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I have started learning programming a few months ago and while I am quite proficient in python, I am still a beginniner in many other languages like MATLAB and R. My skill level on those languages are close to nil but I an trying to learn as fast as possible. Is it ok to state that I am currently learning those languages? I am hesitant to just put 'Beginner' as that would not show that I am currently trying to get better at the skill.

I realize that the CV should only state achievements and skills that I have already accomplished; not ones that I intend to. So would putting skills that I do not have yet simply be in bad taste?

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    You used nil properly, I say you'll be fine in the programming world :-)) – Pierre Arlaud Jun 25 '15 at 7:45
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    If your CV ends up in any London recruiter databases, you will likely get e-mails about Senior MATLAB Developer positions based in Dublin. Keyword searches baby! – Paul D. Waite Jun 25 '15 at 10:20
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Is it ok to state that I am currently learning those languages? I am hesitant to just put 'Beginner' as that would not show that I am currently trying to get better at the skill.

I realize that the CV should only state achievements and skills that I have already accomplished; not ones that I intend to. So would putting skills that I do not have yet simply be in bad taste?

I wouldn't use the words "bad taste" here. And anything is okay, but I don't think it's a very good idea.

Adding any skills that you don't really have might call into question the other skills you have listed. We all dabble in lots of areas. Some of those which are currently close to nil eventually turn into skills, others don't.

Keep the focus of your CV/resume on skills that you already own and which could be used in your next job. Skills which are close to nil can't yet contribute much if anything at all.

Save the "I'm learning" discussion for a cover letter or for an interview - but only when it's directly relevant to the job at hand. You want discussions with potential employers to focus primarily on what you can bring to the table now, rather than on what you currently cannot.

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    In programming, a willingness to learn new things and branch out in other technologies is a skill/ability. A beginner shouldn't have to worry about cluttering up their CV, but for most people, it should be addressed in a cover letter. – user8365 Jun 24 '15 at 16:29
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    I have a "learning" section on my CV, and the few interviews I've had since adding it, they've all mentioned something like "Oh, you learning X? Is that something you're looking to do more of in the future?" In some cases that's where that topic ended, but a few have then followed up with "We are looking into doing something using X, so a basic understanding in this would be really useful". I don't know if that's them just being polite, but it seemed like it helped mentioning it. – TMH Jun 25 '15 at 8:52
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    @TomHart I too have found a "current projects" section useful, where I mostly describe things I'm learning at the moment. In fact I've found that when interviewing for "high end" tech jobs (Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc), "tell me what you're currently learning" is often one of the interview questions anyway. If it's already on the resume (and they've actually read it!) then we can have an even deeper discussion. It's a great ice-breaker if you have a similarly-inclined interviewer. – phoebus Jun 25 '15 at 15:16
  • @tomhart that's fine but it should only be on your CV while you don't have enough actual accomplishments to fill your CV, at which point I would move it to the cover letter. Always remember that employers are trying to solve the problem they currently have right now; don't throw away a chance to show how you can solve a problem they have now to discuss how you might solve a different problem that they might or might not have, maybe, in the future. – Rob Moir Jun 26 '15 at 8:10
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Keep in mind that many interviewers feel that if it's on the resume/CV, then it's fair game in the interview. So don't include anything you're not ready to answer questions about.

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    This is because we have seen all too many people who can't answer even basic questions about things they claimed to know. – HLGEM Jun 24 '15 at 17:53
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    @HLGEM: it can sometimes be hard to interpret the meaning, it seems. I list HTML as one of my skills in my CV, but I am frequently asked all manner of questions about HTTP and REST, which I don't even mention in my CV, nor do I claim to know about them in the cover letter. – Juha Untinen Jun 25 '15 at 8:54
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When I used to be involved in hiring at my company, I often saw people clarify their level of expertise in various programming languages; for example:

Skills

  • Fluent: Java, C, Python, Lua, ...
  • Familiar: R, C#, ...

or

Languages: Java (fluent), Python (fluent), R, C#

or

Languages: Java (expert), Python (intermediate), Perl (intermediate), C# (beginner)

Along the lines of the examples above, you can list your new language as "in-training" or similar, or list it under your hobbies or interests. Don't try to pass it off as a de-facto skill if you aren't very proficient yet. It's true that many programming concepts are language-agnostic but there is a learning curve associated with using a new language.

The employer wants to hire you for what you already know, and if you lead the employer to believe you could jump into the middle of working on a project using that language, you may find yourself in over your head. At the very least, qualify your level of experience so the employer knows that you've dabbled but may not be very productive in that language.

Regardless, you should also list some of your past projects and what languages, frameworks, etc., you applied while working on those projects. If you're working on a substantial enough side project as you learn a new language, it would be beneficial to list that project, as well.

  • So, what's your answer to the question? Yes or no? – svick Jun 24 '15 at 18:16
  • Welcome to the Workplace -- thanks for your contribution. I think I see where you're going with your answer, but can you elaborate on this a bit? – mcknz Jun 24 '15 at 18:50
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    The problem with this is the same with the problem of saying "I know 80% of HTML" -- what does that even mean? It's hard to quantify skills like this, especially with just words. If you had to do anything, saying 3+ years, 2+ years, etc would be a better choice. Ultimately, languages are just concepts and syntaxes so no matter how good or bad you are at something, you can probably pick up something else with a little bit of practice. – Seiyria Jun 24 '15 at 19:20
  • @Seiyria Quantifying experience in terms of years can be just as unclear. Anyone fresh out of college might only have a few hundred hours of practical experience but claim "2 years" of experience. If someone is "fluent" or "proficient" I expect them to have a good handle on the APIs with at least several thousand hours of experience and an ability to quickly find out how to do something if they're not already familiar with it. – rob Jun 24 '15 at 19:55
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    @Seiyria Just speaking for myself I find it incredibly easy to judge whether I am an expert, intermediate or beginner in the various languages I have worked with. Being an expert is about knowing the ins and outs of a language, about knowing virtually every single native function and feature. Being intermediate (or whatever you call the middle level) is about being able to work in it fluently and being a beginner means that you know the syntax and can read it, but writing will go at a slower pace. I believe this is far more telling than the number of years one has worked with a technology tbh. – David Mulder Jun 24 '15 at 20:05
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It depends on how well you could apply those skills immediately, and/or defend them in an interview. If you're just starting to learn a new skill, it's probably not something you should cite on your resume. (Remember that anything you list on your resume is fair game in the interview process. If you can't back up your claim when quizzed on it, that may call the rest of your resume into question!) If you've been working with it on a side project but just haven't had the opportunity to use it professionally, then it's probably safe to claim it with that caveat.

I have a similar section on my resume - at the bottom under "Interests" I refer to my self-directed learning (MOOCs and such) and enumerate skills that I've picked up there. It's a pretty clear distinction between my professional experience and something that I've only used outside of work but would be comfortable applying in my next job. I don't list everything I've ever taken a class on, just a few things that I feel I have good enough practice with to give me a leg up on someone who hasn't worked with them before.

0

You could divide you skill-levels in the CV, which is common in some countries.

The lowest skill level contains the technologies you are learning. You should have understand the basic concept of the technologie and be able to interprete simple code-snippets. If you are able to write simple programs, like those you write in first semester of IT education, you are at this level. For me, this would look like:

Skills:

Competent:

Lua, C++

Profound:

Qt(5) for C++, JSON, JavaScript, HTML5, SQL

Basic:

Java, AJAX, ... and so on

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