I will be graduating with a Software Engineering (Game Programming focused) degree this year and I have been told that having a portfolio is extremely important especially for someone with no prior work experience like me. So I wanted to ask employers and others on this website, what would be an ideal Software Engineering portfolio to you? I know it largely depends on the type of job you're applying to but as a general rule of thumb, what are some good skills to have and showcase?
I'm not pro and this advice might sound odd, but getting job with no prior experience can be ie. done, if you accept to offer your working time not in exchange for normal salary but in exchange for experience (or reduced salary).
that is you work for free just to gain experience, ofc. it depends on where you live and whether you can afford this yourself.
it's the same thing as school, except you don't pay with cash but invest with your time.
It's a good thing that you are thinking ahead, and I think you answered your own question, it largely depends on the type of work you're going to do and your portfolio has to match that. If you are applying to work at a video games studio in your country or abroad, including projects like A* pathfinding, steering behaviors, small physics demos, multi-threading programming, graphics engines you've written perhaps, and so on, would be beneficial to you. But even then, it depends on what specific role you are applying to. If you are applying to work as an AI or gameplay programmer, you need to show projects related to that role so that potential employers can see exactly what you can accomplish on your own and how beneficial you would be to their team. It's also a good idea to show multiple projects to demonstrate that you are well rounded and not just a one trick pony.