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I'm a self taught programmer, looking for work in Python. However, all job applications I see ask for experience in frameworks or tools I've not used. For example Django, Numpy or SQL.

At first I wrote a little about what I've done, how I messed up my first couple of games. And how I now have ~500 answers at Code Review, and further focused on a specific answer that had a measurable improvement in performance.

However when reading over this it seems like pointless drivel. That will make someone reading my covering letter go, "that's cute, but what about the tools or frameworks we use?"


I have had some exposure to tools like these:

  • Django: web.py and Flask - however this was a long time ago, and I don't remember much about them.
  • Numpy: matplotlib and numpy - however these are on a handful of Code Review questions, and my answers are nothing to write home about.

Similar questions:


Given my overwhelmingly apparent lack of ability in the tools commonly used today. What should I focus on or put in a covering letter?

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    How about brushing up your knowledge of the frameworks you used a while ago and additionally taking a course or two on pyramid, django etc. - It's always good to prepare yourself and widen your skillset when applying for a new job. On a side note: SQL is a language, not a framework - make sure you don't mix that up when getting interviewed ;) P.S.: Try to put a focus in your application to the FW's you are comfortable/good in.. – iLuvLogix Jul 4 at 15:47
  • @iLuvLogix Let's please keep comments for what they are for (which is to ask for clarification or suggesting improvements). Discussing if something is a tool, language, framework, library etc. is IMHO tangential to the point and to the topic of this site. – DarkCygnus Jul 4 at 16:49
  • @DarkCygnus In this case, where the OP is unsure about his background and how he appears to prospective employers, I think it's worth bringing up that he needs to not be careless about how he identifies the tech that he is familiar with. Getting it wrong, e.g. saying "I'm familiar with tools like Visual Studio and SQL" gives the impression that he doesn't really know what SQL is. – DaveG Jul 4 at 23:37
  • @DaveG I'm not saying that it's not relevant (in fact, is a valid observation, and quite important to remember for when the interview happens)... but, again, it should be in an answer, and not in a comment. – DarkCygnus Jul 5 at 0:02
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    @Mawg Yeah, I added it because someone recommended that, and was like "no, that just seems bad" - one of the reasons I asked here. I've been using PyCharm for years - I don't really see how what IDE you use defines how competent you are in programming tho. – user44202 Jul 5 at 13:03
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Given my overwhelmingly apparent lack of ability in the tools commonly used today. What should I focus on or put in a covering letter?

To turn things around, I would suggest you bring yourself up to speed with such tools like Django, Numpy and SQL.

You say you are self-taught programmer, so teaching yourself these topics should not be an issue for you. Try reading the docs on such Frameworks, read some blog posts or tutorials, browse questions on the subject on StackOverflow, do some project on Github, etc..

This will give you hands-on experience with these tools so you are able to apply to those jobs and be able to demonstrate your knowledge if prompted. This will also give you some material to include in a cover letter.

...worst case, or if you are reluctant to teach yourself these subjects again and won't/can't do it, the alternative would be to apply to jobs that don't have those requirements, and that you are able to fulfill.

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You should write your resume to highlight your accomplishments. Then use your cover letter to reinforce your resume, and describe your background a little more.

So write your cover letter to highlight your accomplishments and what sets you apart.

  • I'm unsure why this has been down voted, I thought this was good advice. But I guess it is not? – user44202 Jul 7 at 14:19
  • @Peilonrayz Who knows? People like to vote on what makes them feel good. My guess is a lot of people responding to this are developers and want to comment on the specific development languages rather than provide advice that's useful for as many people as possible. Writing a resume focusing on accomplishments is pretty standard advice and searching for this topic in a browser will give provide many results that support this approach and how to do it. – user70848 Jul 9 at 19:19

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