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Programming Projects for Resume: Tips & Examples

Programming Projects for Resume: Tips & Examples

You are new to the programming world and searching for your career start?

Or you are an old dog in the profession and looking to spice up your resume?

Either way, the most effective thing you can list on your resume are your programming projects.

And not just list them as names.

Anyone can write on their resume that they invented Facebook.

But if you can’t prove it, you lose your chances of getting the job.

In this article we are going to cover anything you need to know about including your programming project on your resume, including:

  • What is a programming project?
  • Do you need programming projects on your resume?
  • How to add programming projects to your resume?

We also have some great programming project ideas for you to take advantage of.

And we are going to leave you off with some great tips and tricks.

If you have some general doubts about your resume’s strength, you should take the time to learn How to Make Your Resume Stand Out.

But if you are hard on learning how to include your programming projects on your resume, stick around.

What is a programming project

Simply put, it is everything you have created using programming languages.

It can be an app, a website, or engines that you created yourself.

Their main purpose is usually to show off your skills as a programmer and make your job-search process easier.

If you want to take one step further, you can even make your programming project to be specific to the industry you are applying for.

You should always aim at your project being relevant, realistic and complete.

Presenting such a project on your resume shows your potential employer that you are capable of finishing a task.

Should I List Programming Projects on my Resume

The IT industry, at least for now, seems like an evergrowing one.

And as it grows, the entrance level lowers more and more.

Nowadays everyone who has the basic skills and knowledge, thanks to computer science courses or self-learning, has the opportunity to join the IT sector.

That makes the competition for a job position quite difficult.

You need to show the hiring manager that you are the right person for the job.

One of the best ways to do that is via programming projects.

And here is why.

Show Your Skills

First of all, you need to show what you can do.

Saying you are excellent at programming in Java is one thing, but showing it is what can really improve your chances.

Showing a working application, using that language shows both your knowledge and your skill level in the area.

Show Your Passion

Showing you are passionate about something always works in your favor.

And nothing says passion like creating something in your free time.

Creating a complete and working programming project in your free time can really show you love what you do.

The employer would definitely appreciate that effort, as it shows you really invest your time and soul in the process.

Show You Are Eager to Learn

Nothing shows your ability and devotion to learning like creating a programming project.

Especially if you are at the beginning of your journey.

No matter how good you are and how fast you learn, you will meet great obstacles while creating a programming project.

And that is the moment you really start learning because solving problems is the best teacher.

So, by presenting your complete and working project, it shows that you are devoted and instead of giving up, you learned a lot along the way.

You might be asking yourself if experienced programmers need to present their programming projects as well.

The answer is yes.

Personal projects are also a great asset to have on your resume.

The more experience you have as a programmer, the more complex your programming project will be.

But never leave it out, as long as it is relevant to the job position you are applying for.

What skill should you use in your programming projects?

Deciding what skills to show on a programming project depends entirely on the job position you want.

Before starting to code, think about what kind of programming you would like to do.

There is a significant difference if you want to be a Front-End Developer, Back-End Developer or Web Developer.

You are going to need a different skillset for each.

Once you decide on that, you need to browse through some job listings.

That’s usually the best place to learn what technical skills are required by each company.

Don’t try to include the whole list of skills in your programming project, it will probably not work as you wished.

What you should do is pick those which you are most confident in and which supplement your other experience.

How to add programming projects to your resume

Listing your programming projects is not an easy task either.

We already gave you the first hint - they should be relevant to the job you are applying for.

Apart from that, there are a few things that programming projects on your resume should have:

  • Name of the Programming Project
  • How Long it Lasted
  • Tools and Technologies Used

Also it would be really good if you include a few bullet points about what you did and what you learned in the process.

Don’t forget to also include any achievements and awards that you might have because of your programming project.

When it comes to placement, you have two main options.

The first option you have is including it in the Work Experience Section.

That’s a good option if you are writing a resume for an internship or you don’t yet have much experience in the area.

That would shift the focus from your lack of professional experience and would show that you have the skills needed.

However, if you have some sufficient work experience, you would want to add your projects to an Additional Work Experience Section.

If you seem to have some empty space on your resume, you can afford to mention some less relevant programming projects as well.

Knowing additional frameworks and languages is always an advantage and impresses potential employers.

If you feel it would be appropriate, you can include some of your programming skills in your Skills Section as well.

Programming Projects to include on your Resume

In theory everything sounds easy.

But one of the most difficult tasks is to figure out what your programming project will be.

That’s entirely up to you, but we’ve got some great ideas for you.

A Website

Building a website is one of the easiest programming projects you can create.

But you should not underestimate it though.

If you want to show off your skills for creating websites, it may be just the right time for you.

More and more companies nowadays decide to take the step to digital transformation.

With that increasing demand for web developers, it gets harder to stand out in front of the crowd.

But before diving into the real projects, you should create your own website, as a training ground.

This way you can practice your coding skills and prepare your online portfolio.

While creating a website you can choose one of two fields to develop yourself into - web development or web design.

Some might argue that web designers don’t really need any coding skills thanks to pre-made templates.

But it is undeniable that a web designer with coding skills in front-end development is irresistible to hiring managers.

So no matter what you choose, the basic understanding of CSS and JavaScript is rather important.

For front-end web development, we can recommend you to use GitHub and Sublime Text to practice your coding skills.

If you want to take it one step further and train your HTML and CSS skills in real time, you can try Chrome Developer tools.

If you really want to perfect every aspect of your website, you can include:

  • Important Elements for Web Development
  • Accessibility
  • Customized Graphics
  • Login Authentication
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You can also decide between your website being one-page or multi-page one.

All these details can really show the hiring manager that you are adaptable and ready to learn new aspects of web development.

А Game

Adding a game to your programming projects list can really impress hiring managers.

Such a programming project can show hiring managers that you are capable of developing both front-end and back-end coding.

It also shows that you have an understanding of logic, data structures and algorithms.

The technologies you can use vary a lot, so you have a wide range to choose from, depending on the game in mind.

It can use any of these, and many more:

  • Python
  • C++
  • Unity 3D
  • Visual Studio

А To-Do Application

This kind of programming project can show another important aspect of your skillset - user interface (UI).

Simply put, that is how the user interacts with the app or screen.

A to-do application is a perfect way to show you are skilled in UI.

That kind of app allows users to make lists of items and check them. It is a great way to increase one’s task management and organization.

To-do applications have to be organized and user-friendly, and creating one shows your ability to make an efficient software that’s easy to use.

A Messaging Application

A messaging application can catch the hiring manager’s eye for many reasons.

Such a programming project can show your ability to create software that transfers data instantly from one device to another.

Furthermore, messaging apps usually require you to use API, which shows some more additional skills.

Once you have the basics of your messaging app, you can go wild.

You can include various different things, instead of just texting.

Some ideas you can use to spice your app up are:

  • Functionality to add emoticons to the text
  • Functionality to upload images
  • Functionality to play games with your friends

A Copycat Application

If you run out of ideas of what your programming project to be, you can always create a copycat application.

What a copycat app refers to is recreating an app that is already created by somebody else.

That has its advantages too, though.

The main skill it shows the hiring manager is that you can emulate an app or program.

This gets even more impressive if the app is complex or requires advanced skills.

Tips and Tricks for your Programming Project

As always, we are not going to leave you without any tips.

There are just a few things you need to keep in mind.

Don’t worry, we are going to go through them all one by one.

Use appropriate keywords to describe your programming projects

Sometimes creating an extraordinary programming project is not enough to get you an interview, especially if the company is using ATS.

ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System and is a software that preselects resumes, depending on predetermined keywords.

So make sure you check out the job listing and use any relevant keywords you can find to describe your programming project.

Show off Your Relevant Skills

You might have a great variety of skills and knowledge, but you should know how to use it in your favor.

You don’t want to use 10 different programming languages for 10 different projects that you want to show your potential employer.

That wouldn’t really work in your favor.

It would seem like you don’t know what your strengths are, and you are just trying everything.

Also keep in mind that most cool projects we see everywhere are usually created by whole teams, and you are just one person.

You should compare your programming project idea to your limits and find the perfect middle.

So, all in all, know your strength and know your limits.

Make Your Code Accessible

You need to make sure that your potential employer can see the code behind your project.

That’s the only way they can really judge your skills.

The most used platform for that purpose is GitHub.

It is a great place to store your code, share it with other programmers and ask more experienced professionals for feedback.

And most importantly, it shows one more skill to your potential employer, as work with GitHub and similar platforms is a great asset in your job hunt.

Takeaways: Programming projects for resume

We are all done.

Now you know when and how to use your programming project on your resume.

You are now ready to take the best out of them and really impress the hiring manager.

Don’t forget our tips and tricks, and make the best out of them.

Check out our programming projects ideas once again and get you your next interview in no time.

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Kal Dimitrov
Kal is a resume expert @ Enhancv. He frequently publishes blog posts around resume writing, cover letters & job applications. Kal also runs a Career Accelerator Bootcamp for young graduates.
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