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Discussion on: When you say you know a particular front-end language, library, or framework, what does that mean?

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Matthew D. Miller

I can't really address your question as to what an interviewer expects you to be able to answer when you put that you know a certain technology on your resume. I've never worked in HR nor interviewed for a position where I was quizzed on details of the technologies on my resume.

What I can say is when do I personally consider that I know a language. If I've just read the introductory tutorial on the website and maybe completed a few Project Euler problems, I don't really consider that a language I know. I don't consider it a language that I know until I've actually built a non-trivial project using it.

What's more important than your knowledge of specific technologies is your problem solving skills. I know Perl, but that doesn't mean I don't have to check the documentation every single time to remember the order of arguments for split. If someone's a good Java programmer, then they can learn to be a good Python programmer.

Unfortunately, problem solving skills are a lot harder for an interviewer to assess. I've worked with people who have a master's degree in computer science, yet they have no problem solving skills. They might be able to answer all the questions on a quiz about a technology, but they are unable to actually use the technology to solve real world problems.