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Building a portfolio: should you ship an app or put code on GitHub?

Recorded – watch the full episode on YouTube.

Do you think it's more important to be able to say, "yes, I have shipped apps on the App Store," or "here is my code on GitHub" in order to get a job?

John Sundell: So, this is something people ask a lot. Like, "do I need to do open source to get a job?" Or, "do I need to have an app on the App Store to get a job?" And the boring answer is always, "it depends."

Someone here in the chat is saying that, "you can take a shot every time John says silver bullets or static site generator." I think you could add, "it depends," to that list as well, because I tend to say, "it depends," a lot. Because there's no one answer here. I can't say to you, "just make an app and put it on the App Store, you're going to get a job." Or, "just make an open-source project, you're going to get a job." Or, "if you don't have either of those two things, you cannot get a job." Neither of those things are true.

"So there are so many different venues to take, which I think is one of the most beautiful things about our industry, is that there is rarely one specific path that you have to take going from beginner, to mid-level, to senior."

Again, it comes back to: are you able to back up your argument that you are the right person for the job? And if you can do that using a really nice app that you built, if you can do that using some cool code that you've put on GitHub, or just you followed some tutorial, like you mentioned earlier, you put those skills into practice. Our friend Sean Allen, for example, he has this amazing course right now about the Take Home Project, and just following a course like Sean's, or like someone else's, or like some of your many courses as well, and putting the result on GitHub just to show, “here, I learned this, here's my outcome, I tweaked it a little bit,” or something. That can also work.

So, it's all about what will you use to back up your arguments. You can use an app, you can use code, you can use an open source project. You can also use that you contributed to another open source project. It doesn't have to be something you created yourself. So there are so many different venues to take, which I think is one of the most beautiful things about our industry, is that there is rarely one specific path that you have to take going from beginner, to mid-level, to senior, or whatever you want to call it. That's not one path, there are a million different paths you can take to progress through your journey. And I think that's important to keep in mind as well.

This transcript was recorded as part of Swiftly Speaking. You can watch the full original episode on YouTube, or subscribe to the audio version on Apple Podcasts.

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