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My entry-level position suddenly sprung a proprietary scripting language into everyone's lap. Think of it as PASCAL/PERL.

Anyway, since this is an entry-level job, I'll definitely be moving on some time in the future. Would it be wise to list that I have experience using proprietary languages on my resume? I figure it would imply that I am quick to learn new style and syntax on the fly, but that seems like an unnecessary perk to a career that involves years of study.

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This is a highly underated question.. –  hydroparadise Jun 14 '12 at 19:56

5 Answers 5

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I would definitely mention the experience with the language in the description of the job, stating that you did something with a proprietary scripting language. Having experience with such a language would give you a leg up on learning other languages that are similar. It also tells perspective employers that you have the ability to learn new languages on the fly, an important skill. Plus, it's something you can talk about in a technical interview.

However, how you present it will make a difference. Like JB King said, don't present it as you writing an interpreter or designing the language (unless you did those things). Instead, mention that at your job, you were presented with a proprietary scripting language and perhaps mention a couple of things that you used it for. At an interview, if the company you are talking to uses a similar language, you can be sure to bring up how you might not have experience with that particular language, but you used a similar language and then (if you are able to), discuss the language you used.

If you have a "skills" section of your resume, I wouldn't put it there. Instead, tailor your skills section to highlight what skills you have that the job you are applying for. Or you can drop the skills section all together and use your job descriptions to highlight the various skills that you have in some kind of context.

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-1, I highly disagree. These kinds of special skill sets can command a huge value on the job market. –  maple_shaft Jun 7 '11 at 19:55
@maple_shaft Highly disagree that you should put it on your resume? I'm confused...perhaps I need to elaborate on part of my answer. –  Thomas Owens Jun 7 '11 at 19:56
I highly disagree that you SHOULD NOT list it as a technical skill. –  maple_shaft Jun 7 '11 at 19:58
@maple_shaft: A skill in a language few companies use is potentially very valuable. A skill in a language that one company uses (because they developed it and never shared and nobody else wanted it) isn't. –  David Thornley Jun 7 '11 at 20:02
@maple_shaft: I updated my answer. Yes, you need to include this on your resume. But unless your perspective employer uses this language, it would be best to highlight the skills that you have that your perspective employer needs. –  Thomas Owens Jun 7 '11 at 20:04

I would absolutely keep it on my resume because it does demonstrate an ability to learn and adapt.

Further these kinds of one off skills while they may seem a waste of time can be HIGHLY VALUABLE to the right people if you don't mind moving for a good job.

A friend of mine has an expertise in a proprietary language that less than 100 people can claim to be certified in and he now makes over 6 figures a year in a different city, doing the easiest job in the world.

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Might as well put it on your resume. As long as your resume isn't too long, put everything on it. As your experience increases, you can drop off the boring stuff.

The one exception is if the knowledge has scarred you, and you never want to work with that technology again. Then you should definitely leave it off. I learned a bitter lesson from COBOL: if you want to move on, sometimes you have to cut some things you're good at, otherwise people will keep approaching you with the same jobs.

"Hey, come work for us! We're doing sexy new technology, amazing stuff, we pay for up-to-date training, we'll assign you a girlfriend if you don't have one! Also there may be a little COBOL." Then you take the job, and they give you the office next to the goddamn mainframe and run away.

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Well, I'll have to cut out my Subway experience eventually. –  ryebr3ad Jun 7 '11 at 21:42
Upvoted for laugh-out-loudness :D –  thesunneversets Jun 7 '11 at 21:45
@ryebr3ad: I never bothered to put that crap on mine. "I see here you worked roofing for 2 years in college. If I hire you, can you help fix the roof here? It leaks sometimes..." Just not relevant. Though I might have thought differently, but I had a lot of helpdesk and contract coder experience by that point (in the late '90s you could get a temp coding job if you could spell). –  Satanicpuppy Jun 7 '11 at 21:48
Honestly, I used my customer service experience from Subway to help land me my current job, since I also maintain the help desk as well as code the main application. If I can deal with 100 customers an hour, I can deal with 10 people a day asking me to fix data and generate reports :) –  ryebr3ad Jun 7 '11 at 21:57

Yes but be careful about how you state that you have some experience there. One may infer that you wrote a compiler or interpreter for that proprietary language based on what you've stated here. If you can try to quantify how fast you learned so that it isn't subjective in trying to figure out whether or not some time frame is "good."

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Of course you should list it. I wouldnt even call it 'proprietary', just add it to your list of languages. And presumably you are doing something with said language, so you should list what you are actually accomplishing with it as well, which ultimately may be more important than the language being used. For example, if you are parsing a certain type of data file used in a specific industry, that would be valuable regardless of the language it was done in.

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