As a self-directed learner, you may not have a lot of opportunities to create projects in class or at a bootcamp. However, you can build a portfolio and professional references by participating in open-source projects. If you have experience in the field, you can also create a blog about your own projects and share tips and deeper technical knowledge. Your blog may be publicized and used to demonstrate your skill to potential employers. Adding a link to your portfolio and a personal website will make you stand out amongst other candidates and get you the interview.