Every programmer has a primary language that he works with most of the time and is therefore very familiar with.

But there are also languages that you kinda know, in the sense that you used to know them really well in the past, but hasn't used in a while, or that you use them infrequently and therefore are not as immersed in them as you are in your primary language.

You can definitely bring yourself to be productive with these languages, but you might need to re-familiarize yourself a little, look up a few syntax rules, and such. My question is- will you write these languages in your CV as languages you "know"?

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    Yes, you never know when your employer might need someone for that Chef project downstairs, and it is a rare programmer indeed that has mastered the drop sort.
    – Mark C
    Commented Oct 6, 2010 at 15:27

6 Answers 6


Of course, but only those that are relevant to the job you are applying for. they don't have to be limited to the ones asked for in the job requirements, but you shouldn't include everything.

It shows that you are more than a "one trick pony" and have skills beyond those required for your current (and prospective job). It helps highlight the experience you have and shows that you can adapt to new technologies etc. as the need arises.

You should indicate how long ago it was you last used that language, how long you had been using it and what you were doing with it. In much the same way as you indicate how long you've been using your current skill set and what you've been doing with that.

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    Agreed in all capacities. How do they know you have experience in those languages that you are not proficient in but have done some coding in without noting them accordingly.
    – Chris
    Commented Oct 6, 2010 at 13:27

I wouldn't just include a laundry list of languages. These should be incorporated into the descriptions of the projects that you have worked on, along with any other technologies (databases, frameworks, etc.). As a hiring manager I want to know what you did with these languages, not just a claim that you know them.

  • Good point - it's what I was getting at with my last sentence.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Oct 6, 2010 at 13:30

I specify my previous employers and the languages/technologies I often worked with at that employer.

This way the recruiter sees how long ago AND for how long you worked with the languages/technologies.


I only include those languages that I would want to have to use again if I were hired for the new job. Things like COBOL don't go on the CV.

  • I should clarify this a bit I think. I would still mention in the area where I talk about that job that it involved that technology. I just wouldn't list that technology in the "proficiencies" section that most people have at the top of their CVs. Commented Oct 6, 2010 at 15:48
  • hmm why not COBOL?
    – aggietech
    Commented Oct 6, 2010 at 16:22
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    Because I wouldn't want to ever code in COBOL again. :-) Hey, if you like COBOL more power to you. I, however, do not. Commented Oct 8, 2010 at 13:01

I would put them on my CV with the obvious caveat that I feel comfortable answering any questions about it. I think the key is that you still feel you know it well enough now to discuss and answer questions about it. It can show that you are well rounded, can learn new things, and are not only stuck in what language.


Yes, I put the number of years I've worked with the language and when I last used it, and also my level of proficiency.

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