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Would an "unfinished" project(s) be worthy to present in interviews?

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Entry-Level Software Engineer at Unemployeda month ago

Hi there, everybody. I was aiming to build a few applications to present in interviews. Last week, I was building a small-scale Spring Boot application with the help of a tutorial. The project I was working on was meant to retrieve data from a database using PostgreSQL to provide multiple choice DSA questions. I was creating an automated study buddy for technical interviews. Unfortunately, I've been trying to figure out some technical issues and database connectivity mishaps for some days, unfortunately to no avail. Currently, I'm working through a Node.Js tutorial to build an application geared to help me keep track of the things I'd like to do during my job search, so I can always stay on task. I don't know if I'm going to run into some more issues that plague me.

The thing is, I'm learning a LOT from both experiences. Now I feel I can have an educated conversation on the trade-offs of monolithic and microservice architectures... and I LOVE what I'm learning. I'd really like to have at least 3 small-scale projects handy that I'm using to automate my own life and make this job search easier for me.

Of course I'm going to continue to try to plow through these issues, and I'm not here to necessarily ask for help with my applications (although I won't say no if someone wants to help). It'd be great if I can explain how I solved these problems, because I know the challenging problems I've solved are what I'd want to highlight to people in an interview.

But let's say if the day comes where I have an interview and DON'T have a "finished" product, yet I still have these code samples that I can defend and show that I've gained a great deal of experience from... would it be a good idea to present these in an interview?

Thanks for the help,

Evan

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Discussion

(3 comments)
  • 2
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    I think you should go for it: It's far better than nothing. I'm glad you're having a lot of fun with these side project and learning from them - This is why I'm such a big fan of side projects!

    Unfinished side projects are one of those things where it could be tremendously valuable during an interview but it certainly won't get you get an interview as it would look pretty awful on your resume.

    For more help/inspiration with side projects, check this out: [Taro Top 10] Building Impressive Side Projects

  • 2
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    Eng @ Taro
    a month ago

    I would make sure the core functionality of your side projects is working. If the interviewer were to ask you to demo the side projects, I would make sure you'd be able to do that. It's rare that they'd ask you to do that, but it would be a bad sign if you tried to demo the product, and you weren't able to perform the main use case.

    For you Spring Boot app, I'd try to get the data fetching working since it's core to the app.

    • 0
      Profile picture
      Entry-Level Software Engineer [OP]
      Unemployed
      a month ago

      Appreciate your answers, Alex and Charlie! My node stuff seems fine (so far, anyway, but we'll see when I get to the HTTP calls). I figured that after presenting a working Node (if I have to), then I can discuss the differences between a monolithic architecture I'd be presenting versus a microservice architecture from Spring Boot that I was aiming for. That way, if I can get one to at least semi-work, I can show I'm able to have an educated conversation on these topics. Thanks again!

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