So I recently had a problem with an employer that I never expected to have... They accused me of lying about my experience.
The first issue was the "How long have you been programming?" question. I answered honestly; I've been programming since I got my first computer at 10, starting with MySpace layouts (yeah, yeah) then moving my way up. I totally understand that it would seem like I'm lying, but I'm not. I have code that I wrote that I could furnish as proof, although I'd really rather not (it reads like a how-to on 90's text talk...) Pretty much everyone who has ever met me knows my passion for programming, but an interviewer isn't trying to get to know me, only assess me. Should I lie about this/just not mention it? Or should I show them my awful kiddie code? It's a HUGE part of who I am, so I feel like I shouldn't have to hide it??
Then came the real kicker: one of my jobs required a security clearance, so I couldn't really discuss my project work in-depth, and it happened to be my most recent--and only--post-undergrad job. I was still able to answer all of the typical interview questions, I just couldn't give specifics or show code snippets (ha!) from the projects I worked on at that company. The interviewer thought I was making it all up, and couldn't believe that I would want a 'normal' job after something like that. How do I handle a job that I can't really discuss? (I'm trying really, really hard not to use the "If I told you, I'd have to kill you" line, I promise.)
I ended up not working for them (who wants a company that distrustful?) but it got me wondering--should I lie about my experience? I'm proud of what I've done, but I don't want to seem like a liar or an overachiever. Is there a better way of handling this situation than lying about my experiences?
(Additional info: I'm a 2014 graduate, I had recent code samples prepared, and I was applying for an entry level developer position, if that helps.)