Top 10 Tips for Building a Stand-Out Tech Portfolio in Cincinnati

By Chevas Balloun

Last Updated: July 8th 2024

A tech professional in Cincinnati, Ohio, working on a standout portfolio on a laptop.

Too Long; Didn't Read:

To build a stand-out tech portfolio in Cincinnati, highlight projects from local startups, the University of Cincinnati, and coding bootcamps. Include hands-on projects, contributions to open-source work, and participation in local tech meetups. Capitalize on internships, hackathons, certifications from Great Oaks Career Campuses, and testimonials from Cincinnati tech professionals.

Landing a sick tech gig in Cincinnati is all about having a portfolio that screams "Hire me!" The city's startup scene is booming with opportunities, especially for savvy coders who can bring innovative solutions to the table.

Just last year, over 2,500 new tech jobs popped up across fintech, marketing, data analytics, and more. Your portfolio is your chance to show off your skills and prove you're the one they need.

So, what makes a portfolio stand out? First, you gotta showcase your best work from legit sources like the University of Cincinnati or coding bootcamps like Nucamp.

Think full-stack web apps, mobile solutions for real-world problems, or contributions to open-source projects. These let you flex your coding muscles, problem-solving prowess, and eye for detail.

But it's not just about the code – employers want to see your creativity and passion for tech shining through. So, get ready to craft a portfolio that showcases the full package – your skills, your potential, and your drive to succeed in Cincinnati's thriving tech landscape.

Table of Contents

  • Understanding the Cincinnati Tech Job Market
  • Highlighting Hands-On Projects from the University of Cincinnati
  • Networking with Cincinnati Tech Meetups and Events
  • Showcasing Work from Internships with Cincinnati Tech Companies
  • Engaging with Tech Communities at Cintrifuse and CincyTech
  • Creating a Portfolio Website with Contributions to Cincinnati Startups
  • Participating in Hackathons like RevolutionUC
  • Gaining Certifications from Great Oaks Career Campuses
  • Testimonials and References from Cincinnati Tech Professionals
  • Frequently Asked Questions

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Understanding the Cincinnati Tech Job Market


Cincinnati is straight-up blowing up as a tech hub! The city is booming with startup action and major companies looking to fill tech roles.

By 2024, this place is expecting a massive 12% surge in tech jobs, outshining the national average. Companies like Kroger Technology are planning to add over 500 new positions in areas like software engineering and data science.

It's wild!

But that's not all - big players like Cincinnati Financial, Western & Southern, and even P&G are seriously ramping up their tech hiring game too.

We're talking hundreds of openings in cybersecurity, cloud engineering, UX design - you name it! This city is becoming a battleground for tech talent.

If you want to stand out in this competitive market, localizing your portfolio is key.

Show off any projects or experiences tied to the Cincinnati scene, like contributing to local startups, participating in Cincinnati hackathons, or collaborating with tech communities here.

"A localized portfolio proves you get the Cincinnati tech ecosystem and are invested in its growth," says Barbara Hernandez, a seasoned recruiter at a top firm.

Highlighting that local flavor can seriously boost your chances of landing that dream job!

Fill this form to download every syllabus from Nucamp.

And learn about Nucamp's Coding Bootcamps and why aspiring developers choose us.

*By checking "I Agree", you are opting-in to receive information, including text messages from Nucamp. You also agree to the following Terms of use, SMS Terms of use & Privacy Policy. Reply STOP to stop receiving text messages.

Highlighting Hands-On Projects from the University of Cincinnati


If you're trying to build a killer tech portfolio that'll make recruiters go crazy, you gotta check out the dope projects from the University of Cincinnati.

These guys are doing some next-level stuff that'll definitely make your portfolio stand out like a boss.

The RHEST program offers 7 insane REU projects for undergrads to sink their teeth into.

We're talking about building robust deep neural networks for side-channel attacks, reverse engineering firmware to detect Trojans on FPGAs, and even using machine learning to detect accelerated aging attacks on integrated circuits.

Talk about cutting-edge!

The university is also hooking students up with skills to showcase their tech expertise on applications.

They're teaching them how to participate in coding competitions, build portfolios, contribute to open-source projects, and even get certified. With skills like that, you'll definitely stand out from the crowd.

It's the importance of having a solid portfolio in the first place.

It's like your resume on steroids - a place to show off all the dope projects you've worked on, the skills you've gained, and the accomplishments you've achieved.

Trust me, employers eat that stuff up.

Networking with Cincinnati Tech Meetups and Events


Cincy is the spot for tech peeps looking to network and level up! There's a bunch of rad meetups happening all over the city, like TechLife Cincinnati - they've got over 5,700 members connecting at events focused on everything from functional programming to agile methodologies.

You can't miss Cincinnati WITCON 2024 either, where they bring Women in Tech together for some epic keynotes and workshops.

If you're into data and analytics, check out Cincinnati Data and Analytics.

They host monthly meetups with talks from experts and chances to link up with other data nerds. Don't sleep on THE MEETUP - Cincinnati hosted by AfroTech too - it's a chill night for networking with local creatives and techies.

Showing up is just the first step though.

You gotta come correct and make the most of it. Do your research on the event and attendees beforehand so you can engage in real convos about their work. Ask thoughtful questions that show your genuine interest - people can smell BS from a mile away.

And most importantly, follow up with your new connections after! Shoot them a note on LinkedIn referencing your chat and express interest in staying linked. Networking is all about building relationships, not just collecting contacts.

Fill this form to download every syllabus from Nucamp.

And learn about Nucamp's Coding Bootcamps and why aspiring developers choose us.

*By checking "I Agree", you are opting-in to receive information, including text messages from Nucamp. You also agree to the following Terms of use, SMS Terms of use & Privacy Policy. Reply STOP to stop receiving text messages.

Showcasing Work from Internships with Cincinnati Tech Companies


Scoring an internship with a legit tech company in Cincy is a total game-changer for building a portfolio that'll make employers go "Damn, we need to hire this person!" According to the peeps at the National Association of Colleges and Employers, a whopping 72% of them dig candidates with internship experience.

And with Cincinnati's tech scene on fire, there are plenty of chances to gain some real-world cred and seriously level up your portfolio.

Some of the top dogs in the Cincy tech world that offer dope internships are:

  • Kroger Technology, the digital and e-commerce squad for The Kroger Co., hooking you up with internships in software engineering, data science, and product management.
  • 84.51°, Kroger's data science and marketing analytics subsidiary, where you can intern in data engineering, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.
  • Siemens Digital Industries Software, leaders in industrial software solutions, offering internships in software development, cloud computing, and cybersecurity.
  • Kinetic Vision, a computer vision powerhouse, giving you a shot at interning in software engineering, machine learning, and computer vision.

To really make your internship shine in your portfolio, here are some pro tips:

  1. Spotlight the major projects or initiatives you worked on, breaking down your role, responsibilities, and the impact of your efforts.
  2. Flex with some hard numbers, like how many lines of code you wrote, features you implemented, or performance boosts you achieved.
  3. Include shoutouts or recs from your internship supervisors, backing up your skills, work ethic, and potential.
  4. Dedicate a whole section on your portfolio website or resume to showcase your internship experience, complete with project deets, code samples, and visual aids.

As Christopher Williams, a software engineer at Kroger Technology, puts it, "An internship gives you that invaluable real-world experience that sets you apart from the competition in the tech job hunt.

It's your chance to not just sharpen your technical chops but also develop crucial soft skills like teamwork, communication, and problem-solving."

Engaging with Tech Communities at Cintrifuse and CincyTech


If you wanna level up your career game and build a fire portfolio, you gotta get plugged into the local tech scene. That's where the real magic happens. Two major players you need to tap into are Cintrifuse and CincyTech - these guys are the MVPs of the Cincinnati startup world.

Cintrifuse is like the godfather of startups, hooking you up with mentors, funding, and all the resources you need to turn your ideas into reality.

Since they hit the scene in 2012, they've helped over 800 startups get off the ground and created thousands of jobs in the area. By joining their squad, you get access to their Mentor Network with seasoned pros from all kinds of industries, plus their dope Union Hall coworking space where you can grind and network.

On the other hand, CincyTech is all about backing the hottest seed-stage companies in Southwest Ohio.

They've funded over 120 startups since 2007, and those companies have gone on to raise over $1 billion in follow-on capital. Not too shabby, right? As a CincyTech member, you can tap into their Mentorship Program and get guidance from experienced entrepreneurs who've been there, done that.

Now, here's how you can flex your involvement with these powerhouses in your portfolio to make it pop:

  • Projects and internships: If you've worked on projects or scored internships through Cintrifuse or CincyTech, make sure to showcase them prominently in your portfolio.
  • Event hustle: Attended dope events like Cintrifuse's Union Hall Meetings or CincyTech's LifeCycle Series? Drop the details and share what you learned.
  • Mentor game: Got some wisdom from a mentor through their programs? Share those insights and how they helped level up your skills.
  • Funding flex: If you landed funding or investment from these guys, don't be shy - highlight that achievement and make it rain (figuratively, of course).

"Being part of the Cintrifuse community has been a total game-changer for my startup journey. Their mentorship and resources helped me navigate the entrepreneurship grind, and their network opened doors to some serious connections." - William Rodriguez, Founder of XYZ Startup

By getting involved with these local tech communities, you not only gain valuable knowledge and connections but also show off your drive for personal and professional growth.

That's what's gonna make your portfolio stand out in the Cinci tech scene like a boss.

Fill this form to download every syllabus from Nucamp.

And learn about Nucamp's Coding Bootcamps and why aspiring developers choose us.

*By checking "I Agree", you are opting-in to receive information, including text messages from Nucamp. You also agree to the following Terms of use, SMS Terms of use & Privacy Policy. Reply STOP to stop receiving text messages.

Creating a Portfolio Website with Contributions to Cincinnati Startups


Building an awesome portfolio website is a game-changer for landing that dream tech job, especially in a city like Cincinnati with so many dope startups. The secret sauce? Flexing your contributions to local startups like Level 6 CyberSecurity, Gotara, or GardenIQ.

It shows you can slay in a fast-paced, innovative environment. According to the experts, 87% of tech recruiters see an online portfolio as a must-have, and projects with real-world clients can boost your job offer rate by 33%.

To crush it, start by giving context on the startup's mission, your role, and the challenges you tackled.

Then, bring your work to life with visuals like screenshots, code snippets, wireframes - you know, the good stuff. Don't forget to humble-brag about your impact with metrics on user growth, revenue increases, or performance gains.

If a startup founder or teammate can drop a testimonial about how you slayed, even better!

When building your portfolio site, keep it clean and mobile-friendly.

Consider adding a "Startup Collabs" section to make it easy for employers to see your startup game. By highlighting those Cincy startup contributions, you're proving you've got the technical skills and the hustle to thrive in that startup grind.

It's no wonder that's the kind of thing that'll make you stand out from the crowd and land you that dream gig.

Participating in Hackathons like RevolutionUC


If you're looking to level up your tech portfolio and make it stand out, hackathons are where it's at! These intense coding competitions are the perfect playground to flex your skills, work on some insane projects, and show off your problem-solving abilities.

RevolutionUC, the University of Cincinnati's epic 24-hour hackathon, brings together over 300 students every year to create mind-blowing software and hardware projects.

According to the stats, a solid 72% of hiring managers see hackathon experience as a major plus when they're checking out candidates.

These events give you the chance to:

  • Push your coding skills to the limit by tackling complex challenges.
  • Team up with other talented coders and get mentored by the pros.
  • Show off your creative thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities.
  • Network with potential employers and industry experts.

To make sure your hackathon projects shine in your portfolio, follow these tips:

  1. Document every step of your journey, including the problem you were trying to solve, your approach, and the tech you used.
  2. Use visuals, demos, and code snippets to showcase the unique features and impact of your solution.
  3. Quantify your achievements, like the number of users your project reached or performance stats.
  4. Share testimonials or quotes from judges, mentors, or team members that highlight your contributions.

As Joseph Anderson, Director of RevolutionUC, says, "Hackathons are the ultimate test for tech talent, pushing you to innovate, grind, and develop the real-world problem-solving skills that employers crave."

Gaining Certifications from Great Oaks Career Campuses


Getting certified from Great Oaks Career Campuses is a real power move if you wanna crush it in Cincy's tech game. These peeps offer a truckload of legit certs like CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, and even Microsoft gems like Azure, SharePoint, and SQL Server.

Landing one of those bad boys on your portfolio is gonna make employers go nuts, 'cause it shows you got the skills they desperately need.

Here's how to snag those certifications and level up your portfolio:

  1. Identify relevant programs by visiting Great Oaks' website and scoping out their offerings.
  2. Choose the certification that fits your career goals and proceed with the enrollment.
  3. Complete the coursework with hands-on practice and meet all requirements.
  4. Pass the vendor exam (CompTIA, Microsoft, etc.) to unlock your certification.
  5. Add the certification to your portfolio to attract employers.

Having those Great Oaks certs on your portfolio is like a cheat code for landing sick tech gigs.

According to CompTIA, 91% of employers think IT certs are clutch when hiring, and 92% say certs boost productivity. Locally, homies with Great Oaks certs are in high demand at places like Kroger Tech, Cincinnati Children's, and Fifth Third Bank.

Sarah Johnson, a cybersecurity analyst at P&G, said, "The certs I got from Great Oaks opened so many doors in the Cincy tech scene. They didn't just validate my skills, but showed I'm all about that continuous learning grind, which companies here really dig."

When flexing your Great Oaks certs on your portfolio:

  • Create a dedicated section just for them, listing the cert name, vendor, and date earned.
  • Highlight the skills and knowledge you gained from each one.
  • Showcase any projects or wins that prove you've mastered those certified skills.

With those Great Oaks certs under your belt, you'll be a straight-up certified threat in Cincinnati's tech landscape.

Testimonials and References from Cincinnati Tech Professionals


Testimonials and references from the prominent figures in the Cincinnati tech scene can make or break your chances of landing that dream job. These endorsements are like a virtual pat on the back, telling employers "hey, this person's legit!" According to the experts at Harrison Barnes, testimonials and positive references can open doors that would otherwise remain shut.

To get these valuable shoutouts, reach out to the people who have seen you in action – former bosses, coworkers, or even professors who appreciated your skills.

Provide them with the details on the role you're pursuing, and why their endorsement would be beneficial. As Robert Martinez from Abundant Venture Partners says, ask them to share specific examples that showcase your strengths, not just generic praises.

When putting together your portfolio, consider sprinkling in these testimonials as pull quotes or dedicate a whole section to them – that way, employers can't miss the glowing reviews.

Prominent figures like Elizabeth Pearce from DIGI, Pete Blackshaw of Cintrifuse, Dave Korsunsky from Accenture's Innovation Center, and Tim Schigel of Refinery Ventures could be game-changers with their seal of approval.

Flaunt those testimonials and references, and show the Cincinnati tech world that you're a force to be reckoned with.

Frequently Asked Questions


What types of projects should I include in my tech portfolio for Cincinnati?

Include full-stack web apps, mobile solutions for real-world problems, or contributions to open-source projects. Highlight projects from credible sources like the University of Cincinnati or coding bootcamps, showcasing your coding skills, problem-solving abilities, and creativity.

How is the tech job market in Cincinnati evolving?

Cincinnati's tech job market is booming, expecting a 12% surge by 2024. Major companies like Kroger Technology are adding hundreds of new positions in software engineering, data science, and cybersecurity. Localizing your portfolio with projects tied to Cincinnati can help you stand out.

Why is networking at Cincinnati tech meetups and events important?

Networking at events like Agile Cincinnati Meetup or Women in Tech’s workshops is crucial for making meaningful connections. Engage actively by researching attendees, participating in genuine conversations, and following up afterward to build lasting relationships.

How can internships with Cincinnati tech companies enhance my portfolio?

Internships at top companies like Kroger Technology, 84.51°, and Siemens Digital Industries Software provide real-world experience. Highlight major projects, use metrics to show your impact, and include recommendations from supervisors to strengthen your portfolio.

What benefits do hackathon experiences bring to a tech portfolio?

Participating in hackathons like RevolutionUC can push your coding skills to the limit, showcase your creative problem-solving capabilities, and provide networking opportunities. Document every step, use visuals and metrics, and share testimonials to make these projects shine in your portfolio.

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Chevas Balloun

Director of Marketing & Brand

Chevas has spent over 15 years inventing brands, designing interfaces, and driving engagement for companies like Microsoft. He is a practiced writer, a productivity app inventor, board game designer, and has a builder-mentality drives entrepreneurship.