I am a software developer. I am a little worried about my future as my company doesn't allow its employees to reveal anything about their projects, even after they have left the company. Currently I have about 1 year of experience. When we apply for a job, the first thing the interviewer asks about is our industry projects. They have detailed discussions about our projects before going forward with the technical interview. But what can I write in my resume if I can't even reveal the name of my project?

Of course, I can write that I worked in x technology using the a, b, c tools but it wouldn't look good unless I have something to tell them about it.

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    BTW (I know this will not help you right now) That is a warning before signing a contract with the next company: ask them before taking on the job how they will support you solving this dilemma when it's time to move on (They might fire you). Also "doesn't allow its employees to reveal anything about their projects" is quite a demand and may be legally disputable. But legal discussions is not what this website is for.
    – user8036
    May 13, 2013 at 7:38
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    You might want to look at this closely related question/answer at workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/8789/…
    – Steve
    May 13, 2013 at 15:03
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    You can be very broad. Worked on a circuit board call it Project X. Describe your duties. If you used those tools be sure to mention that. If they asked for details just explain you are under a NDA. If people for the CIA can get jobs outside of the CIA you can describe your duties.
    – Donald
    May 15, 2013 at 17:09
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    Unless the projects you work on are widely known by their name, what difference does it make? You can't reveal secrets so you call it project "X", but the real name is project "Y", so what?
    – user8365
    Nov 29, 2013 at 13:48
  • Suggestion: Don't focus on projects. Write roles, challenges you solved in those roles, and impact of those solutions.
    – keshlam
    Oct 11, 2023 at 0:13

5 Answers 5


The name of the project does not matter. The nitty gritty details of how the project fit in to the company's business model do not matter. The technical aspects of what you did are what the company is looking for.

For instance, let's say I was working on Google's search algorithm and not allowed to disclose it.

I am currently working on an algorithm named PageRank which creates search results based on a link weighting system. Each page on the internet is given a ranking based on how many other pages link to it. So if a page has many other pages linking to it, it is seen as more reliable. And if a more reliable page links to another page, that page is seen more reliable by association. This way we are able to create a better web search that allows ranking to be based on something akin to reputation rather than keywords.

The above description is a great explanation of what the company is developing, but doesn't say anything about what I'm actually doing.

I am currently working on a complex algorithm in PASCAL that analyzes over a trillion data points that maps the relationships between those points to assign a value to each.

This description focuses on what I'm doing without giving away any trade secrets whatsoever.

Having a non-disclosure clause in your contract is something you should respect, but it doesn't mean that you can't discuss in general terms what you are working on or what problems you are tackling.

Use common sense and just ask yourself, "If I shared this information, would it harm the company I'm working for?" The second description shouldn't, and should be enough for your prospective employer. If during the interview they ask for more specific details which you are uncomfortable sharing, just explain something like:

I can tell you that the data points I am working with are a network of linked items (think friends on Facebook), but due to my non-disclosure agreement I can't tell you the specifics of what we are actually analyzing.

At the end of the day, if you can't explain what you are doing without explaining what the overall project is, you probably aren't going to have a very good interview.

  • Also, if come company simply wants to know your projects' name and nothing else, then it probably is not too good. Because any idiot claiming to have worked at a great project will be hired by them.
    – KK.
    May 13, 2013 at 12:21
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    I've interviewed candidates coming from military employers, including the actual Israeli army. They had no problem discussing their projects with me, with specific exceptions about classified parts.
    – Jonathan
    May 13, 2013 at 19:12
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    good ol' Pascal :D Mar 19, 2015 at 15:00

You can include high-level description of the projects, such as 'eCommerce software', 'software for X type of company" (banking, insurance, etc.), and at the interview discuss technical challenges in developing such software, without mentioning any names or concrete project details. Be sure not to break the confidentiality, including on any technology implementations if they are under NDA (keep in mind, that most of the technology is not a break-trough innovation, so apply common sense to what should go under the terms of NDA). The eventual employer not only will understand that you can't reveal any details, but this would form a good impression, because you are not breaking your promises even when you are leaving your employer.


I work on a project that I describe as 'real estate' related when the 'real estate' component is somewhat trivial. In short, don't try to describe what you're doing, but find analogies or similar kinds of work in other industries and describe how yours are 'somewhat like' those. Within that framework, you can describe issues you confronted and what you did about them. At one point I worked on a project 'Converting an IMS mainframe application to VB.NET and SQL Server'. That didn't really tell anyone who the client was or what the project was, but it would speak volumes about what someone could expect me to do.


Most companies request an updated resume from their employees. Some do it as part of their annual review process, others have their own schedule.

The purpose of the resume is so that it can be used to bid on projects, and to be used as part of a database when looking for internal ways to fill positions.

Generally when there is a significant amount of work that is done for projects or customers that must remain confidential, they also provide a way to help the employee write that section of the resume. They will also vet all the annual updates to those resumes to make sure they still don't break the rules.

The goal for the company is to help the employee create a resume that is true, yet shows the extent of skills and experience. They need to do this to win future work.

  • All seven of the companies I have worked for have required it as part of the annual process, plus a few midyear updates for specific contracts. Nov 29, 2013 at 13:42

It depends.

In DFW, years ago, it was understood by everyone in the DFW Metroplex that "I work at E-Systems" or "I worked at E-Systems" was quite literally all that a current or former E-Systems employee could say. Everything they did was classified, even project names or designations, because what they did was SENSITIVE! New Dallas residents, who joined certain social groups, learned about this anomaly very quickly.

They MIGHT have been able to tell you they were a PASCAL programmer, or an Oracle DBA, but that was it. At that point, you had to rely on the well-known fact that they were VERY careful who they hired and retained, and less-than-outstanding personnel didn't last long there. (Or just about anywhere else in the DFW defense environment, for that matter.)

Talk with your management and your HR people. They can and will tell you what you can and can't say.

Incidentally, HR in the DFW defense environment was DIFFERENT. They cared about people, because they knew that people DID talk, and screwing people over would have very bad effects on their ability to hire and retain people. (Several firms had learned this the hard way, and the others learned from their experiences.)

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