When can you claim a language?

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#1 jeffindenver   User is offline

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When can you claim a language?

Posted 21 March 2019 - 05:36 AM

I'm curious how others view knowing a language. How do you decide it's reasonable to add it to your resume? Also, will that answer depend on you're level like, student, junior, mid, or senior developer?

And then, forgetting about resumes, what if someone asks you how many languages you know? Here, I might claim VB.net because I wrote some madlibs and a sorting benchmark in it, but wouldn't add it to my resume.
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#2 andrewsw   User is offline

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Re: When can you claim a language?

Posted 21 March 2019 - 06:07 AM

This is difficult to respond to as it is very subjective.

  • How much time have you spent writing code in language X?
  • Have you written/created something non-trivial?
  • Have you solved non-trivial problems?
  • How comfortable would you feel if asked questions about it?


There is also the distinction to make between 'full competence' and 'familiarity'.

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what if someone asks you how many languages you know?

Again, I would put them into 2, or even 3, buckets. For example, I did spend some little time studying Ruby a while ago and have, over the years, managed to answer a (small) number of questions about it here at DIC. I won't put it on a CV though.

I suppose a judgement could be proposed: Can I provide good responses overall to 10 questions, or coding assignments, in the language? Not 'perfect' but 'good'. Does the prospect make me nervous?
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#3 DarenR   User is offline

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Re: When can you claim a language?

Posted 21 March 2019 - 06:53 AM

i put down languages i have learned and used-- not languages i have mastered because in reality you will never master a language-- they are ever evolving.

as long as i have been coding, i still dont use any technical terms and i know that is my weak spot. the reason i dont use the terms is because almost all the jobs i have worked were mainly single source projects where you dont need to communicate with anyone on a technical sense. for instance i have never once had to describe to anyone i worked with what an abstract class is ---- generally when i go on interviews and all the interviewer cares about are definitions, i kindly get up and leave. My reasoning is that you should care more about projects then what something means and generally the people asking definition questions has very little coding experience and or are put in those managerial positions because they were bad at something else or are good at bsing....
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#4 andrewsw   User is offline

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Re: When can you claim a language?

Posted 21 March 2019 - 07:01 AM

DarenR You must go through a lot of interviews before finding that 'single source' nugget ;)
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#5 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: When can you claim a language?

Posted 21 March 2019 - 07:08 AM

If I can reasonably kick into a project, with little trouble or needing a refresher book, for a given language then it's on the list. If it's something I use daily then it's higher.. lesser so down the line.
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#6 jeffindenver   User is offline

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Re: When can you claim a language?

Posted 21 March 2019 - 07:36 AM

I'm trying to decide whether to include C# or not. I can reasonably kick into a C# project, but Visual Studio is helping a lot. And if someone starts asking me about linq, I'll have only shallow answers.

Also, I don't know how HR staff would approach it. But if a developer is reading a resume for an potential intern (or even junior dev), I imagine they would adjust expectations accordingly.
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#7 andrewsw   User is offline

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Re: When can you claim a language?

Posted 21 March 2019 - 07:42 AM

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but Visual Studio is helping a lot

Yes, but that is the tool you will be using.

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And if someone starts asking me about linq, I'll have only shallow answers.

I wouldn't worry too much about that. LINQ (like regex) tends to be a topic that people research (or copy ;)) when the need arises. It is worth spending some time with, I have written some sexy tutorial material about it ;). More important than LINQ is SQL.

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I imagine they would adjust expectations accordingly.

Yes. If the job specifies someone with extensive experience and highly competent then that should be what your CV, and you, are measured against. It is not always the case though :whistling:. Most jobs specify far more, and higher expectations, than they actually need IMO. Maybe to scare people off? maybe because it is not written by the Project Lead.
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#8 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: When can you claim a language?

Posted 21 March 2019 - 07:48 AM

View Postjeffindenver, on 21 March 2019 - 07:36 AM, said:

I'm curious how others view knowing a language. How do you decide it's reasonable to add it to your resume? Also, will that answer depend on you're level like, student, junior, mid, or senior developer?


If I've used it in a job on my resume, I put it on my resume.

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And then, forgetting about resumes, what if someone asks you how many languages you know?


I just laugh and try to look self-deprecating so people won't figure out how little I actually know.
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#9 xclite   User is offline

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Re: When can you claim a language?

Posted 21 March 2019 - 08:06 AM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 21 March 2019 - 09:48 AM, said:

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And then, forgetting about resumes, what if someone asks you how many languages you know?


I just laugh and try to look self-deprecating so people won't figure out how little I actually know.


It's not like knowing more beyond 1-3 is linearly additive :)
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#10 andrewsw   User is offline

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Re: When can you claim a language?

Posted 21 March 2019 - 08:08 AM

In the web sphere 10 subsume to 1 (HTML/CSS/JS/jQuery/et al).
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#11 DarenR   User is offline

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Re: When can you claim a language?

Posted 21 March 2019 - 08:21 AM

View Postandrewsw, on 21 March 2019 - 10:01 AM, said:

DarenR You must go through a lot of interviews before finding that 'single source' nugget ;)/>

actually not ---

usually 2 or 3 ---- in all the companies i have worked for they mainly cared about whether you can do the job not so much on if you knew definitions to what something is. I did work for one company that was all about knowing definitions or technical terminology and less about whether or not you knew how to program.. this is probably why their program was bad and had tons of client complaints.

My back ground is that of blue collar worker, engineer and sales and over my years of talking to clients the conclusion has been that talking terminology bores them and they will think of you as an idiot so I just dont do it because clients dont care.....
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#12 ge∅   User is offline

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Re: When can you claim a language?

Posted 21 March 2019 - 08:52 AM

I guess the greatest incentive of the recruiter is to find someone who will fit in their ecosystem. The programmer of course needs to be good, but this criteria is not as salient because there are many more good enough programmers than there are programmers using exactly their languages/CMS/framework/IDE/design patterns/etc. So they have this very precise idea of what kind of programmer they want and they ask questions to gauge that. Now what you can do instead of being evasive is to ask *them* why it is important and discuss how you can fit in and adapt. Because they have this break that they try to lift by hiring someone that is just like this or like that, and if you feel you don't correspond to this caricature you must address it to see if it's really going to be problematic or not. And if the interview reveals it's not going to be problematic, the recruiter must come to the same conclusion and nobody feels awkward and you've shown off you problem-solving skill ;)

This post has been edited by ge∅: 21 March 2019 - 09:00 AM

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#13 jeffindenver   User is offline

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Re: When can you claim a language?

Posted 21 March 2019 - 08:53 AM

So the final reveal (LOL) ...

The grumpy recruiter I met with recently said she contacted me because I had C# on my LinkedIn profile. She didn't like that I had qualifiers. Well biatch, it's staying!

And, I'm adding it to my resume.

Thanks for helping me decide.
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#14 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: When can you claim a language?

Posted 21 March 2019 - 08:57 AM

Qualifiers? Like +1 Vorpal or -2 Charisma?
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#15 jeffindenver   User is offline

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Re: When can you claim a language?

Posted 21 March 2019 - 09:05 AM

The qualifier is that I've only written one significant project using C#. That could be considered +2 charisma, really.
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