If your CV only contains jQuery…

time to read 3 min | 579 words

imageWe recently got a CV at the office, from a developer that has about three years of experience as a Full Stack Developer. The CV was… strange, in the sense that I was intimately familiar with all the web technologies in it. This is peculiar, because about five years ago I just threw the gauntlet and stopped even trying to pretend that I have any skills in building anything that is near the front end. And my skills as a front end developers has been atrophying even before that.

I mean, <table> is still how you properly layout things today, as far as I’m concerned. However, in a rare moment of self reflection, I have to admit that I wouldn’t hire myself to do anything related to the browser.

So we have a CV with the following keywords:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • Ajax
  • jQuery

And that’s a bit suspicious. Oh, certainly these are foundational topics for a front end developer, and I get the need to sometimes pack a CV with keywords for the purpose of matching. However, not having anything else there is strange, and not usually indicative of a good outcome. We gave the candidate a call and talked for a bit, nonetheless. 

It appears that the first job the candidate had after university was maintaining and building an already existing application. The architecture and framework choices were already done and there hasn’t been any pressing need to change them. Therefor, that was what the candidate was used to and familiar with.

So far, this is reasonable story. I can certainly see how this can happen. What I don’t understand is the candidate’s reaction to that.  Sure, the current job may be resistant to changing things. It works, probably reasonable well as far as the current workplace is concerned. And moving to a new technology just because a person want to (literally in this case) pad their resume is a bad idea.

But what about the candidate? At this point, they are actively hunting for a new job. I would expect them to take a look at the market, evaluate their current situation and identify that they are currently working on something that give them no real value for prospective employers. In fact, I would be willing to bet that this is a large part of why this candidate is looking for a new job.

I would expect the candidate at this point to actively work at improving their skills. Spend some time watching Plural Sight videos, build sample applications, go over tutorials, etc. Coming to a job interview and saying something like: “My current job only uses jQuery, but I have been studying React on the side using Plural Sight and here is my GitHub’s sample project showing my progress so far” is amazing. It indicates a lot about the candidate, including the ability to learn and develop oneself on your own.

We aren’t going to go forward with this candidate, but I’m certain that they will be able to find another position in a company where their jQuery skills will be very valuable. However, I don’t expect that they’ll learn anything new in that place, and in 3 years or so, if they will be looking for a new job, they will be in the same exact same place.

On an unrelated note, I have another CV which listed both WinForms and VB6 as core skills.