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In your resume, what would you classify as a Programming Language? For instance, under Programming Languages (or a similarly titled section of your resume), do you list C#, Java, C and leave it at that or do you go and add XML (because, well it is eXtensible Markup Language) and XSLT and jQuery and all that too?

If you are not going to add jQuery under languages, where exactly would you put it?

One resolution to this dilemma would be put in the technologies you have used under the project, but that way, you are forcing the recruiter to go through the projects that you have done rather than giving a highlight of the technologies and languages you are familiar in.

What are your thoughts?

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JavaScript. The language is JavaScript. jQuery is a framework for it. –  Inaimathi Nov 15 '10 at 14:20
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@Inaimathi: ECMAScript, actually. –  haylem Mar 2 '12 at 17:24
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9 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

If you have to ask "should I put this as a programming language?" then don't.

You're not going to miss out on an interview because you filed XML and XSLT under "Tools and Technologies". But you might if you file them under "Programming languages" and you hit a grumpy dev lead who takes an instant dislike to you because of it.

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My CV has a "Languages and Frameworks" section that looks something like this:

  • ECMAScript/Javascript (JQuery, Qooxdoo, YUI)
  • C++ (Qt, STL, ATL, MFC)
  • Python (Wx)
  • XML, XSLT, XSD

This is for three reasons:

  1. Although no one would expect you to have experience using JQuery or YUI in C++, this does help disambiguate your hypothetical experience of Qt in C++ from your lack of experience in Wx in C++. Simply placing Wx or Qt in a later bundle of frameworks doesn't do this.

  2. It gives a concise headline for each category, so that a knowledgeable recruiter can scan it to find what they want, whilst still filling it with enough buzzword to get your CV to get past recruitment bots.

  3. By not calling this section "programming languages", I also get to avoid being roundfiled by someone who disagrees with my assertion about whether or not XSLT is a programming language. Not to mention those who maintain an arbitrary distinction between Programming and Scripting languages.

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If you need a technologies section, list languages and then list frameworks separately.

Better thing is to list your languages, frameworks, and other technologies inline with descriptions of your key project/work experiences.

ie, "Developed web application to do XYZ using PHP, Javascript (jQuery), and XSLT...."

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Don't confuse languages with libraries. You can list JS and indicate that you are familiar with JQuery (and possibly other JS libs).

My background is mostly in C, which I list as well as my familiarity with several implementations of the standard C library. I don't elaborate on each individual library (in addition to standard C) that I've worked with, unless they are notable (MPI / etc).

Also, if you are extremely well versed in the specifics of any standard, it is a good idea to list that standard. Again, keep it brief and try to confine the list to things that may set you apart from others.

I list my experience with XML and JSON, but only when elaborating on the "API Design" section of my experience.

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I'm going to respond from the perspective of someone who's read resumes. This is how I read them, so YMMV as always.

When I see a resume with something like "Languages: jQuery, Django, Joomla", it's pretty much an instant round-file. I would be fine the equivalent "Languages: JavaScript, Python, PHP", with a call out that you have experience with jQuery/Django/Joomla, but the first statement makes it look like you don't actually know the difference between a framework/library and a language, and that's not really a good sign.

I accept CSS/HTML/XML/XSLT as "languages". But I don't assume you've never heard of them if you fail to mention them specifically (though I will follow up to make sure, if you make it to the phone screen), and I don't raise an eyebrow at people who have a separate "tools" section where they list markups/VCS/servers they're familiar with.

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Personally, I have a Skills & Technologies sections, with different sub-sections:

  • Programming Languages *
  • Operating Systems
  • DataBases
  • Frameworks & Technologies (where you dump all the stuff you want)

* including markup / declarative languages, because recruiters think it's the same, and technical people who would hold a grudge wouldn't be people I want to work with if they cannot go past it after an interview.

Depending on the job, I modify it to include other sections and be very extensive like this:

  • Operating Systems
  • Frameworks / SDKs
  • Programming Languages
  • CLEs / VMs
  • Databases
  • App. Servers / Containers
  • IDEs / Editors
  • Office / Authoring Suites
  • Virtualization

Which I would admit is way overkill and laughable, but the job market being the way it is, and recruiters liking tick-boxes, I don't see why I wouldn't hold it against them. If it gets me through a keyword search, then I can send a cleaner and leaner version for the interview. (I actually produce always 3 different versions of my resume because of this, and because of cultural differences in seveal countries: I have a 1-page version, a 3-page version, and a very extensive version.)

But I'd agree with others: don't mix languages and libraries. That would be fine with recruiters, as they often - but not always - don't understand any of this in detail and won't see the line between the categories. But people you interview with will think that goes a bit too far. I'd still give you a call for a phone screening though, but I'd say it might leave a negative impression (for instance, I have to confess that my teeth cringe every time I see "J2EE" or "JEE" under the programming languages section).

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I disagree wtih Haylem on listing markup languages under programming languages - markup languages are used to structure data, not to actually generate it. You can't actually program anything with HTML, at least not in combination with Javascript - in which the markup language becomes the data storage medium, of a sorts. List those under frameworks / technologies.

Also, proving you actually know the difference between a programming / scripting language, markup / data structuring language and libraries / APIs will avoid you getting thrown off of the list after a quick glance at your resumé.

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You should target your CV/resume to the context in which it's being applied. Are you applying for a job where they want experience of "programming languages including Java, C++ and HTML"? If you have the relevant experience, list it. Ask yourself whether your Rexx knowledge needs to be presented at all, and if so whether to lump it in with everything else or put it in a secondary section.

I usually have a "relevant technologies" section where I list the things that I have experience in and have been explicitly asked for in the person spec, and a "technology experience" section which is a bit more expansive. Remember that the target audience for your resume includes HR people who aren't technology experts. They don't care whether you think HTML is a programming language, a markup language or a document format: they care whether they can readily discover if your experiences match those they've been asked to look for.

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In my Resume, I have set 4 sections. They are written as:

  • Client-side Web Skills: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery, Photoshop, Flash/ActionScript
  • .Net Skills: C#, ADO.NET/LINQ, ASP.NET, AJAXControlToolkit, SQL Server 2005/T-SQL
  • PHP Skills: PHP, MySQL, PHPMyAdmin, Wordpress, Joomla
  • General IT Skills: SDLC, DBMS, UML, Communication Skills

This is just my way of writing CV, yours will be appreciable too.

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