Presenting yourself online with premade templates?

Hi all!

So I have finished all of the front end certificates and will soon be starting on the back end. Before I do I made a few apps in React including a Memory Game, a functional ecommerce app, and a calculator. I am wanting to put these into an online portfolio site, but as you can see from the screen shots am not a designer and do not want my first impression to be anything less than spectacular.

To be clear, I am not looking for a designer job as my interest is in building apps, but does it look bad applying for front end developer jobs while having my own portfolio site be a template someone else made?

I’d appreciate any feedback you can give,


This could be me, but I’d do it myself for two reasons:

  1. It will increase your skills
  2. It will show potential employers that you can do both sides, even if your specialty is one.
    • one solution is to code right up at the front: “Back-End-Developer” above the fold.

I understand that approach. But I’m not a designer, and don’t want to be a designer. I want to build apps, as that’s what I enjoy doing. I know HTML and CSS, and this very basic template is fully responsive.

But taking it much further into something very pretty doesn’t interest me and more importantly I think I would be doing myself a disservice by it, as it wouldn’t turn out as good as some of these other templates.

But the issue is what such an approach communicates to potential employers. Don’t make the front end in React. But make it passable. Go Apple-style if you want: Thin, sans-serif. White background. Vary font sizes and occasionally touch up one element with color: I am a <span style="color:#33f">Back End Developer</span> comes to mind. Spend a few hours on it, and make it repeatable with some basic CSS classes, then never put more thought into it again.

Unless you are trying to get a position in UI/UX, or as a web designer, you dont need to stress on showcasing those types of skills, or putting your energy into learning skills youre not interested in nor need just to create a portfolio. If all you need is a platform to showcase the skills you do have for the type of job you do want, use a template.

Of course, if you have any front-end skills in your resume / skill set like html, css, react, etc etc…then no matter how simple and basic, create your own. It won’t look weird if you’re a back end dev who is a horrible designer, but it will look weird if you dont use skills you are trying to get people to pay you to do on your own website.

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If you’re not a designer and not trying to be, you’ll be working with other people’s designs all the time anyway :slight_smile: And using them properly is also a skill that you can showcase.

There isn’t really a wrong answer to your question, the only thing you should be concerned is what exactly you’re trying to tell a potential employer. Base your answer on that.

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Don’t be so hung up on the design. If it’s not a strong suit do what everyone else does, pick a CSS framework and just adhere to its designs. Material, Bulma, Bootstrap all comes with a functional look and feel, no need to re-invent the wheel.

I’m in a position where I have to design out of necessity because I’m responsible for a lot of front-end development and we don’t employ a dedicated designer, but I’ve rarely need to stray far from the basic material design look with company color scheme.

The whole reason CSS frameworks exist is to take the design headache out of developers hand when they prototype. Leverage those established designs and focus on your code.

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Just wanted to point out. This is not to say you shouldn’t take some time and understand some principle of design and UX. There is a point to have some intuitive understanding of the visual grammar that helps you create more efficiently. You just don’t need to meticulously obsesse over it from the drawing board.

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