Kevin here, again… 15 years later! I randomly stumbled across my old portfolio’s zipfile which lead me back to this post. ( to Jeff for keeping these old posts so well preserved.) I’ve put my portfolio back up, and this time it should be permanent, barring Github disappearing. Here it is: https://kzink.github.io/college-portfolio/index.html.
For those who were curious about where I’m at in life. I’m good! During my early career, I worked a few jobs and became pretty dissatisfied with the corporate developer life. Cubicles, clueless spikey-haired middle managers, worthless meetings, etc. A few years and I had had enough of it. That experience, paired with frequent reading of blogs (like this fantastic one) ultimately led me to quit my job and strike it out on my own. Long story short, I co-founded a software product company and have built an engineering team to about 10 members over the last decade. (Feel free to peak at my career history here if interested: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinzink/)
I’ve been hiring developers the last several years and, being on the other side of the table, I have some suggestions for anyone who is recently graduated or just entering the industry and now faced with doing interviews:
Anything you can do to stand out from the crowd is super helpful. A clean, succinct resume is a must-have and a custom-tailored cover letter, detailing out why you’re interested in the company/job (one that isn’t blatantly re-used for every job you apply for), is a great touch. When I hire, I’m not looking for someone who just wants a job – I want someone who wants a job and wants to be part of what my company is doing and what we’re all about.
If you’re doing an in-person interview, make sure you bathe, wear some nice clothes (not a suit, but something professional), and absolutely don’t be late. Bring a few copies of your printed resume and, if possible, print off some code samples of your work that you can talk about.
If you’re doing a remote/video interview, the above rules basically still apply. In addition, make sure your camera setup has good picture and sound quality (anything on par with a Macbook should suffice), don’t conduct the interview with the laptop actually on your lap (no shakey cam, please!), and make sure the internet connection you’re on is as stable and free of interruption as possible (e.g., tell your roommate to shut down his torrent downloads during the call). I recommend doing a test video call with a friend or family member before the real thing to verify. I’ve had to endure a few too many video interviews that were plagued by the aforementioned issues and it really sinks your chances.
Last but not least, a portfolio site is still a great way to help sell yourself. Hiring companies get flooded with resumes with links to candidates’ Github, and other repository, accounts, but don’t count on anyone rummaging through your code repositories unguided. This is where a portfolio site comes in great. It allows you to showcase your best work very quickly. My portfolio site was simple: I built a page for each project and…
Quoting myself from my comment in 2007
“Each project entry had a description, some code snippets, and maybe a screenshot or two - nothing phenomenal. I didn’t make entries for completely noobie “hello world” programs; each project was unique and displayed some level of difficulty.”
Having been 15 years since I built that portfolio site, things have changed. Mine was built from the ground up with html/css, but a simple Wordpress install with a nice theme would be a much simpler route. Github pages is another good alternative.
That is about all I had on my mind – I hope this is helpful to at least one person! Best of luck to all in your portfolio building, job searching, and careers!