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Hiring developers - listing IDE as a requirement?

I've seen this from time to time, that people tend to mention editors in their resume/CV and I've been guilty of doing the same thing(although with IDE's). Is this in any way interesting for the employer, or is it maybe even regarded as something naive and negative?

EDIT: I found this question which mentions a few reasons why maybe listing IDE's would be reasonable. Maybe this question should be closed.

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+1 for finding the duplicate to your own question. –  GlenH7 Dec 22 '12 at 2:21
@GlenH7 thanks! :) I must say that I don't really feel that it is an exact duplicate, but the answers to that question do give some good arguments as to why it would be positive to list IDE's, however considering the different answers that this question gets I will not vote for removal or delete it. –  Daniel Figueroa Dec 22 '12 at 2:34
currently it's a pretty close match. I re-read that question and Thomas Owens' answer and I think it's not too much of a stretch to say it answers your question. OTOH, feel free to edit your question and draw out the difference(s) between your question and the duplicate. That would be the best way to keep this question open. –  GlenH7 Dec 22 '12 at 3:03
My reason for not deleting it is that because of the different way the same topic is brought up the answers are different. None of the answers below mention standarized dev-environments or custom tools. Instead they tend to answer on a more personal level and completely different from the linked question. But I am aware of the similarities and thats why I mention it in my question. –  Daniel Figueroa Dec 22 '12 at 3:33
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marked as duplicate by GlenH7, Karl Bielefeldt, Walter, Dynamic, gnat Dec 22 '12 at 4:26

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

4 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Speaking as an employer and hiring manager (e.g. not an HR person...), I find tool listings incredibly helpful -- a person's choice of tools, or lack thereof, tells me something about the person. That something is typically positive, but it can be negative as well. For example, if a candidate says they're "a HTML/CSS rockstar ninja" and lists their favorite editor as FrontPage, I'm going to question that. But usually I use the information as an entry point into the conversation.

For example, regardless of experience level, when I interview candidates I always ask a question about IDEs. What that question is will depend on what they do or do not list, of course, but if someone says they use Eclipse, I'm going to ask them how. What plugins? Have you written any plugins of your own? What feature do you like best/dislike, and what functionality can you not live without, and why? Things like that. I like to hear people talk about their relationship with their IDEs (good or bad), because I learn a lot about their processes and workflows.

And for more mundane reasons, it's nice to know if a person will "fit" with the rest of the team's choice of IDE, because it makes pair programming easier, and general discussions about development practices have the same foundation. That's not at all a requirement, but it's a good piece of intel.

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Honestly when I see a resume with vi/vim or emacs I tend to lean towards those candidates more than someone with an IDE. That's based on my experience that more than a few IDE programmers I've worked with in the past have used their IDE as a crutch. Common issues I see are:

  • DropDown programming - The inability to program without the drodown menu of what fits as the next token
  • Redline syntax - Never learning the syntax of the language because you rely on the redline to let you know when the syntax is wrong
  • Not understanding how to refactor because the IDE will do it
  • Self limiting to only what the IDE is capable of instead of what the language is capable of (the clearest example is metaprogramming techniques that don't work well with auto-refactor, linting, auto-completion, etc in many IDEs)

When a programmer says they know a language, and have been using it exclusively for 3 or more years I expect them to be able to do some basic whiteboard coding. Not being able to do that after asserting your capability with a language is unprofessional and I'll probably stop the interview right there if I can.

All that being said I have worked some great programmers who have used IDEs. The key is being proficient with whatever tools you use so that you can work as efficiently as possible.

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I would give the advice not to do it, personally.

I sometimes find it very slightly insightful if they list either vi or emacs. If nothing else, it provides an easy way for me to break the ice with an emacs vs vi joke. If they say eclipse or visual studio or xcode or just about anything else, I couldn't care less. It's about the same as a carpenter listing the types of hammers they prefer to use.

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Wouldn't it send of an alarm in your head if someone who uses emacs or vi feels the need to mention this? I thought it would send the signal that the person thinks that the editor in and of itself is important, which it shouldn't be, should it? –  Daniel Figueroa Dec 22 '12 at 2:10
Unfortunately, the recruiter standing between a programmer and a potential employer usually doesn't know anything about editors, programming or anything else technical, and has been left with a shopping list of buzzwords that each resume must include. No Visual Studio? No interview! –  Ant Dec 22 '12 at 2:11
@DanielFigueroa: you make a really good point. –  Bryan Oakley Dec 22 '12 at 13:03
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Entry level

I would like to know that the candidate has worked with some IDE. Don't care which one, but that there is one. Almost everyone has these days making it not a differentiator.


I take it granted that an experienced candidate can pick up a new editor quickly. However, "Eclipse" and the like are common buzzwords in HR keyword scans. Making it necessary to include. I think it is best to include it in a keyword section so you don't sound like you think it is a special skill.

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Thanks for that answer, if it's not to much to ask for could you please expand on why you would like to know that an entry level programmer has used an IDE? I mean you can't really make assumptions about the candidates proficency with the IDE or the builtin tools like debuggers. –  Daniel Figueroa Dec 22 '12 at 1:05
Because if a person didn't use an IDE, then he/she will need to learn it which is much longer in case of juniors. –  tcb Dec 22 '12 at 1:07
But thats the case with everything with juniors and besides they tend to believe that they know a tool just because they've used it. I written a few applications with Visual Stuido but I can't say that I'm proficient with it, it's more like a bloated editor which builds stuff for me - and thus keeping me in the dark of that process. –  Daniel Figueroa Dec 22 '12 at 1:11
Because as @tcb noted if someone hasn't used ANY IDE, it will take much longer to learn one. A junior has a ton to learn on the job, I'd like to know he/she will be faster than average. Also, not using any IDE ever seems to be to indicate a lack of interest in program. Daniel: you've used an IDE. You won't be completely lost in it. –  Jeanne Boyarsky Dec 22 '12 at 16:28
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