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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Most of what I do no one will ever see January 23, 2009 12:41 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Programming, Technology
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The question I hate hearing the most is "What’s a website where I can see your work?" Fortunately, I have not had to answer that question in a good long time. As a freelancing web application developer, I end up working on websites briefly and then move to the next project. When I move on, someone else comes in an continues to evolve the website so using that website as an example becomes a risk of misrepresenting my skills. Perhaps I made a site that had valid HTML and CSS and was Section 508 compliant. With 30 seconds and one incorrect tag, another developer could break all that work. Besides, once someone else modifies the site, it no longer represents my work anyway. That would be like the previous home owner coming back to my house with guests to demonstrate her tasteful choice of colors on the walls.

To complicate the ability to demonstrate my skills, most of the work I have done has been on proprietary systems with most of the functionality available to the company. For instance, I spent a year and a half working on a billing system. In no way could I show someone code samples from that project. I cannot even walk them through the client side of the project since I no longer have access to it and even if I did that would be revealing client confidential information. The front end of that website was a single marketing page and a login screen.

And never judge a developer by their own website. I would love my personal websites to represent me professionally, but frankly, I am too busy doing work for others.

I digress. This post was not intended to be a discussion of skills demonstration. Instead I came to exclaim with glee that I spent the morning ironing out some nasty problems in my current application project! Unfortunately, all the changes, no matter how significant, will only be seen by me. The output, the stuff on the screen, does not appear changed. So even my client cannot see what I have done. And this is why I like to work on my house myself…because sometimes, I like to point at something tangible and say, "I did that!"

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1. brian brinley - January 26, 2009

Screenshots + code examples upon request. The biggest thing you can do is drop the things you did in this post.

Throwing out words like CSS, section 508, W3C, etcetetra will let the questioner know that you are knowledgeable. At least from my experience, all the work I do is for intranet and db stuff as well as it being the intellectual property of my employer.

2. Doug McCaughan - January 26, 2009

A while back I committed to creating a brief for each project I did and use that as my portfolio. Unfortunately, I did not follow through except for an Inventory Control Brief and a Content Management Brief.

You are correct. Screenshots and code examples are a must. Adding to my todo list. Now where’s that round tuit?


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