I have about 10 years experience working in web development agencies as a Project Manager/User Researcher.

2 years ago I decided to move into a technical role and did an MSc in Computer Science at a well-respected university. I graduated near the top of the class. I learned HTML, CSS, JavaScript, MySQL, bash, Java and built and android app. I have no professional experience as a programmer, but have a good educational grounding and all of my project management experience.

I've since had to move to a remote part of the country for my husbands work. There are no jobs available locally, and it's not feasible to commute (travel and childcare combined are more than I would earn).

I've decided to try and establish myself as a remote freelancer (in app/web development), but I have no portfolio and need to build one. I don't care if I have to work for free to do that, but how do I go about finding projects that are portfolio worthy?

I've tried lots of not-for-profit job boards but no one seems to want volunteers to get involved in web/software stuff.

Can anyone advise?

Thanks in advance.

2 Answers 2


You can create three of your own projects in the language that you prefer and use LinkedIn and Instagram to sell development services. The idea is you can show your abilities to make things like a web page or mobile app; it's so important in interviews or if your client wants to buy services from you.

As another alternative, if you want to practice and build non-profit projects, you can check: https://www.freecodecamp.org/


I highly recommend investing time into building a reputation on a freelancer platform like Upwork. That's how I got my portfolio off the ground.

Approach the process as an investment into your freelancer career. Don't expect that you'll be able to make a living with it right away. Bid on interesting jobs and start with low hourly rates/fixed price bids. Do good work, deliver on time, and exceed expectations. Add every completed project to your portfolio (on your own web page or on Upwork) and make sure to get positive reviews from your clients.

Over time, your portfolio grows and you can start rising your rate. This is how I went from $25/hour to $120/hr on Upwork over the course of about a 1.5 years. I now no-longer take on new clients on Upwork and have a number of clients outside of Upwork who found me by word of mouth from happy Upwork clients.

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