Hello to all who read this:

I have been reading many of the posts here, where there are so many different levels of expertise. I am hoping that some of you may be able to provide me with some answers. I have read over and over again how formal training and credentials are not as important as a good portfolio. What makes a good portfolio? What specific items should it include? What techniques should I be able to demonstrate? What do the people who hire us need? What do they ask for? What should I be able to create?

I am absolutely in earnest about this: if you have any specific, concrete examples of stuff I should know how to do, well as Ross Perot used to say, I'm all ears


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A good portfolio shows that you are a good web developer who can produce decent projects suitable for the task.

It really depends on what you want in terms of business. I, personally, would have a rounded portfolio showing I can produce both corporate and creative sites etc. However some people only specialise in narrow areas, which is also cool.

As concrete, you need to show modern development in things like CSS3, HTML5 etc. and sites that look good. Depending on your clients, a knowlege of something like WordPress development is beneficial. You must also, in this day and age, have responsive/mobile design as second nature. Development with things like LESS are also useful I would say.

A photographer client might just ask for a 3 page gallery website, and a medium business may ask for a full-blown CMS theme that they can manage themselves. CMS is a wonderful thing, as clients can get on with their lives without having to pester you with little updates, from my experiance they feel more in conrol.

This is my opinion, but I'm sure other developers with different experiances would say completely different.


You can build your portfolio similar to whatever is the common requirements in your area.

Allow me to use my situation as an example, I can breakdown 3 distinct requirements in the state of California. If I want to be employed as a back-end developer in Orange County, then I need to show three different portfolios in MVC frameworks e.g CI, Symfony2, Cake PHP. Some requires knowledge in Wordpres too.

San Diego Country is pretty different though most of the time frameworks are not even mentioned, but they put a lot of emphasis on bootstrap as if it is the one running both the back-end and the front-end.

While others don't mind about PHP framework Interoperability Group suggested Standards, some are anally retentive ONLY to PSR2 and the position of curly brackets and tab vs. spaces .

In Los Angeles county and Ventura county, I would add template engines like smarty and twig, including some knowledge in Magento. As I go up north to Silicon valley, Zend framework, Kohana, Symfony2,Laravel, and CI dominates MVC frameworks requirements and for the template engines Twig and Smarty are the most commonly used in this area. Silicon valley also look for someone who have basic knowledge of composer, vendorization, PSR0 to PSR4. They just love anything that can either kill your server or test its limits.

While others don't mind about PHP framework Interoperability Group suggested Standards, some are anally retentive ONLY to PSR2 and the position of curly brackets and tab vs. spaces . I was reading some advertisements about an entry level PHP developer in Silicon Valley 3 years ago and this is how the ad was actually written.

Wanted entry level PHP programmer. If you are writting your class like this and you are using tab instead of space bar.

class SomeClass(){

public function do_something(){

        //arguments here



You don't need to apply.

What the company is looking for is a person who is extremely familiar with PSR2 . PSR2 suggests that the above class should be written like this

 namespace Foo\Bar

 class SomeClass()

 //four spaces from the left for the method and a camel case or Pascal case for the method name with lower case for the first letter.

     public function doSomething()
             //argument here



For the front-end, all of them would like to see if you have basic understanding of Less, css, jquery, ajax, and javascript, and all the things already mentioned by Mattster above. You should also be very familiar with the Twitter Bootstrap and Foundation as a responsive front-end frameworks.

Some company don't need any portfolio, but they require you to have a github account and of course it should have at least 3 repositories under this account.

The most common for PHP developer in my area regardless of the portfolio, they still want the applicant write simple Object Oriented program during the interview.

Be prepare to some extreme situations. Some companies are maintaining websites built during the time when the dinosours were still grazing on this planet. I was called by one of the most famous fashion designer here in Beverly Hills and when they showed me their source codes, I almost passed out and yet they want me to convert everything to smarty templating engine capable website. Things like that, you need to make it happened no matter what.

Make sure to test your portfolio for responsiveness.

Mobile Apps Development knowledge a plus but not required.
Do not lie when asked if you know mobile development. The reason is that mobile applications for android are written in java. They don't mean resposive web page. If you know how to develop android and mobile apps it is okay to say that you know the basics. Otherwise, just keep it at a low profile.

That's my take on the prevailing requirements in my area, others may have different. Not too many wordpress, joomla, drupal et al here, because we normally write everything on a frameworks from the ground up.

Although our requirements may appear to be tougher, most tech companies here are extremely generous. These are your previleges if you are really good in Object Oriented Programming in PHP + MVC frameworks + template engines or + Magento.

The majority of the developers and coders in California are feed very very well and it is true that some are allowed to sleep or take a nap in our office. Our offices have bed in it, and company outtings is very common on quarterly basis.

Some are allowed to sleep or take a nap in our office. Our offices have bed in it, and company outtings is very common on quarterly basis.

I'm working at the wrong place.

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