Silver BlogThe Portfolio Guide for Data Science Beginners

Whether you are an aspiring or seasoned Data Scientist, establishing a clear and well-designed online portfolio presence will help you stand out in the industry, and provide potential employers a powerful understanding of your work and capabilities. These tips will help you brainstorm and launch your first data science portfolio.

By Navid Mashinchi, Data Scientist, Blogger.

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash.

Having a portfolio is highly recommended for every inspired data scientist. Branding yourself is an important aspect when it comes to showcasing your talent to the world. At the end of the day, prospective employers want to see what you are capable of creating and see if you are up for the job. In this article, I am going to cover the most important points you need to cover in your portfolio website.


The How


First of all, you have two options on how to create your portfolio.

  1. Create your website using one of many platforms out there, such as Wix, Squarespace, and etc.
  2. Code it one your own.

For those that don’t have any sort of web development experience, I would suggest going with the first option. I have used Wix in the past, and I have to say it’s super easy to use, and it offers you some nice templates that you can use for your portfolio. If you want to learn more about all the different platforms, I highly suggest checking this link out.

Now for those out there that have some web development experience, obviously coding your own portfolio website allows you to customize your website as much as possible. There are pros and cons to both options. Option 1 is less time consuming and much quicker. Option 2, on the other hand, takes more time, and you need to have the skills to code it own your own. I personally coded my portfolio website. I attended a coding boot camp in the past and learned JavaScript and NodeJS. I used those skills to my advantage even though I deal with data science tasks on a daily basis. Coding in JavaScript over the holiday season was just a nice change of pace, and it was satisfying to see that the skills that I have learned in the past became useful for creating my portfolio.


The What


Now, what points need to be covered in your portfolio? The most important pages you need to go over are the following:

  • Home Page
  • About Page
  • Skills Page
  • Work/Project Page
  • Contact Page

You can obviously have all those sections on one page instead of separate pages. However, you want to make sure they are all covered. I personally decided to have my landing page combined with my about page and have the rest as separate pages.

Home Page: On your home page, you would want to make a welcoming impression to the user. Add a nice background picture with a few words to welcome your user to your portfolio page. See below for some examples:

David Venturi —

Donne Martin —

Image by author —

About Page: This is quite self-explanatory, but there are a few points that people sometimes forget. This page should allow the user to get an idea of who you are and what your life story is. Prospective employers want to learn about you and see if you would be a good cultural fit before even inviting you to an interview. I suggest you cover the following points:

  • What excites you about data science?
  • How did you get into data science?
  • What do you like to do outside of data science?
  • Share anything interesting about yourself.
  • Attach your resume.

I personally would recommend a link to your resume in the about section as well. I think it’s a nice transition if someone wants to take a deeper dive and learn more about you. See my about section:

Image by author.

Skills Page: In this section, you want to list the technologies you are most proficient and familiar with. In case you don’t want to add your resume to your portfolio, having a skills page gives the user a good understanding of what technologies you have worked with. I personally decided to separate my skills section into sections of a data science life cycle project. For those that aren’t familiar with the project lifecycle, check out my article where I write about the 8 steps of a data science project lifecycle.

For example, I would list Pandas when I work on data cleaning. I just tried being creative instead of listing all the skills without any context. For those that are coding their portfolio, I suggest you use icons from Font Awesome and Iconify. Those really helped me make my skills page look prettier. See the following links:

Work/Project Page: This part of the portfolio is perhaps the most important page. At the end of the day, people want to see the projects you have been working on and see the skills you applied in action. It’s needless to say that you want to show your best projects. You should feel proud about these projects and be able to explain them in detail because it’s very likely that you will be asked at your interview and take the interviewer through the project. If you want to get a better idea of what kind of projects to showcase, check out this link.

There are two things that you have to pay attention to for this section. Many people think that just adding a GitHub link to your project is enough. In addition to the link to your GitHub, you also want to add a link to your report. In my opinion, your report is your project since you are communicating your results to the audience. Communicating your findings is a very important skill a data scientist must have.

Contact Page: Just like any other website having a contact section/page is a must. People need to know how to contact you. If you want to keep it simple, listing your phone number or email address should be enough. However, if you want to make your website more professional, adding a contact form and perhaps a link to your calendar would be impressive for making appointments. I personally added a contact form and also listed a link to my Calendly. For those that are coding their portfolio on their own, you make a simple API call to Calendly, and the documentation explains it very well.

Most of the website builder platforms allow you to add 3rd party applications to your website as well. So don’t worry, you would be able to add Calendly, for example, to your website as well, if you decided to go with option 1 from above.

Optional Pages: In addition to the sections that I talked about above, there are optional pages that would add a bit more spice to your portfolio. For example, adding a testimonials page would be very nice to have. This part can just be like a recommendation section from LinkedIn. It’s just another plus point when it comes to your branding. You can also add a blog or tutorial page in case you have your own YouTube channel and enjoy creating videos about data science concepts/topics. I personally added a blog page, where I have a link to my medium profile page and also talk about how I enjoy blogging in relation to data science. Try to be creative and remember a portfolio page is a page for your work, but you can also make it a bit more personal. At the end of the day, you want to show your work but also show who you are as a person.

Navigation Bar/ Footer: Make it easy for the user to navigate through your portfolio and also add direct links to your social media. I don’t suggest adding Facebook or Instagram, but you should add your LinkedIn and GitHub. If you have Twitter as well, that would be a plus. Remember being active on social media as a data scientist is important these days. You want to be engaged in the data science community.


Final Thoughts


My last tip for this guide is about GitHub and any other social media platforms. Make sure your profile is filled out with all the necessary information. I have seen GitHub profiles where a location is missing or no contact information is available. You want to make sure your profile is as clean as possible. I wasn’t aware until just recently that you can add a profile README to your GitHub. If this is the first time you hear about this, I highly recommend adding one to your profile as well. Check out how you can add your README to your profile.

Image by author.

I hope this article gives you a better understanding of what you need to cover in your portfolio and provides a good starting point for you to brainstorm how to approach your portfolio project. Feel free to check out my portfolio.


Original. Reposted with permission.