How to create a winning computer science resume

Your resume is your chance to make a good first impression with potential employers. It needs to show your essential skills and what you’ll contribute. Learn how to create a computer science resume that gets attention (the positive kind).

Types of resumes

The first decision you need to make when creating a computer science resume is which type to use. Typically, you have three choices:

Chronological

A chronological resume lists your work history in reverse chronological order. This is the best choice if you’ve already had some work experience in computer science or if you have experience with a specific employer you want to highlight. It’s not as good for first-time job seekers or career switchers. It’s also not great if you have gaps in your work history.

Functional

A functional resume focuses on your skills and strengths and doesn’t include specific dates, names, and places. These resumes are great for career-changers, as they help show off your transferable skills (the skills you’ve picked up in other work that’s applicable to computer science jobs, like time management and teamwork). They’re also good for first-time job seekers, as you can include volunteer and classroom experience.

Combination

As the name implies, combination resumes are a blend of chronological and functional. You’d have a skills section followed by a shorter chronological work experience section. If you can keep it to one page, it could be a good option for first-time job seekers and career changers.

What to include on your computer science resume

Once you have your resume type selected, it’s time to decide what information to include.

Contact information

Your name, email, address, and phone number should all be included. Use a professional-sounding email address (typically some variation of your name).

Summary or objective

Below your contact information, add a brief statement that describes who you are and what type of position you want. You’ll want to customize this section for each position you apply to (this goes for the resume as a whole, actually).

As an example, take the summary below:

“Self-motivated Software Engineer seeking an entry-level position with a leading firm where I can utilize my skills in Python, JavaScript, and project management to reach company goals.”

Educations and certifications

List your education and certifications in the next section. Both should be in reverse chronological order. In other words, start with the most recent first and then go back through time. If you have a bachelor’s degree with no graduate school experience, you’d list your bachelor’s degree and then your high school education. Only include your GPA if it’s relatively high.

If you’ve taken our courses, you can include those here or in a separate section called “Professional development.” You should definitely include them, though.

Experience and/or skills section

Depending on the type of resume you choose, you’ll include an experience and/or skills section next. Your work experience is fairly straightforward, and you should list it in reverse chronological order.

Your skills section should highlight two types of skills: hard skills and soft skills.

Hard skills are the skills that you can quantify. For a computer science resume, this includes your technical skills, such as:

Programming languages: Highlight the programming languages you know and how well you know them. Consider including languages such as Python, JavaScript, SQL, HTML, CSS, Java, Ruby, and C++.Cybersecurity: Skills like cryptography and implementing firewalls and VPNs are in high demand as cybersecurity threats continue to evolve.Cloud computing: Include your skills and knowledge of cloud technologies and platforms.Artificial intelligence: This might include skills in data science, machine learning, and dynamic programming.UX design: This could include front-end programming, interaction design, UI design, and user-centered design.

If you’re using a chronological resume, be sure to highlight these skills in your work experience section.

But don’t just offer technical skills to employers. Soft skills are harder to quantify, but they’re just as important.

You need to show you can fit into their company culture, coordinate with team members, manage projects, and more. Here are some soft skills to consider including on your computer science resume:

TeamworkProblem-solvingProject managementCritical thinkingAdaptabilityPublic speaking/presentation skillsWritten communication skillsCreativityConflict management and resolutionEnthusiasm

As with hard skills, if you’re using a chronological resume, highlight these skills as you discuss your work experience.

Projects and awards

Include notable tech projects you’ve worked on, even if they were for school or volunteer projects. Also, note any relevant awards you’ve received (so not the first place in the 6th-grade art fair, though we admire your creativity).

Getting your computer science resume ready

Keep in mind that your resume is probably going to be scanned by an automated applicant tracking system. Why does this matter? Your resume needs to include relevant keywords to be flagged for review by a hiring manager. The job posting offers clues as to what keywords to use, so be sure to match your resume to the position you’re applying for.

Ready to get started in computer science? We offer a wealth of options. If you’re looking to brush up on specific programming languages, for example, we offer courses in Python, Java, C++, and many more.

For a more thorough foundation in computer science, consider our Computer Science Career Path. This is a beginner-friendly course that will teach you to think and code like a professional. It teaches you more than just skills — it teaches you how to apply those skills to computer science problems.

You’ll learn Python, one of the fastest-growing programming languages. You’ll also learn about data structures, algorithms, and databases and develop valuable problem-solving skills along the way. You’ll also be able to build a portfolio that’ll help you land an entry-level job in computer science.

If you’re ready for a career that’s fast-paced and fulfilling, we’re ready to help.

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