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I'm living in a third world country where either you own a business, you get paid on dollars, or you are at god's mercy (I get paid nearly 15$/monthly here, and minimum wage is at ~8$, again monthly). I'm studying computer engineering and have some experience working at web and mobile app developing, and I'm taking online classes of web design. After learning of the importance of a online identity, I decided that doing probono work first would be a good idea. This raised a couple of questions:

  • Should I do pro bono locally (charities, new artist, etc)? Will my online identity be affected if most of my portfolio is filled with Spanish websites and such?
  • Should I try to find pro bono work online? How viable is it?

I have been told to stay away from pages like 99desings, but I don't really know where o how can I get a work, even if its a low paying one (If I make 100$ in a month here, I can live VERY comfortable, but doing it in our currency is almost impossible)

How else can I build a decent portfolio under my current circumstance?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this question is about life experiences or opinions on freelancing which is specifically excluded in the Help Center. freelancing.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic – Xavier J Dec 8 '15 at 16:56
  • Is there a way to reword my question? I thought it was okay since there where some others question related to portfolio building – Silver Dec 8 '15 at 17:21
  • Again, please review valid topics in the Help Center. freelancing.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic – Xavier J Dec 8 '15 at 17:22
  • I have read them. Also I have read some others portfolio related questions. I do agree that it might be opinion based. Do you have any options of how can I reword it so not opinion based? – Silver Dec 8 '15 at 17:34
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    I believe, personally, that this is on topic. Creating a portfolio is an important step for many types of freelancers, and the OP has shown they have an issue, and want to know how to proceed, given some options. I hope you get some good guidance here. – Canadian Luke Dec 8 '15 at 18:16
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In my experience, no one cares what the subject of the content is (as long as it's not offensive), they want to see how you handle the content - even if it's fabricated from scratch.

It is your execution that is displayed in the portfolio. It doesn't matter if its for well-known companies, a mom & pop outfit, a charity, a homeless guy down the street, or something you've completely dreamed up.

While overall time, budget, and resources may be a factor, I doubt anyone will either sway one way or another because the content happens to have a subject regarding a third-world charity.

Portfolio pieces don't have to be for real, legitimate, companies. It can help potential employers if they know you worked within a budget, dealt with client-driven demands, and things of that nature. But the actual focus of the content is fairly irrelevant in most cases.

Sidebar about "contest" sites. Yes, they are horrible. Not because of the projects, but because crowd sourcing sites that run the "if we like it we'll pay you" type of projects are just bad for professionals in the industry. They devolve the industry and it's workers into nothing more than "slave labor". http://www.no-spec.com "Spec work" or "work on the speculation of possible payment" is just bad for anyone doing the work, no matter who you are. Showing work completed for these types of sites often carries a connotation that you are not "serious" about the profession. I'm not stating that is true, merely that many may feel that way. People actually earning a living through professional services generally aren't those participating in crowd sourcing sites.

  • and the language wont be an issue? Maybe if I make pages both in english and spanish it could help my portfolio XD – Silver Dec 11 '15 at 14:23
  • Well, being multi-lingual will only be a plus. Having a mix of projects in both languages would work - some Spanish, some English. I wouldn't worry about every project having both languages. – Scott Dec 11 '15 at 17:56

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