How to Add Self Taught Programmer on Your Resume

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Nov 18, 2022 5 min read

Quick Answer:
A self-taught programmer learns coding through determination and willpower, typically without a degree in computer science. Employers value self-taught programmers' time-management skills and motivation. To add self-taught programmer on your resume, list relevant experience, build a portfolio, and show passion and proactivity. Focus on one large-scale project and update it constantly with new skills.

Nowadays, more and more programmers are self-taught.

Many of them don’t see value in a university education, as it is expensive, and whether it gets you started in your career is uncertain.

Luckily, that opinion is shared with many employers, as a computer science degree on a resume becomes less and less important for them.

Actually, in some cases employers value self-taught programmers even more, as it takes a great amount of determination and will to teach yourself how to code.

But how to list that you are a self-taught programmer on your resume, so that you get the best result?

We are going to go through the two most important questions on the topic to get you prepared for that:

  • What does it mean to be a self-taught programmer?
  • How to add self-taught programmer on your resume?

If you have some doubts about your overall resume performance, you should definitely check out our Resume Builder, and create a unique and eye-catching design in no time.

But if you are ready to learn how to add self taught programmer on your resume, stick around.

What does it mean to be a self-taught programmer?

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First things first, let’s define what a self-taught programmer means.

Typically, a self-taught programmer does not list a university/college degree in computer science, or other tech-related subject, or even does not have a degree at all.

A self-taught programmer usually learns how to code while working a regular job, or while going to school, or while taking care of their family.

This can be considered as a great asset by hiring managers, because you not only have the determination to learn how to code on your own, but you also show great time management skills and motivation.

Something you might experience as a self-taught programmer is the imposter syndrome.

That’s the feeling that you get when you are unsure of your abilities, and you ask yourself what you will do when people find out that you are self-taught.

You might feel like you don’t belong, as you don’t have a degree, but you should block these thoughts of yours.

You can check out any forum, and see how any programmer, no matter the experience, still can struggle with the simplest tasks.

How to add self-taught programmer on your resume?

Now that you understand what a self-taught programmer on your resume is, it’s time to understand the key aspects of listing it correctly.

List your experience if you have any.

Any relevant experience would be appreciated by an employer more than a degree in computer science.

A degree only shows a potential employer that you can pass an exam, but an actual experience shows them that you can do the job.

That’s why, from any company’s perspective, it makes much more sense to hire someone with experience and without a degree, rather than someone with a degree but without any experience.

However, getting experience might be tough, you will probably have to volunteer at local meetups and hackathons. But that can be often really fun, and it would help you understand the field and create connections.

Once you get your experience, make sure you list in the work experience section of your resume. Learn more about listing entries in it here.

Build a portfolio

A great thing to add to your programming resume, no matter if you have experience or not, or if you have a degree or are self-taught, is a portfolio.

In any case, a portfolio allows your potential employer to see your work in action.

A GitHub profile with constant activity would make your potential employer jump up and down, and give you a call right after they spend some time browsing with interest.

But your portfolio should also have some structure.

As a self-taught programmer, you probably have lots of abandoned repositories which you used once or twice for minor tasks from an online course.

Having too much of these might come across as off putting, and your potential employer might decide that you leave projects halfway done.

Instead of that, try creating a larger scale project which you improve and upgrade constantly with every new skill you acquire.

Show you are passionate and proactive

We already discussed that experience is more valued than a degree from employers.

But the truth is, passion and proactivity trumps both of them.

It does not matter whether you have a degree or not, and whether you have experience or not. You need to convince your potential employer that you are passionate about programming.

And no matter your qualifications, passion and proactivity can be shown mainly in just one way – through your side projects.

So make sure you focus greatly on your portfolio and get it just right.


We are all done, now you know how to add self-taught programmer on your resume.

Let’s go through the steps you need to take to get the best result:

  • List any relevant experience you have – it is valued much more than a degree, as it shows that you can actually do the job, rather than that you can take an exam
  • Build a portfolio – preferably GitHub, where you can show your activity on various projects. Try to get rid of any abandoned repositories and stir the hiring manager’s attention towards big projects that you updated constantly with newly acquired skills
  • Show you are passionate and proactive – that’s what is more important, as your passion can trump both experience and a degree. The best way to show your passion and proactivity is through your portfolio, so focus greatly on that

Now that you know all that, it is time for you to add your self-taught programming knowledge on your resume and get your dream job.

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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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