I expect some of you could answer "depends". So here are some clues. The project involved a development and maintenance of scalable server side system with high availability.

So the project "lifetime" wasn't only limited to me, sitting on a chair and writing some code. During my free days or hours (even when I was sleeping) the system was running all the time and I often was involved in reasoning the results of what happened when I was away. Then, basically all my gained experience is based on a 24/7 process of the running system and a long-range set of higher level causes and effects like speaking with the customer or aggreeing some solution after speaking with him.

From my point of view this means 1 year of experience. I would like to know your opinion on this, especially if you agree, please share what would you tell to someone who is of a different opinion.

  • Were you employed or was this a personal project? In my experience, working on a personal project doesn't count as professional experience, but may be used to argue an "or equivalent" of education/experience if you can point to it. If you worked for a company, you can only count the time worked for the company (as a percentage of full-time if you were part time). Nov 30, 2016 at 22:58
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    I think trying too hard to measure a fuzzy variable like "years experience" with absolute precision won't gain the involved parties a lot. If I'm a full-time C++ software developer but have to regularly sit in pointless meetings for 1 day of the week, do I reduce my "years programming C++" by 20%? But I guess arguing that doesn't help the OP when they are trying to fill out a form that asks for "years of experience". Dec 1, 2016 at 8:26
  • @ThomasOwens This was company main project. Dec 1, 2016 at 17:04
  • @JoeStrazzere 1/5 and 1/10 time example is a good point. I would say it depends on the impact and the effects of how you were involved in things. If the guy was a jewelery shopkeeper and 1/10 of time consisted of dealing with customers, does he have 1/10 of a year experience? To answer also to your second example, if the guy spend 2/5 of time on selling the jewellery and 3/5 of time on resource management with providers, same calculations are valid here? Dec 1, 2016 at 17:32
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    "Still someone might say that such meetings might result in some experience for you anway" - they might, you can probably learn something even from those meetings (if only to avoid them in the first place). But then you might just as well argue that part-timers also learned something valuable in the part of the year that they were not working; be it technical knowledge from tinkering on their hobby projects or social skills from taking care of their children. At that point it becomes rather arbitrary to say that the meetings make somebody more qualified because they happend on the clock. Dec 2, 2016 at 10:09

2 Answers 2


1-year experience means you have 1-year of FULL-TIME, real-world experience, where you worked on at least one real-world problem. It does not cover part-time work, schooling or personal study. I recommend you quantify that explicitly on your resume and with HR/Dev managers. Not having the true meaning of 1-year experience does not mean you do not have the resultant 1-year experience skills. However, you do not want to unintentionally deceive anyone either.

  • I know what you mean. I see that you distinguish 1-year experience and 1-year experience skills. In software engineering the skills are strongly connected with active work like coding and communication, but still all surrounding development has its effect in experience on you; that's why I can not say I don't have 1 year experience (regardless of the skills). Dec 1, 2016 at 17:45
  • @ktalik: In reality, years of experience is not directly correlated to skill. A person with 2 years of experience can be better than someone with 4 years. That is why you use your technical-skill listing and sample projects in a resume or CV to distinguish yourself. That said, you do not want to deceive a hiring manager in any way. That is why I posted my answer. It's all a matter of balance.
    – Phil
    Dec 1, 2016 at 20:13

I find measuring experience in years a little bit fuzzy. Working as a permanent employee in Poland means 20/26 days of paid off and also right to sick leave. So it could be considered less than contract work without any leave. Just list it as job lasting a year and also precise that it was 60% effort. Do HR people care? From my experience: they do not. I assume you were studying at the same time, so they will understand.

Recruiters list required experience in years just for your convenience. My colleagues successfully applied for jobs that were described as 4-5 years, but they had like 3 or 3.5 years in industry.

Sometimes companies have internal regulations regarding salaries and promotions and in that particular case it would matter if the job was part-time. They will just calculate your experience as time*effort, but sometimes they will give you a little bit more than you would expect from that formula.

TL;DR: just tell the truth.

  • Yes I was studying. I also like your distinction between experience and effort. I think putting note about the effort in brackets should help to make this distinction exist officialy. Dec 1, 2016 at 17:50

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