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I made several applications years ago programming in Visual Basic. Should I list that on my CV in part programming languages?

The language is old and not developed anymore, however a few places still use the legacy technology. On the other hand, I have built working software on that language so employers see that I am capable to learn new languages. I know also some other languages, namely Java, Python, C#, C++, C and some R.

  • When everyone was shtting themselves for y2k and the “final “ meltdown” they were scrabbling around for experienced cobol programmers - my ex-father-in-law was offered an eye watering salary...but he did not want the crp that always comes... – Solar Mike Nov 22 '19 at 18:04
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Before we answer your question, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • What kind of job are you applying for?
  • What specific skills or knowledge are required for that job?
  • Does X help an employer evaluate my skills against their requirements?

Sometimes, even if X isn't directly listed in the job requirements, telling an employer that you posses skill X can be useful - for instance, if it helps paint a picture that you can learn new things, or that you've been in the industry long enough that you've dealt with changing trends. Or some other reason.

The important factor to realize is that resumes are sales tools. You are literally selling yourself to a potential employer. So, think of decisions about what to include through that lens - you want to include details that will make you look valuable, but just as importantly, you want to leave out meaningless fluff or things that could detract from your value. You should always be truthful in a resume, but you should also always be focused in a resume.

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    e.g: I sold lemonade in 3rd grade and made a profit, but don't put that in my resume. – Mike Nov 22 '19 at 16:37
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    It's worth noting that classic VB skills can be useful for COM interop situations and it's still alive in Excel. It might also be interesting for some employers for moving older code to something new. Personally I have an obsolete skills section where I list stuff like VB6, Forth and the various assemblers I've used in the past. – PeterI Nov 23 '19 at 18:46
  • @PeterI yes that's a very good point - in software development, knowing older frameworks can often be valuable. Most mature environments have at least some kind of mix of new and old. – dwizum Nov 25 '19 at 13:45
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This answer isn't just for "old languages" but basically for any skill.

If it is a skill you have, if that's relevant to the job you want, list it in your resume.

If it's an irrelevant skill, a skill you don't want to use anymore (do you want to develop in Visual Basic?), remove it.

So, if you're aiming for a Java Software development job and you dont want to do VB again, you can remove it as it has no relevance here. If you're aiming for an old language development job, it's relevant so list it.

Important point is: adapt your resume to the job you want

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It can be applicable even if the job you're applying to does not need it, depending on how you spin it on the interview. You can present yourself as someone willing to adapt to whatever the company wants and needs at any given time.

My favorite saying is "If the company wants me to do C++, I will do C++... and if tomorrow they want me to do D--, I will learn D--". This attitude can help in getting a job, even if the specific language is not needed.

Having said that, unless you critically need a job, I would recommend looking only for jobs with modern technologies, not extremely old ones. As time passes, if two thirds of your resume is filled with obsolete skills, it will get harder and harder to get a job, both based on resume and in interviews.

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