It is absolutely certain that having portfolios is crucial while applying for jobs as a designer or any kind, or with any experience. While making a portfolio is tricky in itself, designers tend it make it harder by adding unnecessary complexity to it.

Designing your portfolio and building your portfolio are two different things.

While I have seen this trend to be more common to graduating students looking for their first gig or designers early in their careers, a lot of them want to build their portfolios from scratch. While building portfolio from scratch means writing code, it is often misinterpreted as just HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

While the idea of a designer knows how to write (or, understand) code is a huge plus, more than often, using it on the portfolio is a mistake especially when those skills are not very sharp. This limits designers and they end up showcasing their design skills in a mediocre way making the portfolio feel strictly average.

As a hiring manager, I care about your case studies more than your ability to write code. If I was looking explicitly for a programmer, I will hire a programmer instead.

This extends to the factor that a lot of our design ideas go through an extremely sloppy implementation due to lack of programming knowledge or the terrible user experience of building a portfolio.

This doesn't mean we, as designers should stop writing code, but using our ability to code several side projects and putting them in a very well designed portfolio adds a ton of weight to the portfolios.

Write code where absolutely needed.

It is highly unlikely how we wish to design something actually looks like how it is when implemented. This is where the ability to tweak things in CSS or JavaScript helps a lot and this is the stage where we can mingle a bit with code to fine-tune the intricate details. This has benefits which work on two levels; we focus on the right problems and we get to write absolutely necessary code.

As an example, I use WordPress as a tool that gives my portfolio a Content Management System it needs and allows me to focus on areas that help me be a better designer. I don't vouch for WordPress, there are plenty of such tools out there, but WordPress being open source and stable, is high up on my preference list. Having a tool like this solves obvious and redundant problems like templates, structure, tags, categories and to an extent even SEO and helps me focus on animations, typography and design which gives the person a better experience when he visits my website. If I had built my portfolio ground up, I might not address these issues, either due to lack of knowledge or due to not setting correct priorities. Either way, my case studies won't get as much attention as they should have. Hence, a tool like this gives me the kind of head-start I need and gives me more time to focus and refine my case studies instead of implementing already implemented features.

Image Courtesy: Carl Heyerdahl