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I'm writing my CV, and having trouble explaining about the software for enterprise I developed in my previous job. Now I'm thinking of writing following 4 things for each software.

  • Abstract explanation about what the software is used for
  • How much was the software sold
  • About how many data does the software usually handle
  • About how many DB tables does the software have

Are there any inappropriate ones in these? Or, anything I should add?

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Is this information really necessary for a cv? I can not see any benefit from knowing how many DB tables a software uses or for how much it has been sold... –  mri Mar 17 '13 at 16:13
Thank you for your opinion. Since I developed the software all by myself (and this is also written in CV), I thought the price is good for giving a brief information about the scale of the software. Though the price is something decided by person, I thought it would be different for reviewer when it's $100, $1000, or $10000. –  user84636 Mar 17 '13 at 17:11

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you simply label the software you've developed/been on teams that developed as "enterprise", the person reviewing your CV either knows what that means or doesn't, and neither situation requires you to spend any time (or space) going into detail on longer than a single bullet point.

  • If the person reviewing your CV doesn't know what it means, they're probably doing the basic screening and are simply looking for the keyword "enterprise" (if even that) and the specifics of the development don't matter one bit to them and wouldn't make a difference in you advancing or not.
  • If the person reviewing your CV does know what it means (for instance, if I'm reviewing your resume), I'm fine just seeing "enterprise" on there and if you get to the next stage of the interview process because of all of the other good stuff on your resume, then I'll ask you about it if I need to. When I do ask, I would probably want to know about the number of concurrent users and data storage and transfer mechanisms -- things that are directly applicable to software you'd be building for me.

So, if you were to go into any greater detail than "developed enterprise applications", a single bullet point that said something like "Led a team that developed an enterprise application that handled n concurrent users and handled xGB of data daily" would be helpful yet concise, and anything beyond that I'd wonder if you'd freely discuss the intricacies of all applications you've developed out there on your CV (there are often NDAs about such things, after all).

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Thank you very much. This is really helping. –  user84636 Mar 17 '13 at 17:13
When working on my resume I've found it helpful to think of the story I'm trying to tell with each chunk of experience. –  ipaul Mar 18 '13 at 2:06

When I'm screening resumes (note resumes not CVs, and yes they are different), I don't necessarily care to read a dissertation on the overall product you wrote for. I care a lot more about what you actually did while you were on the project. I have seen too many candidates relying upon presumed transference to add a degree of undeserved credibility. Just because you worked on a large project doesn't mean you had the skills to create that large project.

For example: "So it's nice that you worked on a project with 10M+ loc, but you were only there for 6 months. Tell me what you did because I know you didn't write all 10M+ lines."

That having been said, having a rough sense of scale about the project provides a degree of perspective about the challenges you faced. Large teams have different development patterns than smaller teams do. Do try to use specifics but don't get overly specific.

This is bad: "Product XYZ had $420M in annual revenues with 250 developers and 18.2M loc along with 86 independent DB tables and 79 subordinate tables and is capable of processing up to 1.48 tera-transactions per second."

This is better: "Product XYZ provides __ services and had approximately 18.2M loc." Or tables instead of code if it's a SQL / DB heavy job you're applying to. Or number of devs if the focus is on teamwork. Or ... based upon the job req. Note the "or" in each of those cases.

The guiding principle is to be mindful of the reviewer's time. Make it easy for them to figure out what you contributed. Your CV is about you not the product you were on.

As an aside, bigger software products need less description. If the interviewer wants to know, they'll google it. And that's a good thing because it meant the rest of your resume got them interested in talking to you and now they're doing background work on you. And yes, the good companies will try to dig up additional information.

To answer your question directly:
From one point of view, you're going about it wrong and focusing on the wrong thing. You're focusing on the product instead of yourself.
However, smaller, more obscure product need a little bit of description. The items you suggested are sufficient. Just remember to keep the description concise.

A resume is a one or two page document that gives highlights about what you've done, with a focus on the last 10 years or so. Judicious use of page real-estate is critical in crafting a proper resume.

A C.V. is a much longer document that reflects a lot more about you than a resume ever could. Page real-estate is still important, but the criticality is not as great. If you bump into an extra page on a C.V. then it's not as big of a deal.

Use between the two is highly culture specific. In the US, resumes are the norm and a proper CV would likely get tossed without review.

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I don't like lines of code as a metric to convey the "scale" of a software product. There could be 10 million lines because the software is very complex and has tons of features or there could be 10 million lines due to sloppy coding. Every time I check in a maintenance change, I check to see if I reduced the number of lines of code. –  Brandon Mar 17 '13 at 17:14
@Brandon - I don't like any of the suggested metrics for scale of a software product for the same reasons you present. None of them present a clear picture of the product. Resumes and CVs are not the place to properly define the complexity of a product though. Lines of code are a crude measure, but give a semi-objective rough idea of "small", "medium", or "large." I would rather see a semi-objective measure (loc, # devs, ...) instead of "large project ..." as definitions of small, medium, and large vary. –  GlenH7 Mar 17 '13 at 17:34
Thank you very much, this also helps me thinking. In my case, since I developed the soft all by myself which makes it easier to write my role of the project, I was way too into elaborating on the detail of the soft. –  user84636 Mar 17 '13 at 17:50
@user84636 - I would agree with your conclusions there. Definitely focus on what you did as opposed to what your software did. Innovative aspects that you wrote are definitely worth noting. And think carefully through the comments that Brandon and I left. Putting in semi-objective metrics may simply invite critique of your work instead of focusing on your accomplishments. –  GlenH7 Mar 17 '13 at 17:53

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