Earlier this year the Talent Development team wrote a blog providing useful tips when writing a CV for all types of job applications. Another important aspect for a lot of roles within the tech industry is having a great portfolio and being able to showcase and relate your skills and interests to the job you're applying for.
Our Software Engineer Andrew, who joined ZeroLight as a graduate two years ago, has given his advice on how to create a portfolio for graduate applications in tech -
- Although it's highly advised to have your academic content and overview of project submissions; you should avoid relying on this alone to demonstrate your skillset. This content is the most likely to be similar to your peers (especially in cases where there are strict marking criteria for assignments) as well as focusing on a small subset of a larger subject. Think about the career traits you want your portfolio to highlight; simply having a well realised self-driven project speaks for itself in communicating motivation, drive and in most cases a more organic understanding of the subject matter.
- Employers should have quick clarity about what skills you are demonstrating in a project - A short succinct title and even sub-header if needed is a good way to complete this goal and lead into a 'content highlight' such as videos, interactive demos, code snippets etc. When showcasing work that is the result of a team setting, make sure it is clear what your contribution to a team-project is. This also provides a nice opportunity to address any soft skills you consider a strength, as well as your experience of a specific role in a multi-diversity team. This is especially important in tech as people work on larger products with many moving pieces.
- When embedding or linking to code, try to make these code 'snippets' rather than a direct link to the root of a large codebase. While a comprehensive demonstration is nice it is often a lot to take in, and the same effect can be achieved with a small focused snippet of code along with clear understanding of its purpose. This is often a standard in tutorials or example implementations online so there is a lot of guidance on this available. The resources at https://learnopengl.com are a great starting point (though for a portfolio site rather than tutorials you should try to keep this more brief where used).
- If you have anything executable or that requires compiling that you intend to showcase, ensure it compiles or provides clear steps, or has a video showing the software alongside it as backup. An employer will not have time to try to resolve errors
- Keep versatile and explore how tech is changing - What is on the horizon? What kind of brand-new things might be useful to know about? Checking forums/specialist news online might help! Often conferences around specific fields (SIGGRAPH etc.), a summary of your thoughts on recent conference's, interesting papers/upcoming techniques can be a great way to highlight your specific area of interest, as well as an ability to keep relevance with the moving ‘modern standards' - invaluable in tech!
- Don't let yourself be blocked by website design and formatting (unless of course, you are interested in Web dev!). If it can't be helped and you know you're going to find yourself putting time into this, the best focus for that effort is on a good landing page that points clearly to your projects and additional information. Make the things you want to show off as easy as possible to view.