Projects for job hunting

Hi guys, I am a computer science master program student who self educate web development especailly front-end/react during free time, I am wondering what kind of projects would be appreciated to potential employers?

I am currently building an employee information management system with react and node.js mongoDB. it is my first personal fullstack project(I have built fullstack projects with other students before which i worked on the frontend and DB part)
To be honestly, i feel very uncertain about these projects i have finished or building, because they look like toy in compare with these business/ industrial projects. I am not sure how good/how complex/ how advanced projects do i have to build to make these potential employers consider me as qualified front-end/web developer.
Could you guys leave me some tips? or should i build UI clone projects base on these commercial website/ mobile app such as facebook, twitter, amazon?

In my experience, what the project is matters less than how into it you got. Creating something more ambitious - that takes time, research, passion, and maybe even collaboration - is worth talking about where as little tutorial-level projects aren’t. Also, being passionate about the project makes a world of difference in your interview. If you get excited when you’re talking about what you built and how you built it that will make a significant impression on your interviewers.

Well the best way is to see what the employees are doing. if they have a site. Try building yours in that style as well.
If you can show them you already have taking part in the methodes they use. They can intergate you faster in the company and save time training you. See it a bit, as you are a product that a company will buy.

I also do not think its that important what the site does, or is, but rather what you learned in building it.
Lets take two scenarios:

  1. You build a copy-paste version of Facebook with limited functionality, but stole most of the UI from the actual FB so it looks legit, but only the bare minimum works.
  2. You build your information system with a lot of different functionality, integrating a number of different tools and technologies into your stack. Your not a designer so it looks really bare minimum. You also struggled with and ran into a number of other issues related to all the different technologies, so some parts of the app are buggy.

In the 1st one you end up with something more “refined”, but you end up less knowledge and less experience. The 2nd one you end up with something less refined, but a heck more knowledge and experience due to striving for “breadth” of knowledge rather then specialization.

I believe the best projects to create when starting out have the following three things going for them:

  1. You can show them off
  2. You learn something building them
  3. You can talk in depth about them, your struggles, and challenges

This way you can show it of at a glance, and talk about your experience in depth. Being able to say “I did this, but had trouble with this, this and this” is better then “Look what I built, it looks fancy!” because it means you spent time and effort building it and learning to build it.

Your current project sounds like a good project if you haven’t done a full stack app. Obviously the more bells and whistles you throw into the project the more you will learn, and the more “you can show off”. Just make sure you do focus on learning, as building stuff just to show off should be secondary to actually learning something to leverage in the future. And finally depending on your job goals, the UI might be completely worthless if your not focusing on that aspect, or if you want to be more of a UI/front-end person then the UI should at least be acceptable. All depends on your goals.

Good luck keep building!


I see, that’s what i got from my previous student projects as well. I understand what did you mean on the second scenario--------which i could learning more and improve my developing skills. and most important, in the future interviews i could telling these potential employers about the story how did manage to get through these tech challenages and other issues during development, so they will appreciate my problem solving ability and leanring ability, coding passionate . correct?

I am mainly aiming to front-end developer position since i have never built any heavy weight backend projects before. although my master education is mainly focus on distributed system and parallel system, but i want to get a job soon, there fore i decide to focus on front end jobs since it taking shorter time to leanring these front end skills(still, would like to be a decent fullstack in the future)

But how good do these projects have to be, I have built a simple weather report SPA and a personal todo list use firebase as datebase, but these are too simple like you said,
What about a demonstrable simple but fully functional responsive shopping website? or something else "complex and advanced " enough?

I guess it depends on what your trying to achieve with the project(s). If your goal is to create a portfolio that you use to augment your resume, then you want them to represent your professional ability.

Your project has to be good enough to make a good first impression. Not saying you have to wow them in less than 30 seconds, but that the look and feel should be professional. Chances are that the employer is not going to delve into the whole app, but just peruse it quickly, then if they find it interesting, browse for a bit through your sources on github.

As for what makes a good first impression, it all depends on the position, and of course the interviewer. Don’t depend on a project to get your foot in the door though – they’re only going to bother looking at it if your resume already catches their interest.