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Giridhar L.V

CEO, Nuvepro

Creating Digital Tech Portfolio in 2021: Digital Engineering Portfolios (DEP) for Technology Professionals

We’ve recently launched our new website and I must tell you that building a house and developing a website has several things in common.

The intensity was amazing and so was the thrill when you see your vision getting real in front of your eyes. It wasn’t simple selecting the partner though. I wasn’t too keen on going to a large digital agency and was looking at a startup that’s super hungry. Like us, I mean.

We spoke to a bunch of people and heard several interesting pitches. It was interesting to see how most of them had a digital portfolio for us to gauge their expertise.

One of them sent us a full digital portfolio of the websites she has designed and developed along with the client testimonials. The portfolio was nicely designed, and it instantly gave us a very good feel of the expertise and a measure of her capability to help us out.

It is easy for a marketing person, photographer, filmmaker, model, architect to show their portfolios as they are in a much more tangible format for someone to consume and evaluate. But what about engineers and technology professionals? There isn’t an easy way to create portfolios for them.

So, I threw this challenge to my team and within weeks, we have this Digital Engineering Portfolio ready!

In this blog, we’ll dig into what Digital Engineering Portfolios (DEP) are, some use cases, and how to get started:

  • What is a digital engineering portfolio?
  • Who is the digital portfolio for?
  • Use cases
    • i) Campus placement and good project
    • ii) Prospective employee
    • iii) Recruiters
    • iv) Employee due for promotion or project selection
    • v) Coming from a break
    • vi) L&D Skills and Deliver Manager Requirement: The HR Dilemma
  • Why have an updated digital portfolio?
  • Building a digital portfolio
  • Final steps

What is Digital Engineering Portfolio (DEP)?

The Digital Engineering Portfolio is a repository of projects executed by an engineer. The DEP will have copyright code snippets, architecture, and frameworks developed as a response to a technical challenge presented.

DEP is not a code dump of all the projects that a person has worked on. That would be illegal.

I’ve given my colleague a bunch of technical challenges (nothing related to Nuvepro) and he has solved them and uploaded the solution on his DEP. You can review the code and see if he has approached it the right way, whether the code passes all the test cases if the understanding of the challenge is accurate, and much more.

Technically, the Digital Engineering Portfolio is no different from any portfolio of a good photographer, but in a more tech language. It is a resume of sorts but the one where we can see the extent of their expertise as well.

 

Who is the Digital Engineering Portfolio for?

Short answer. Every passionate engineer.

Let me give you some use cases or usage scenarios.

(i) Campus placement and good project

What do you have to show to your prospective employee during campus placement other than the CGPA listing? It is equally challenging for the recruiters to judge you.

DEP makes it simple. DEP makes you at least a couple of projects old even without getting a job. It shows the range of skills you have and the kind of projects/challenges you’ve addressed.

Once you are recruited, the next challenge is to get placed on a good project. Well, that’s the dream of every budding engineer.

Updated DEP means that the possibility of getting a development role is high.

 

(ii) Prospective employee 

You are a prospective employee, looking for a job. You have made a stellar resume, but you realize it does not really show your expertise.

You want to stand out among the pool of applicants, and you know a resume won’t make the cut.

Here is where DEP comes in handy. Most recruiters look for your hands-on experience and the ability to be onboarded on projects quickly.

Amaze the recruitment team with both your resume and your digital engineering portfolio.

 

(iii) Recruiter

Earlier recruiters would look at the keywords in the resume, but now most resumes have all kinds of technologies listed.

When you get a DEP in hand, you get more information than just a resume. You have a well-ranked solution in front of you. Do you need to have the technical skills to assess a DEP? No.

Every DEP will have an inbuilt assessment and the scores will give you enough indication of the person’s skill level. You can confidently process the resume forward to the next level.

 

(iv) Employee due for promotion or project selection

This is always a tricky situation. Few employees get to work on complex projects and few others do not. It’s an easy guess on who gets promoted first.

DEP creates a level playing field. It helps in showcasing the right skill to get promoted and be given the right opportunity. In addition to employees, it helps the managers to select the right person for the job.

 

(v) Coming from a Break

This is my favorite use case. Some of us take a break from work for longer periods (continuing education or sabbatical to pursue other passions or during pregnancy).

When it is time to return to the corporate world a gap exists in their technical skill and the changes happened in the market.

While the education programs help in keep the skill upgraded, DEP helps in displaying that you indeed are up to date with the execution side as well.

You’d agree that this immensely would improve the chances of being recruited.

 

(vi) L&D Skills and Deliver Manager Requirement: The HR Dilemma

The delivery manager walks in with a list of roles that are immediately required to start billing with a project. The HR team reaches out to their repository to check if there are any people with the said skills.

The delivery team then reaches out to the L&D team to know if there is a possibility to reskill the team. As a last resort, they reach the hiring team for fast-track recruitment.

The culture of constant skilling by L&D and DEP helps the HR team to get full visibility into employees who have additional skills. This makes the fulfillment faster and enables immediate billing. It’s a win-win all the way.

There are even more use cases, but for now, you get the drift, right?

You can create as many use cases as possible and be a popular problem solver on social media and create your own community through DEP too!

 

Why is it important to have an updated digital portfolio?

We’ve seen the importance of having a digital portfolio. Let us now dive deeper to see why it’s important to keep the DEP updated.

Technologies are changing rapidly and so are the combinations. What got you here will not get you there. Your dated portfolios are not going to get you new opportunities.

It’s not every day that you get a chance to work on the latest technologies in a corporate. DEP is that platform for you to keep your skill database updated and put it in front of your potential clients/ employees.

Why wait to present your expertise when you can have it all displayed already?

 

How can one go about building the Digital Engineering Portfolio (DEP)?

Start with a GitHub repo, you can sign up for the free GitHub account here.

Here is a sample GitHub portfolio of my colleague, Rishi. And another by Manjunath, here.

Pick up problem statements that are in your line of expertise such as:

i) DevOps Project Ideas – Tutorial Works

ii) Top 10 Exciting DevOps Projects for Beginners [2021] – upGrad

iii) Full Stack Web Development Coding Project ideas – HolyCoders

iv) 7 Full Stack Projects You Need to Make in 2021 – DEV Community

You will be able to develop and deploy on the cloud too, if you have access to GitHub Codespaces.

If you don’t have access to Codespaces, then

i) Install all the tools needed to get started on these projects

ii) Start coding

iii) Commit it to your repo

With these steps, you will have the code ready to show to someone when needed. However, when it comes to demonstrating, it usually comes back to “works on my machine.”

The DEP is still not complete.

Codespaces are a good idea, but it has been in beta for a long time now.

We may have a better answer for you —

Final steps

  1. If you are from corporate:

We will then set up a time-bound technical challenge and hands-on labs. You can then create digital portfolio visibility internally and take decisions based on DEP. Roll it out to your employees further and see how it goes.

 

  1. If you are an engineer:
  • Visit us here
  • Write to us to get a demo of the DEP with a technology of your choice

We will then set up a free-lab session. You can join the free-lab session and build your DEP. Share your DEP with your prospective employers and we are good to go!

How do you think Digital Engineering Portfolio (DEP) is going to change the position of engineers and corporates?

#BeHandsOn