Apply and make at the same time
Companies love personal projects! Show them the work you have done.
Personal projects indicate good self-motivation and self-management. They also help employers with assessing your current skill level and coding style.
Language/Framework choice doesn't matter
It doesn't matter which language or framework you choose to start with. All of them do the same thing - they help you build stuff.
I started making front-end web apps, because it was so much easier to get started compared to back-end/mobile. All of the projects below are done in ReactJS - I loved the concept of components and Jquery was just too confusing.
Projects shouldn't be huge (or perfect)
Remember - your projects should be able to accomplish their main goal. It should be in MVP stage.
As you will see in a minute, my first projects were
- full of bugs
- 90s design
- not responsive
But they did the main thing they were created for.
Employers don't expect big, perfect projects - they want to see commitment to learning.
Therefore, make sure to hit the MVP stage, put it in your resume and move to another project. You can always update later. Perfectionism is your enemy.
I regularly tweet about my current and future personal projects, so follow me to keep up to date with my progress.
Todo list app
My first ever project with ReactJS. And just like all other first projects, it is a todo list app.
I learnt the basics of ReactJS, state management and some CSS. Useful stuff for later projects!
First time I have ever used an API - very valuable project.
Notice that if you put a wrong city name, it errors out. I didn't know how to fix it at the time. 🤷♂️
This project used the Wikipedia API. Since I already knew the basics of APIs, I was able to build it a lot faster.
I was already getting comfortable with conditional formatting and thinking about components.
Machine learning app
By far, this is my favourite personal project from the ones listed here.
Train a machine with your own inputs, so it can show the right text color based on a colored background.
How cool is that?? 🎨
I got inspired after watching a video about a neural network library. The ability to train it yourself added that extra interactivity that people loved.
Early version of portfolio website
I was making this in the weeks leading up to me getting the internship, but I was still gonna send it.
Looking at the previous projects, there is no surprise that the design is bad. However, it illustrated some new skills in React that I didn't know previously - react router and styled components.
Got the internship!
After 6 months of non-stop job applications and learning web development, I got my best case scenario internship - Airbyte!
When I got the internship offer, I had 5 other interviews scheduled up over the next 2 weeks. This was after months of email rejections.
Looking back, the main difference was the personal projects and the knowledge gained from them.
Go and start making things!