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I've used a programming language called "Brainf*ck". What's a good way to mention it in my CVs?

I know this is a weird question, but maybe the interviewer thinks "Hmm, this kid writes esoteric language." Or as an alternative, I would say BF or BrainF instead of Brainf**k. What do you think about it?

Note:

Brainf*ck is an esoteric programming language notable for its extreme minimalism.

I found a Brainf*ck library named BrainF.Net. So I decided to write it as BrainF.

Edit: I don't even know why I made this such a big deal.

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    It took me quite a while to realize this was the name of a programming language used for code golfing. I think if you mention it you should maybe mention it in the hobbies section like "Code golf (Brainfuck)". Additionally I must say I've encountered very few developers (at least here in Belgium) who even knew code golfing was a thing.
    – Laurent S.
    Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 16:33
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    Just put in 'CodeGolf'. If I see a comment like the language name on a CV, I'm going to think that the applicant is aged 14 (at least mentally), and I'll be prejudiced against the rest of the CV.
    – PeteCon
    Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 16:51
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    what are you trying to achieve by mentioning it? Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 17:40
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    still, what are you trying to achieve by mentioning it? It is OK if you want to show-off; if you think BF is a good measure of X; if you want to dilute Java/Python/CSS-usual set of skills; if you want to attract specific subgroup of employers etc. But please specify what you are trying to achieve/communicate. Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 17:57
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    everything you write in CV should be done in order to achieve something. Otherwise you are wasting reader's time. Why are you not mentioning that you can bench 220lbs? Why you are (not) mentioning that you have driver's license? Specifying why BF is important to you will help those who answer your question. Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 18:05

7 Answers 7

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NB: This answer tries to answer the more general question, rather than specifically "BrainF*ck"

I'm not sure if the question is about using a profanity or just if adding this language is beneficial. The latter will depend on the type of job you are applying to but as a general rule of thumb (assuming you're a programmer of some sort):

If it's a language that is a bit different and you are proficient in (i.e. makes you stand out) add it.

To address the other question:

Is it ok to use a profanity in a CV if it's the name of a Language / Company / Website (etc.)?

I don't see any issue in this, although of course it will vary from country to country, company to company and person to person. Provided it is clear what it is, it adds to your experience, (and that you're not using just to say "f*ck" on your CV) then it's ok.

Personally, I'd use it as in the title of this post (UK based, tend to apply to more casual small companies). Follow your nose with this one though - judge based on the type of company.

BF is probably ambiguois. For companies you want to avoid swearing go with BrainF.


Final thought

As many of the comments mentioned, listing Code Golf as a hobby would generally look pretty good on a resume and this is a fairly well established term. Unless you're a complete whizz, specifically at BrainF, just list that.

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    @ozanthedeveloper, No, it wasn't. Bee is not familiar with the language. To those of us that are. Including brainfuck would send the wrong message. Not because it's a profanity, but because it's a purposefully obtuse and unreadable language designed to show off more than anything else. But as a software developer, in practice, I want to hire the opposite kind of developer for my team. I want the kind of developer that values communication and readability over his own ego. That's why I think you should only include code golf in your hobby section, not brainfuck. Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 21:01
  • @ozanthedeveloper I did specify that this question was attempting to answer the more general topics of your question, as Stephan pointed out - I am not familiar with this language
    – Gamora
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 12:09
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    @StephanBranczyk It's a pity this question was closed, because this was the correct Answer.
    – nick012000
    Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 4:54
  • @nick012000, Since the question got reopened, I reposted my comment as an answer. Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 21:49
  • I guess except for the US and other more conservative countries there is no issue. Even in the US, when you dont go to super conservative companies, you should just be fine. Europe really is more relaxed regarding swearing. In the US I got in trouble as a 19 year old student for saying "fuck" after hitting my knee on the table. Imagine being an adult that cant swear a single word in pain.
    – bibleblade
    Commented Dec 27, 2021 at 13:53
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To those of us that are actually familiar with brainfuck. Including it in your resume would send the wrong message.

Not because it's a profanity, but because it's a purposefully obtuse and unreadable language designed to show off more than anything else.

And for software development, I would want to hire the opposite kind of developer for my team. I would want the kind of developer that values communication and readability over his own ego or clerverness.

So for that reason, I would only advertise code golf in your hobby section, not brainfuck. Now, should they ask, what languages did you use when code golfing? Then, I would tell them all the languages I used, including brainfuck. I think that would be fine.

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    Agreed, unless OP maintains a prominent BF Interpreter in some real programming language, it's like having "I make blanket forts" when applying for a Civil Engineering role. At best it would be seen as eccentric, at worst weird that you would put it on your CV
    – JeffUK
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 17:35
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Should I write Brainf*ck in my CVs?

If you have absolutely nothing else going on for you, then sure, because you would be rejected anyway. This way at least your CV will be passed along as a joke across the office first.

If you have something to offer though, write about that instead. When hiring developers you are seeking dozens of CVS every day, and the random strings of characters (as I won't bother to decipher what that means before deciding whether to call you or not) will at best be ignored, at worst seen as not bothering to even proof-read the PDF you've sent me.

The magical world where including BF in your CV is the difference between being hired or not is naive at best. Sorry. Put that effort into getting a buffy GH portfolio instead.

I wouldn't even put it under the skill list, as it has zero practical use and, again, a beefy practical GH portfolio will get you much further. Or extra line describing your previous actual experience.

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I would suggest not including it, unless it's relevant for a specific type of job. There are probably more relevant things you can include and draw attention to.

Also, a lot of people haven't heard of it, including programmers. You don't want to be screened out potentially by a non-technical person or recruiter just for the sake of listing this.

Profanity on a CV looks unprofessional and (most) employers don't want to read that, even if it's the name of a product or technology.

BrainF sounds okay, but I don't think it's worth listing on a CV.

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I don't see how this can add value to your resume. It's like saying you can solve a rubix cube within seconds.

I'm saying this because when I was younger I could solve the rubix cube within seconds and I add this in my firsts resumes, and a lot of interviewer said "I don't care!". Specially nowadays, all this side-skills doesn't matter anymore... it would be much more valuable for your resume to say you gave lectures for a large audience (meaning that you are able to speak in public and comunicate) or something like that.

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If I will read such a CV and nothing else will attract the attention, but it would more or less conform to a job description, I would invite the person even out of the interest to talk. However, if the person possesses multiple years of experience and still writes that, the question would rather be if he/she is (over)enthusiastic or (extremely) bored.

//you can't imagine things I read last year hiring Java developer... oh dear...

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    @ozanthedeveloper In that environment I suggest a very short, tightly focused CV such that the things about you that make you particularly suitable for the job can be found in 4 seconds. Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 16:20
  • If you really care for your CV to be read, you should (anyway) write it for each and every position you apply to. This way you can always emphasize something you read in the job description - and that actually works!
    – Alex N.
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 9:55
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It would be more than sufficient to list CodeGolf as a hobby and esoteric languages as a skill. I would probably provide a brief description on what these concepts are, because even among programmers its a pretty unknown practice. I think esoteric programming languages with some description what that actually means would be enough.

I think what it comes down to is this -- Nobody is hiring Brainfuck developers. So specifically calling it out as a skill wouldn't do you any favors. But what provides value to you is not the specific language you use, but rather the proficiencies that using such a language has developed in you. That should be the key takeaway, not the specifics.

Hell, a good option might just be putting a similar language down that has a less offensive name. Its a safe bet that no interviewer is going to say "oh you know , go ahead and show me how you would implement X with it for me", but it would get the same message across.

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