the code is, that is still your experiences and you can still talk at length about them because you did those projects.

Most companies are not going to have time to dig into your code. Chances are you don’t even need to elaborate unless they specifically ask for it, which is not that common at all. They use project listed as a springboard/ice breaker to ask you technical/domain related questions, which hopefully is something you can answer since you were involved in the design and implementation.

For the most part, it is not that relevant for them to see your source code. If they need to see you code, they’ll ask you to code. What you have lost is the ability to organically bring up your projects and proactively offer interviewer and recruiters to see your code and projects, which can sometimes impress on the fly.

Take it as a sign to take inventory on your college course work. What’s important to you, what’s Impressive to others, you build them again, after all you built them once already.

As far as your resume go, there is no reason to take them off if your don’t have better experience. It’s better than the alternative of having blanks while you desperate tries to rebuild your portfolio. What’s the worst that could happen? A human being actually contacting you to give you a chance to explain? If people actually gave you a chance to have a conversation based on your resume, you have won half the battle already.