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tl;dr: What is a less extreme (but still noticeable) alternative to the word "fluent", when saying e.g. "I am fluent in C++/Python/whatever?"


I think I can call myself "fluent" in C#, because I know the language and runtime very well, and I'm very familiar with the .NET framework's APIs and classes, etc.

I would like to claim the same thing for Python and C++. But while I can program in Python (I did so for an entire summer, making a website with Django), for example, I would not call myself fluent because my code isn't always "Pythonic" (e.g. using map/filter vs. list comprehensions), and I'm not too intimate with some aspects of the language and standard library yet (e.g. the introspection API, etc.).

Is there a word or phrase I can use on e.g. a resume to describe what I know?

I can think of "very familiar with", but is there a better word/phrase I can use?

  • of course most people grade themselves as a 7/10 regardless of their actual competency in a subject, I'd expect most interviewers to know this – jk. Sep 6 '11 at 8:37
  • @jk.: lol, really? Is this another "45.6% of statistics are made up on the spot", or is there a citation for this? I actually think I'd rate myself 9/10 on some subjects and 3/10 on others... – user541686 Sep 6 '11 at 9:15
  • can't find one for IT but i'd say this is relevant ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3116466 – jk. Sep 6 '11 at 9:46
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    Conversant means capable but less than fluent. See my answer to At what point can I say I've “learned” a language? for a little more detail, but in short: use the same terms you'd use to describe proficiency in a natural language. – Caleb Dec 18 '12 at 17:21
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Would "proficient" be useful, if not that, "competent". Both words suggesting a comfort with tasks given within a certain range.

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  • Oooh yeah they both sound great, I was totally blanking out! Thanks! +1 – user541686 Sep 5 '11 at 20:50
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    Unless you think that "competent" applies in your situation but "proficient" doesn't, I'd recommend "proficient" over "competent". – compman Sep 5 '11 at 23:19
  • @compman: Yeah I agree, I was also going to use "proficient"; thanks! – user541686 Sep 5 '11 at 23:39
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If you are referring to a natural spoken language, one step down from fluent would be "conversant", such as "Fluent in French, conversant in Spanish."

For programming languages, I usually write something like: "Very experienced in C and C++, familiar with Python and C#". But I agree with Irwin that "proficient" seems to be one step below "fluent", so maybe it goes: fluent --> proficient --> familiar.

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These are the terms I usually see in real application forms that allow you to pick it from a list:

  • Competent
  • Skilled
  • Experienced
  • Good
  • Full working capacity/capability
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I'd say you are comfortable using the language. That does not imply you are an expert.

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