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Web designers, here’s how to build a great portfolio and land your dream job

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Getting your first paid job as a web designer seems like the most difficult task in this universe. It’s not because you are incompetent or lack any technical skills. Rather, employers feel a little hesitant to hire new talent.

But, every designer has to start somewhere. Right?

In this article, I will share some interesting project ideas to help you craft a great web design portfolio.

Now you might be wondering what the benefit of having a portfolio is. Basically, it’s used to display your skills to potential clients. In turn, it makes it very easy to land your first programming job.

Creative thinking

You don’t always have to design a traditional-looking website. Sometimes it’s better to think out of the box and use your web designing skills for creative innovation.

For example, let’s have a look at this Deep Sea project by Neal Agarwal .

Unlike most business websites, it has no monetary value. But, this kind of project will definitely attract a massive audience. Meaning you’ll have a greater chance to get hired.

I’m personally a big fan of Neal and learn from his projects. At the time of writing this article, he has released 20 fun and creative projects. “Spend Bill Gates’ Money,” “The Deep Sea,” and “The Size of Space” are some of my favorite. You can find all of his projects on the Neal.fun website.

There are many other frontend designers who took the time to show their creativity. For example, check out this interactive resume of Robby Leonardi .

So basically, the idea I want to convey is you should design something that will eventually bring a massive audience to your portfolio. The more eyeballs you grab, the better your chances are to get hired by potential clients and employers.

Did you notice how every other tech giant (e.g. Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc.) is now offering a dark mode option in their apps?

In 2020, dark mode because the most popular concept in the web design field. As this is a relatively new concept, you have the opportunity to create a “toggle between light mode and dark mode” kind of project for your portfolio. If someone wants to add the dark mode setting on their website then you will be their preferred choice.

Similarly, these days, you will also see web pages with glowing and luminous color schemes. It makes a web page look more futuristic and attractive. Having a template with these color schemes will make your portfolio stand out from the rest of the web designers.

Look for what’s new out there, and make your own implementation of it.

Design a theme for WordPress

WordPress is no doubt the number one choice for setting up a website. According to an estimate , WordPress powers 38.2% of all websites on the World Wide Web. Meaning, it has a massive user base.

So, if you target this community and design a pixel-perfect theme for them then you will get more reach to an audience that is actually willing to buy a theme.

You can design a theme for anything like an eCommerce store, forum, or a simple blog. But, a point to be noted is your theme must be mobile-friendly and work seamlessly across all screen sizes.

Create a UI Kit

A User Interface (UI) kit is nothing but a collection of reusable design components. For example, tables, cards, graphs, and menus are some user interface elements that are required on many websites.

If you are somehow able to create a generic UI kit then I would highly recommend you to go for it. It will help you quickly design websites for your clients, sell it online, or even distribute it for free.

In the end, it may become your main product that generates multiple streams of income. One by attracting employers and another from selling the license.

To get started, you can make use of Bootstrap and Material Design .

Admin panel themes

Admin panel is a need for every dynamic website. It helps webmasters to moderate their website with ease.

An admin panel uses a lot of user interface components to bring life to data. For example, they frequently use graphs and charts to display progress. On the other hand, they also make use of data tables to add search and sort functionality in HTML table.

In my opinion, designing an admin panel theme will improve your skills as well as help you land a relevant job more easily.

Enhance web designs of big websites

Did you know about UpLabs ?

It is one of the most popular websites where graphic designers share their designs with the community. Many tech companies like Google, Airbnb, and Fitbit regularly announce contests to pick great talent for their team.

If you are familiar with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator then you can participate in these contests. Most of the time, you have to redesign their existing apps. But, in case you don’t know these tools than I would suggest you redesign popular websites (e.g. YouTube, Facebook) with coding and display them on your portfolio.

Now, people who visit your portfolio are probably familiar with popular websites, so if you improve their design than the employer will be able to compare your work with an existing design to evaluate your skills.

No matter whether you’re a web designer, app developer, or content creator, portfolio plays an important role to build trust in the eyes of a client or an employer. You must display some past projects and reviews to gain a freelancing project or land a permanent job.

This article was originally published on Live Code Stream by Juan Cruz Martinez (twitter: @bajcmartinez), founder and publisher of Live Code Stream, entrepreneur, developer, author, speaker, and doer of things.

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Published September 3, 2020 — 08:00 UTC