CV/Resume Question: Adressing a Large Gap


I earned a degree in computer science in 1997, but unfortunately haven’t been working in the IT field since 2002. It’s a long story involving economic downturns, family crises, and choosing living in a place I loved even though it meant a job I didn’t love.

As always though, life has changed. I have a family now, and am no longer living somewhere I love. As a result, I really want to get back into the career I love. I have no problem with looking for an entry level opportunity and working my way up again. I’ve worked through the front end and back end FCC certificates, and have started the full stack, though I stalled a bit after my son was born.

My big question is how do I address the 16 year period I’ve been out of the IT industry? In my current job, I’ve been able to do some development work, but it’s not my primary role and takes a backseat to my other responsibilities. It does give me some recent development experience, but it isn’t strong enough to cover my gap.

Any suggestions for how to address this in my CV or resume would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

My advice would be to make a functional CV. I did something similar because I’m trying to move into development from a totally unrelated field.

First, focus on the skills and experience you’ve developed through FCC. In the CV, add a Profile explaining your position, plus a skills summary and then a section describing a couple of your best projects. Keep the work experience section brief, but emphasize any transferable skills.

The most vital thing is to build a really sharp portfolio. If you can demonstrate that you have the necessary skills and qualities NOW, then whatever came before is pretty irrelevant.

What is past is prologue…

Thanks. You make a great point that it’s my current skills and abilities that are important. I’ve been letting my situation drag me down for quite a while now.

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Also, actions > words. Since you are working on the Full Stack (I’m assuming the non-Beta version), apparently you would be the FIRST camper EVER to actually complete it if you donated your man-hours to enough non-profits. According to Quincy Larson:

In our old certificate program, we awarded the Full Stack Developer Certificate by completing an additional 800 hours of coding on open source projects used by nonprofits. But not a single camper has accomplished this to date, because they all get developer jobs long before they’re able to clock this many hours.

But, go deep, not broad with your involvement. This came up in another thread on which I commented. Not only does this show your chops, but your activity is publicly logged, and stands as a perusable testament to your ability to get the job done in a group environment.