50

3-5 years ago I wrote a few books on Python. I haven't updated them since, and I haven't worked much on Python either.

Is it still worth mentioning that I wrote those books? Keeping in mind:

  1. The books may be out of date (technically),

  2. I haven't used Python a lot in the current job, so I can't claim to be an "expert" in it.

Edit: Can people please stop insulting me, calling me a hack writer, or accuse me of "putting garbage on the market to take advantage of suckers".

So much for "StackOverflow is now a 'kinder' place".

Please stick to answering the question without commenting on my authorial or technical skills.

139

Yes, if they are achievements you are eager to share and demonstrate your capabilities.

The books are interesting not just because they demonstrate your knowledge of Python, but more so:

  • Your ability to clearly articulate ideas in a way others can understand
  • Your willingness to document your knowledge for others to use
  • Your ability to "get the job done" -- you've gotten a book published, that is a scarce achievement
  • 4
    My publications (a book and some articles) have been very helpful to me on my resume. They were in the same field where I work. – O. Jones Jun 8 at 11:36
  • 1
    There is nothing to add to improve it, at least according to English language. The first sentence already manage to take into account bad books and everything else, and it's perfectly applicable for everyone who has the same question. – motoDrizzt Jun 8 at 19:19
32

Yes, absolutely include them!

Many resumes have a section for Publications, which usually includes academic papers, and definitely any published books. It doesn't matter if they are out of date - the fact that you wrote them is a huge indication of your expertise on the subject. Even if you haven't worked in Python for a couple years, the fact that you knew enough to write a few books means that it would not take long for you to come back up to speed.

16

Unless you now hate Python, include it!

Writing a book shows off skills in organizing information, gathering knowledge and answering questions in a structured manner. Those skills are relevant almost regardless of the subject being Python or something totally different.

You should judge how relevant this book is for the position you apply for. If highly relevant, put it in an introductory section about yourself. Else, list it under Publications or similar.

"The books may be out of date (technically)"

Not an issue at all, since all technical books have this "problem".

  • 6
    "Unless you now hate Python, include it!" Exactly. I've used a vast number of programming languages in my career, and there's only one (Ruby on Rails) that I absolutely hate (more related to the company I worked for than the language, but anyway...). I removed all traces of it from my resume, because I didn't want anyone asking me to work with it. – PeteCon Jun 7 at 13:13
  • 4
    If you hate Python right now, state somewhere on your resume that you're not interested in working on Python anymore - but do include the books anyway. You've been able to learn something and get invested up to the point of taking the time to explain it to others. That's way more important than the technology it's talking about. – mgarciaisaia Jun 8 at 15:53
  • 1
    VG. It also shows skills in contract negotiation (if it was published) and in self-starting and self-management. Sadly in my experience you are very likely to get stupid interview responses like 'we don't want Python programmers', with no comprehension of what it actually takes to write a book on anything. You have to be prepared to point all this out, very patiently. – user207421 Jun 10 at 2:10
  • I will still include it, even if I hate it. Writing a book is a huge achievement (unless he has several others). Having wrote a book on a programming language will give him advantage in any job position regardless of programming language. – VarunAgw Jun 13 at 20:32
11

Searching for a job is selling oneself...by telling a story.

The question to ask yourself is "what story am I going to tell the recruiter?". And for your specific question, the answer is another question : "how do those Python books fit the story I'm telling?"

If you want to prove you're able to master a domain, then it might be worth to say "When I was working on Python, I was good enough to writr books on the topic". But it has to fit your overall story.

6

Being a published author (I am one myself) is something of a feather in your cap. Whether or not the material is as relevant today as it was when you wrote the books, I think it's something worth mentioning in your resume. The fact that you don't work with Python today doesn't invalidate your books or the material in them.

So yes, put that on your resume. It may not directly help you, but it certainly isn't going to hurt. It's an achievement worth mentioning.

1

We all forget things, and fall behind when we're not consistently working/honing a skill. It's a fact of life.

I think it's a great to mention if you're proud of the work. Be honest, be humble and set expectations by letting the interviewer know the books are out of date and you wouldn't currently consider yourself an expert due to not keeping current.

You have the opportunity to share and highlight your journey and skillset with your potential co-worker.

Good luck!

1

I fully agree with all the other answers - because of what a great accomplishment writing a book is, you should definitely put it in your CV. The only thing I'd add is, are you looking for a Python job, or would you be willing to do a Python job? Judging from your question, it feels as though you don't, which is why I bring this up.

If I'm correct, and you don't want to work with Python again, I'd try to find a low key way to make that clear from the get-go. Perhaps in your cover letter, or "About Me" section of your resume include a list of technologies that you'd really like to work with, and another list of technologies that you're not specifically looking to work with, but you're willing to under the right conditions. That way you're not explicitly saying that you're unwilling to work in Python - doing that would probably be more of a negative than a positive.

The important part with doing this is it shouldn't be explicit, which is why you want to casually slip it in in your cover letter or About Me section. If you don't have either of those in your resume, and you're working through a recruiter, you should be able to tell the recruiter to not send you any Python opportunities, which should make this part even easier. And you don't want to have one paragraph of your resume saying that you wrote books about Python, and another paragraph saying you're completely unwilling to work with said technology ever again.

protected by Mister Positive Jun 10 at 12:15

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.