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I have had a messy career so far as a web developer. This is mostly because I have not focused on any particular technology in depth. I realize now what a big mistake that is.

I graduated college in 2012 with a number of programming, networking, and database courses under my belt but not enough to graduate with a major in Information Technology or Computer Science. I had no real focus in college and bounced around from program to program. So I graduated with a degree in Applied Arts and Sciences with concentrations in Information Technology Studies and Business Studies (2 separate concentrations).

During college I did one year-long internship that got me a software development job immediately after graduation.

Because I had not mastered any particular programming language (and still wasn't even 100% sure I wanted to be a developer), I was of very limited use to them. They provided paid ColdFusion training but I did not pass the certification test. I resigned shortly after 1 year of working there with plans to freelance. They were a government contractor and I found government software projects to be extremely boring.

I realize now what a dumb mistake I made by not taking full advantage of that job and taking the opportunities they offered more seriously.

On the positive side, I wrote a number of bug fixes and UI enhancements for their ColdFusion applications. I also (mostly on my own) fixed a very broken legacy VB application. I got along well with both my boss and co-workers. They seemed genuinely disapointed when I left.

I left that job in 2013 and haven't managed to get hired again as a developer anywhere else. I was not ready to freelance when I left, and it's only recently that I have realized my lack of focus to be the major root of my challenges.

I've had to take a number of crap jobs to pay my rent that really ate into the free time I had to spend on coding.

I am now focusing exclusively on PHP and WordPress plugin development.

My question is: should I include this job experience on my resume? Or just focus on the immediate projects I've worked on over the past year?

I learned so much from that job...and yet I can't help but wonder if a 2 year gap and a mediocre performance means I should just leave it in the past where it belongs.

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2012? That's not a whole lot of time in the industry. I'd absolutely include it.

The purpose of a resume is to list anything relevant to the position you are trying to acquire. If it's a programming job then it's absolutely relevant.

Seriously, at this point you need to be able to list a solid 3+ years of experience. So do whatever it takes while your trying to find a new job to learn. Start or join a project on github. Come up with a simple idea and make it: heck, recreate twitter for fun. Just do something that's verifiable. At this point literally any forward momentum will help.

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    To elaborate: almost any job has aspects of the job that are relevant to other work. Make sure you identify those aspects and mention them in your resume and during the interview, when you are explaining your skills, mention how you learned those skills doing X at company Y. This will often make the interviewer more confident in those skills, since you've already demonstrated them. – Cronax Apr 20 '15 at 16:46

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