Listing Programming Languages on Your Resume

I love programming and know a few programming languages. Every programmer I’ve met has a favorite language, however, most of us can code in more than one language. As I was revising the ‘Language’ portion of my resume, I became confused.

Should you mention all the languages you can code in?

What if they expect you to be practiced in (insert language you haven’t used in the last 3 months) and you fail the interview?

Should you be safe and only list the languages you are fluent in?

How do you simply represent skill level in languages?

I decided to divide my knowledge of languages into “proficient” and “familiar.” Here is a guide on how to sort your languages into these two categories.

If you are “proficient” at a programming language, you can sit down and code (without consulting the internet or a book) and produce a functional program. You can write efficient, concise code in this language. If given source code, you can optimize it.

If you are “familiar” at a programming language, you’ve coded at least 5 functional programs in this. You can code a simple program with no bugs. If given internet access, you can produce a complex program. If given source code in this language, you can understand what it does and check for errors. You will likely think “I know how to do this in (insert proficient language here)! How do I do this in (insert familiar language here)?” over 3 times while coding a simple program.

For example, my ‘Language’ section currently looks like this:

(I added my knowledge of Braille and Morse Code because it amuses me to present all types of languages in my language section.)

Written on April 8, 2013