Need opinions to improve my portfolio and resume

Hello, I am a civil engineer and a member of freeCodeCamp since April and have been trying to get myself job ready as I would like to pursue a career in web development. I recently prepared a portfolio and resume to apply to some companies. Although, currently, I believe I am aiming over my head, my initial gain would be the experience of getting rejected couple of times.

Here is a link to my portfolio: https://calmeart.github.io/
Please have at it and hold nothing back. I have been reading other posts about portfolio and recommendations, and now I need a personal evaluation to further improve.

I have certain problems with the resume as I do not have any experience in web development. In my resume I am showing my civil engineering past which I often built simple applications with excel macros and VBA and run and lead teams, but these are mostly irrelevant. Instead should I give a list of training exercises and what I learned from them, like this?

  • Dice Challenge: Basics of DOM manipulation and implementing .js files in webpages.
  • Drum Kit: Implemented advanced JavaScript and DOM manipulation principles.
  • Simon Game(this one is actually in my portfolio): Used jQuery to manipulate DOM and create a functional web game application.
  • Calculator: Basics of Node and Express. Serving static files, using get and post methods to create a functional calculator application.
  • Weather Project: Learning concept of creating and using APIs, using Node and Express.
  • Newsletter Signup: With Node http module, sending request to different APIs to create a signup application.
  • Blog Page: Creating a blog entry application in Node/Express by using view engine templates, creating and manipulating MongoDB database with mongoose
    Etc.

I haven’t deployed or created github repos for most of these as their templates are often created by course instructors. In my portfolio, I only presented projects that I started from scratch. They are still based on the course material, but I didn’t copy pasted anything or followed along the material.

Hi @Calmeart !

I think you are off to a good start.

Here are my thoughts.

I think the messaging is a little confusing.
In both your portfolio and resume you say that you primarily work with back end but most of your projects are front end though.

4/5 projects are front end projects. Only the first one uses node.

If you are applying for backend positions then you definitely need more projects that showcase that.

In terms of the projects, IMO I think you should showcase original projects instead of all class projects. Take some of the same concepts you learned in those class projects and create something different.

The competition for entry level is pretty high.
So you have to differentiate yourself from the crowd.

For the get in touch with me section, I would probably remove the twitter link just because it doesn’t look like you are that active on it.

Keep building and learning!

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Also, I think these articles will help

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Thank you for your comments. Yes, right now there is only one Node project, but I am working on new original ones to expand that list. I emphasized that I prefer Node because that is the direction where I wanna improve myself.
You are about twitter, I would delete that.
Also thank you for the links.

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If you want to aim high you should work for 3+ months on a project that means something to you,

The problem with these little udemy projects and toy apps is:

  • everyone else has them on their portfolio
  • they give off amateur vibes

this is my first portfolio, I made it about a year ago, applied for probably 150 jobs with it and got nowhere… I did the same udemy course so you can see we have identical projects on here.

You need one project that will catch someone’s attention and start a conversation.

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Wonderful response @jwilkins.oboe nice.

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You need a r al world app like a real state app, booking app or library app

Thank you for this advice. You are right, it gives amateur vibes and I try to do some changes on these course apps when I work on them.
I have plans to start a big project but as you said it will take some time to actually display it on my portfolio. Until then, I would like to see where I am with the companies in my city. As long as this portfolio is somewhat presentable, it has to do the work.
I could isolate myself to deliver one big project for three months, but the way I think, if I get lucky and managed to land a junior job during this period, that three month project wouldn’t replace the experience I will get by working on a professional level.

Yeah give it a shot as you say you might get lucky, you’re certainly on the right track though so keep moving forward.

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Wow, well done!

Things I think you’re doing right:

  • Communicating your background in civil engineering well.
  • Showcasing your work with concise information allowing me to understand what it is you built and what you learned.
  • The website itself looks good and seems to work on all screen sizes
  • Your lighthouse score shows that your site is doing pretty good for accessibility and best practices.
  • You have a lot of projects which show me that you’re serious about this.
  • You host your projects on something like Heroku instead of linking to Codepen.

Things I think can be improved:

Lighthouse

image

  • Lighthouse score is very low for performance considering it’s a static website
  • SEO could be improved just to showcase that you understand the basics

Other Stuff

  • A few grammatic errors are present throughout the copy
  • You’re communicating that you’re a backend dev but from your portfolio it seems more likely you’re frontend focused or perhaps fullstack?
  • All of your projects are the equivalent of “class projects” or “school projects”. It’s good because it helps fill up your portfolio but I think you’re next step is to build something more substantial.
  • Your projects take a while to load (I’m assuming because you’re on the free plan with Heroku).

Improvements

Lighthouse

Run lighthouse on your site and follow the tips that are suggested to improve your score.

Grammar

Use a tool like Grammarly for your copy to catch any grammar mistakes.

Messaging

Change your messaging to say “fullstack” instead of “backend” or consider adding more backend projects.

Projects

Focus your efforts going forward on something more substantial. This is a matter of opinion but I don’t think “substantial” means “original”.

Nothing wrong with making another Todo app as long as it’s actually a real Todo app. It can be super simple, but real users should be able to sign up and you should treat it like a real-world production application with an actual deployment pipeline, database migrations, no free-tier hosting on Heroku, API documentation and versioning etc.

If you’re focused on backend this can just be an API but if you like fullstack, then build the whole app end to end.

No matter what path you go or what app you choose to build, think as professionally as you possibly can. Would a real company pay you a salary for what you’re building? Don’t worry about how long it takes you. Just make sure the final result would be an obvious “yes, someone would pay me to build this”.

Slow loading projects

Keeping your school projects on the free tier with Heroku is totally fine, but it might be worth noting the situation just under your “Projects” heading.

Something like “The demo servers are sleeping, please be patient when you view a project” or anything along those lines.

When you publish that one substantial project I recommend footing the bill for a paid hosting solution. Heroku will probably be perfect too, although I find it’s not the cheapest option out there once you start paying for their services.

But your one serious project should be as production ready as possible. It’s the one thing that will show to anyone that you’re obviously ready to enter the job market and probably have been for some time. It will set you apart from the rest of the entry-level candidates out there with very similar portfolios to the one you currently have.

Good luck!

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Actually it already looks like you have a pretty awesome todo app!

I didn’t realize how well fleshed out it was at first glance. You might need a better call to action on the landing page to make it more obvious how to get started.

I had to read through the “about” section to even understand what I was supposed to do.

But I think that app has a huge potential to be your center piece for your portfolio if you focus on taking it to the next level.

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Oh, wow! Your comment became my shining star. First, let me thank you for making time to comment so elaborately. I will do my best to provide some answers.

About Improvements

Lighthouse was a tool that I haven’t heard so far, but it will be really helpful in the future. I will attend the grammar and slow loading problems asap. You have provided so many useful directions for me.

About messaging

I am aware that I am coming as a fullstack dev right now, but I want to improve myself towards backend. I believe my skillset will be more useful for this. I have an anxiety because my friends who got their developer jobs as fullstack devs are shifted to frontend because that was what their company needed. I do not want it to happen to me as well, that is why I emphasized back-end so much. This is probably counter-productive, and I am indecisive if I should indulge this way of thinking. I should not deny any type of experience if it is in the industry, but I don’t know. Anyway, I am trying to increase the number of projects that focus on back-end more, but it will happen over time.

About Projects

Both, to-do app and loungelite was projects that I would like to use myself. I will improve them over time and I already have notes on how I will improve them. For to-do app, I am aware the situation about landing page, I would like to implement a calendar view for the landing page showing the entire month just like a wall calendar does. Connection to dates and task functions will be improved as well. As for the loungelite, I would like to transform it into a blog page where I can enter my daily progress, just as Ken Rogers said about writing in this article. I will provide a link to my portfolio so people can just view it there. Also, I would like to create more apps that would benefit me in my daily life.

Overall, I have a lot of place for improvements and the cave is just getting wider and deeper the more I go in, but your comment has provided a bright flashlight for a substantial way. I love how this community comes up with so many helpful individuals.

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So glad this was helpful to you!

Sounds like you’re on the right track and I think if you keep going forward you’re going to do really well.

As for the messaging bit about fullstack/backend I think you make a good point. Nothing wrong with trying to position yourself as a backend dev that clearly has front-end chops.

It helps whoever is reviewing your work to have the right frame of mind too. I’m not judging your work on looks or UX but would be more focused on how your API handles everything and the design of that API. If you said “fullstack” I might be more harsh on UI/UX while reviewing your work.

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