We recently introduced something new. Portfolio Projects are a brand-new experience within our reinvented Career Paths which launched in the fall. As part of the Front-End Engineer, Back-end Engineer, Full-Stack Engineer, and Data Scientists Paths — available to Skillacademy Pro members — you’ll build your own robust, recruiter-ready portfolio projects to share when you begin your job search.
In this article we’ll take a look at how Portfolio Projects differ from other types of Skillacademy Projects. We’ll show you what you can expect from the Portfolio Project experience. Plus, we’ll give you a sneak peek of some of the projects you may encounter as you make your way through the Career Path of your choice.
What makes Portfolio Projects different?
If you’ve been learning with Skillacademy for awhile, you’re probably familiar with Project and Challenge Projects. You’ll find Projects at the end of modules as you learn in Skillacademy. These Projects offer a lot of guidance and are designed to help you practice the concepts you’ve just learned.
We developed Challenge Projects as a next step. They also give you the opportunity to practice the concepts you’ve just learned, but with less hand-holding and guidance than Projects. While they usually contain starter code so they aren’t completely from scratch, they offer more of a challenge to figure things out on your own.
Portfolio Projects take things to the next level. They start with high-level requirements and user stories, plus a list of tasks and all the external resources and information you’ll need to be successful. But then, you’re free to go off and build projects on your own. Don’t worry, we’ll be there to offer guidance along the way if you need it. But what you build will be unique to you — and something you can feel proud sharing as you begin your job search.
How are Portfolio Projects structured?
At the end of each section of a Career Path, there’ll be a Portfolio Project based on everything you’ve learned in that section, plus the previous sections. They each build upon everything you’ve learned, so you can continue to hone your skills and practice putting all the pieces together.
To kick things off, we’ll share all the information you need to complete your Portfolio Project. We’ll share an overview of the project, the information you need to get set up to complete the project (such as details for setting up a text editor or downloading any necessary files), and the tasks you’ll need to complete to create your Portfolio Project.
Tasks are housed in a Kanban board that you’ll be able to use to track progress as you complete your project. You can click on each task for more information and drag it to “In Progress” and “Done” as you progress through the project.
If you get stuck while completing your project, you’ll have several options. For a start, you’ll also find “Hints” listed within each task on the Kanban board.
You can also check out the resources tab for each Portfolio Project. There you’ll find general advice for how to troubleshoot, like searching google or explaining the problem to a friend (rubber-ducking). Projects also have project-specific resources that are helpful, like documentation.
We also encourage you to turn to the internet for help. Try a Google search to look for answers. This is good practice for solving problems on the job in the future. You can also check out our blog post on what to do when you’re stuck on a coding problem.
If you still can’t find the answers you need, the Skillacademy Forums are always at your disposal.
Sharing your projects for feedback
When you’re done with a Portfolio Project, we encourage you to share it with the community for feedback! You’ll find threads for all of the various Portfolio Projects in the Skillacademy Forums.
Portfolio Project examples
What types of projects can you expect to create? It depends on what Career Path you’re enrolled in (you can view a list of Portfolio Projects by Career Path here), but here’s a sneak peek at a few of the Portfolio Projects you might encounter.
If you’re doing either the Full-Stack or Back-End Engineer Career Path, the first project you’ll work on will be Mixed Messages. You’ll build a Node.js console app that generates random messages each time a user runs the program and version your project with Git/GitHub.
While everyone creates a similar random message generator, we encourage you to get creative with it and make it your own. The projects that have been created and shared with us in the Skillacademy Forum so far include motivational messages, fortunes, random insults, quotes — and even a Random Potion Recipe Generator!
Personal Portfolio Website
The Personal Portfolio Website project exists in both the Full-Stack and Front-End Engineer Career Paths. For this one, you’ll actually create and deploy your very own portfolio website — a static website where you’ll be able to share your other projects.
Data Scientist Final Portfolio Project
As you make your way through the Data Scientist Career Path, you’ll complete a collection of Portfolio Projects utilizing data about U.S. medical insurance costs, gross domestic product (GDP) and life expectancy, endangered animals, and more. In one Portfolio Project, you’ll test predictions using data from OKCupid — and you can check out an example of one learner’s completed project here.
Then, when you get to the end of the Career Path, you’ll have the opportunity to use everything you’ve learned to build your own project from scratch, including acquiring and cleaning your own data.
Ready to start building your portfolio with Portfolio Projects? Simply get started on the Career Path of your choice. Click through the links below to start your journey: