Arkar Myat

Continuous Learning through building a portfolio

Nov 29, 2023Arkar

How I keep learning new things, trying stuff out, and staying motivated as a self taught dev with one project idea.

On this page

Today I wanted to share about my journey building a portfolio website and how help me learn more as a developer.

In this article, I want to highlight my struggle as someone without any design sense. Most people say without design eyes. Hopefully someone can get something out of my experience.

Once I got to the early stage of my career where I will have to start applying for jobs, I found a lot of articles online saying to start building a website for yourself to showcase your capabilities then I started planning to build one for myself.

Very first lazy ugly one

I started planning my website write down the list of things I have done, projects and experiences I wanted to add. I first tried designing one in Figma which I failed miserably.

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Reality : I just always feel like my website is too small, simple and design is too boring for anyone to impress and feel bad about myself.

For a couple weeks, I gave up nothing really happens focusing on other things . Then, I got motivated again try to actually squeeze out all my design skills.

Rolling up my sleeves, something must come out tonight.

As a result, I ended up cloning a Gatsby.js Starter template and switched all my info in it.

Check out here : Link

Reality: I got side tracked by the easy way which miss the point of building a portfolio website.

The second one with a plan

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Checkout here : Link

Fast forward about a year, comes my second attempt to build one. This time I came up with a whole new different mind .

At the time, I was mostly working with Next.js at my job. I got inspired by Leerob’s website. What I ended doing is that I tried to create the exact copy of his website in Figma .

In the process, I started to notice the details a design. A win for me for a guy without design eyes.

I believe that using someone’s design and then tweaking my own liking and flavor help me jump over the blocks of not knowing where to start.

First copy version :

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Tweaked version :

I was playing around with Content-layer for the first time with the blog and I started to notice that I should always consider my website to more like a playground where I can test all the things I wanted to learn or try.

I got to learn a lot about Next.js, NextAuth, localization in Next.js and Content-layer in the progress.

Wins: Imitate - Tweak - Make your own

The third one with more curiosity

In my third portfolio, yeah for the third time. I remember it was also out of nowhere probably in the Friday. I was using Gatsby sites and GraphQl a lot at my job which I hate btw. I feel like the need to play around with some dream stack.

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At the time, I was also inspired by the new Android version coming out and a new material design Material Design 3 . I started looking for inspirations and got idea from Nikolovlazar’s website . Chakra UI was a hot at the time so I tried building my v3 with Chakra UI and try mix of Material design 3.

V3 :

Github :

The lesson I learned from this one is that sometimes, when you are feeling bored or feel like doing day job a lot and not being able to work on your dream stack, just try make something with alternatives.

The Svelte one

For this time, I got a pattern for learning new frameworks by just building portfolios with tools I wanted to try. I watched a couple of svelte tutorials and read docs tutorials.

I then try solving a known problem with it. Which give me more understanding of the tech stack from the basic syntax to actually building something with it.

Check out here : Link

The current one

For the final one, I have to move away from Chakra UI due to server components update .For this one I got inspired from Pauli . Same story while learning the latest server components from React. I tried to clone the design from Pauli’s website and try to make my own eventually.

Inspired clone :

V1 :

V2 :

Current :

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From my experience, having a portfolio make you always have something to do which is very important at a beginner level.

I might not have crafted the most stellar design and code in my progress, I definitely did learn a whole lot in term of design and new technologies.

Instead of getting stack at tons of tutorial hell, I believe building stuffs repeatably is the way to go.

That’s how I got the motivation to keep working on beerlang which I try to understand and build over and over again.

I also got the habit of learning new technologies, syntax and frameworks by just solving a problem that I already know the solution which make me adapt faster to new technology.

As for the next step, I am leaning more towards the backend so I will be using the same approach as I did with my portfolio.

I am currently interested in learning more Go so will be building more backend stuffs with it.

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