I'm a software developer. When I apply for a job, one or both of the following things happens:

  1. I am asked for some sample code or projects that I have worked on.

  2. I am given a short coding exercise to complete to demonstrate my knowledge.

The problem is the only code I have for (1) is from previous applications that asked for (2).

Is there anything wrong with using old coding exercises for a previous application to show a different prospective employer?


Not really relevant but... I have other code samples from little projects I've done to teach myself new things. However, previous coding exercises are cleaner and more portable since I already wrote them to be shared and to show off my knowledge/skill as a developer. They just seem like a better choice.

  • ". . .to demonstrate my knowledge."
    – peterG
    Aug 17 '16 at 22:27
  • 1
    How are you a software developer and don't have a single piece of line to show for it. A single project you worked on during your education/training/past job ? Unless all your work and education is classified you should have something to show... Aug 18 '16 at 7:24
  • Why can't you take one Saturday morning and make several random code samples and upload it to your website or github? It doesn't have to be super complex or great, and can be as simple as maybe determining if something is a palindrome. It sounds to me like a rather lazy effort on your part.
    – Dan
    Aug 18 '16 at 15:00
  • I wasn't really asking how to get code samples, or for a critique on my coding effort out of the office. I have code samples from when I teach my self new stuff, but usually its messy and not really indicative of my skill/knowledge. I tend to put a lot of effort in coding exercises, so I'm curious if it is acceptable to reuse these.
    – Dan
    Aug 18 '16 at 15:20
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    @dan08 just sanitize the code such that it isn't noticeable that it was prepared for someone else -- also extend it such that it is more relevant to the position you're applying for. Aug 18 '16 at 15:32

If you wrote it, it's legitimately a sample of your work. Though if it's a standard exercise it's not likely to be very impressive, unless you went far beyond the usual in quality of your implementation. You may want to think about whether you have any personal projects which do a better job of showing your ability to version systems rather than just subroutines.

You might also want to review any code you submit before turning it in, to make sure it shows you at your best, or as close to that as you can get without violating a prior employer's/customer's confidentiality.


I don't see a problem with that at all. Actually, I'd have more of an issue if you just sent them examples of code that you'd written for a previous employer, due to potential copyright / privacy concerns.

  • 1
    Absolutely. I always think it is a trap they are setting when they ask for examples of previous work. My first question, if somebody showed me code from a previous employment, would be "why do you have this?" Aug 18 '16 at 8:37

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