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How to Describe Programming Experience

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As a programmer, you often speak a language that others might not. Your qualifications and proficiencies really only make sense to those also in the industry. Still, when submitting resumes or talking up your skills to a potential employer, it's important to use both layman's terms and technical jargon to ensure that your experience shines through. When discussing your experience, focus on how your programming helped clients or past employers for the most effective resume or interview.

Start with an objective paired with a brief overview of your experience. Whether you're writing a resume, or in a live interview, it's important to detail how long you've been programming and your basic education and skills that qualify you for a specific job. Brevity is key, since you'll have time to detail exact specifications and proficiencies in the body of the interview or resume.

List the languages, applications and systems in which you're proficient. While not everyone will understand your skills, those who are responsible for hiring will want to know all that you can do. Remember to include languages such as C++. Java and SQL, along with applications such as MS Visual Studio and the operating systems you have the most experience with. Be specific, so a potential employer knows exactly what to expect from you.

Name specific projects that you worked on for various clients or companies. Detail specifically how you contributed to a project, development or application and how it ultimately benefited the client in the long run. Prospective employers don't only want to know how proficient you are in programming, but how you apply your knowledge and skills to specific projects.

Speak or write in layman's terms when you detail how you affected a specific project. While you know how highly technical coding an application or writing a new program is, explaining how it was done is confusing to someone who is less proficient. Instead, focus on what was accomplished, rather than exactly how it was accomplished.

Detail both your formal programming education and your certifications. Prospective employers will want to know if you're a Cisco Certified Network Associate. Not only does it show that you have even more knowledge and skill, it proves that you further your education to keep yourself relevant in the programming game.


Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.

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