How To List Computer Programming Skills on Your Resume

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 10, 2022 | Published June 21, 2021

Updated November 10, 2022

Published June 21, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

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Computer programmers need a wide range of skills to take care of their many duties and responsibilities efficiently and professionally. Essential computer programming skills include knowledge, technical capability, and soft skills such as the ability to work as part of a team. Deciding on the best way to showcase your computer programming skills on your resume can help you get more interviews and job offers. In this article, we discuss what computer programming skills are, why they're important, how to include your computer programming skills on your resume, and some examples of programmer skills.

What are computer programmer skills?

Computer programmer skills are the methods and processes that people use to provide computers with instructions, and a computer program is a collection of instructions written by a programmer. Computer programmers use programming languages to automate a variety of tasks. The computer records the programming language in binary code, a series of ones and zeros. One digit is called a bit, and a string of eight bits is a byte. One byte can represent any of 256 items or values. Computer programmers often work with software developers, and their duties sometimes overlap.

Why are programming skills important?

Programming skills are important because they demonstrate that you can take care of the technical tasks that employers are looking for. They can help you show a hiring manager that you're one of the most qualified people for the position and you deserve an interview.

How to list programming skills on your resume

Computer programming can be a very competitive industry, so you should take every opportunity to highlight your skills and qualifications. Include a detailed list of all the skills you have that could be valuable to the job. That way, you and your resume can stand out compared to other candidates. Here are some steps for adding programming skills to your resume:

1. Look at the job description carefully

Reviewing the original job posting for the position you're applying to will give you a better idea of which skills the employer wants most. Mention as many of the skills in the job description as possible to make your resume a better match for the job. Many companies use computer search programs to search for keywords in resumes and cover letters, and the people with the most matching keywords are much more likely to have their resume seen by a person and then get invited for an interview.

2. Compare your skills to the job in question

After you look at the job posting, compare it with your current computer programming skills and level of experience. If you don't have some qualifications, think about other skills that you could highlight instead. However, you should make sure to accurately represent your skill level and programming languages you're familiar with. If you're less confident in your ability to get an interview, consider applying to other positions that are closer to your skill level.

3. Use a functional resume

A functional resume is the best way for you to highlight your computer programming skills on your resume. Instead of listing a work history after the objective or summary section, it lists your abilities and skills. This lets employers view your qualifications and decide whether or not you're a good candidate immediately.

This type of resume is ideal for people who are changing careers, who don't have lots of experience, or who have gaps in their work history. Alongside skills, you can list any professional achievements and awards that demonstrate them. When possible, use numbers to quantify your achievements, especially for soft skills like teamwork.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide To Functional Resumes

4. Categorize your skills

A long list of skills could be monotonous or hard to read. Instead, separate different categories of skills with headers and use bulleted lists to make your skills easier for hiring managers to scan. For example, you could divide your skills into programming languages, operating systems, analytical skills, organizational skills, and communication skills.

Then, you should place descriptions of your skills or your achievements next to the listed items. Use past-tense action verbs to describe your accomplishments, and only mention the ones that are relevant to the open position. To keep your resume concise and easy to read, avoid using more than three achievements for each skill.

5. Mention your most impressive and advanced skills first

Mentioning your most advanced skills first can make a hiring manager more likely to continue reading your resume and make your application more appealing than those of less skilled competitors. Right after each skill, before your achievements, you can also mention the number of years of experience you have and your skill level. However, omitting this information is best if you have less experience.

Related: Top 15 Careers in Programming (With Salaries and Job Duties)

Examples of computer programmer skills

Computer programmers need hard and soft skills. Hard skills are measurable abilities that people develop over time through practice or study, and soft skills are more inherent abilities or personality traits that let people work more effectively with others. Here are some of the most important computer programming skills:

Proficiency with programming languages

Learning a programming language is a lot like learning a foreign language. Each programming language has a different syntax or set of rules, and syntax errors can cause bugs or problems with software. The ability to catch and correct errors quickly is important. You don't need to know every programming language to be a successful computer programmer, but you should become an expert in at least one or two and learn the basics of several more. Here are some of the programming languages that you can learn to make your resume more appealing to employers:

  • Python: Python is easy to read and write, and its versatility makes it an effective tool for everything from web development to video games. People also use it for data science and machine learning or artificial intelligence.

  • JavaScript: JavaScript drives most user interfaces for websites. It also helps developers create online or mobile apps and integrate different products and services.

  • Java: Java is similar to JavaScript, but it's a separate language. People often use it for application programming interfaces (APIs) or Android apps.

  • Swift: Swift is a programming language exclusively for Apple products, including the iPhone and the iPad. It was introduced in 2014 as a simpler, easier-to-learn update to its predecessor, Objective-C.

  • C: Programmers use this language in applications where performance in important, such as games, special effects or CGI software, and parts of operating systems like Microsoft Windows. People often use it to program devices like onboard car computers that have limited processing power and need the most efficient performance possible.

  • C++: C++ is a simplified version of C, and people often convert code in C to C++. It was created in 1985, and it's still popular.

  • SQL: SQL stands for structured query language, and people often call it sequel. Programmers submit SQL data queries to a server that returns the requested information. SQL database servers power many apps and websites, storing information like social media posts and user profiles. Data scientists and business intelligence analysts use SQL along with computer programmers.

  • HTML: HTML stands for hypertext markup language, and it's an essential component of most web pages. It tells browsers what background to display, what font to use, where to place headings, and other essential information.

  • Go: This language is also called Golang, and Google developed it to help different networks communicate with each other. It's ideal for applications that need to process a lot of data, and Netflix, Twitch, Uber, and other large companies use it along with Google.

Math skills

Many parts of programming require an extensive understanding of math, including algebra, geometry, calculus, and statistics. If computer programmers don't have these skills, they won't be able to instruct computers to solve complex equations correctly, create charts and graphs, and search for patterns in data.

Problem-solving

People write computer code because they want to solve a problem or create a faster way to complete a task. As a computer programmer, you'll need to be able to recognize problems and identify the most efficient ways to solve them. Problem-solving skills computer programmers often use include research, analysis, critical thinking, and decision making.

Read More: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

Communication

Programmers spend most of their time working by themselves, but they still need to attend meetings, send emails, and coordinate their actions with supervisors and team members. Many computer programs contain huge amounts of information, and several people often work together to complete different parts of the programming and make sure the finished software functions well. Mentioning your communication skills on your resume will show employers that you can work effectively with others. Some examples of communication skills that would help computer programmers include:

  • Active listening

  • An adaptive communication style

  • Friendliness

  • Confidence

  • The ability to give and receive useful feedback

  • Respect for other team members

  • The ability to understand nonverbal cues such as body language

  • Responsiveness

  • Leadership

  • Quality control

  • Emotional intelligence

  • Conflict resolution

Read More: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

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