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I know there is a similar question here:

Is Stack Overflow reputation marketable?

However, I am curious if fellow SO members have any examples or stories about how it has helped them in the past.

I noticed the flair system to show your SO rep and was wondering if it was worth the hassle... could help or it could hinder.

I am a contractor so I am thinking it is possible to win some contracts possibly I wouldn't normally otherwise, should a client take a look at my portfolio and actually notice me because of it.

I've already received referral traffic off my profile here.. but nothing that has found me a new client.


..and so far I'm just getting direct speculative answers.. I am really looking for any direct affect anyone answering has noticed for themselves. (if you haven't please don't answer.)


I've already received referral traffic off my profile here.. but nothing that has found me a new client.

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migrated from Nov 22 '09 at 11:20

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

This question is better suited for – Stephan202 Nov 22 '09 at 10:36
+1 for – ariefbayu Nov 22 '09 at 10:45
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I think Stack Overflow can be a strong part of a CV or job-interview in the sense that it shows that you've got a real passion for programming. And it is not just something you do to get food on the table.

And I guess Stack Overflow also provides some insight into a persons skills and personality.

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No, but if I saw Skeet's resume come across my desk I wouldn't hire him. The guy can't possibly get anything done, why look at his rep! And don't reply linking me to the answer where he explains how he manages to fit SO into his schedule. Its obviously a tissue of lies. He's hooked into an isolation tank being fed intravenously with his only outside contact being an always on connnection to SO and a cat flap where Atwood shovels in cash to keep him providing quality answers.

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That's ridiculous. A cat flap wouldn't be big enough. – Pops Nov 22 '09 at 17:54
I heard he's secretly identical quintuplets. Or clones. – Terry Wilcox Nov 23 '09 at 16:13
Apparently StackOverflow works very well for promotin Jon Skeet as a book writer - you see how and what he writes, and know much better what is in the book. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Nov 9 '10 at 20:53

I do not believe so.

Most employers don't care about your passion for programming. They will also have no time reading from several hundreds of your answers to get an impression of you. They have 300+ resumes lying on their desk that they need to sort through.

Also some concerns have been shown that employers may question whether you gained your high reputation during work hours.

Although, I wouldn't want to work for that typical employer type.

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That may be true for "most employers" - but is it true for the employers you want to work for? The kind of employer I like is one which does want passionate people... aside from anything else, that means I'm more likely to work with passionate people. – Jon Skeet Nov 22 '09 at 12:12
You are correct. I wouldn't want to work for that typical employer type. – user136634 Nov 22 '09 at 14:18
Employers I know are keen (desperate) to confirm that someone has programming abilities. SO helps with that (if there are good answers of course!) – junky Mar 5 '12 at 8:10
wow if a company doesn't care about my passion for programming. Then I don't care about applying for a job at that company – Blundell Jul 11 '13 at 22:38
"employers may question whether you gained your high reputation during work hours" - There's an unspoken assumption here that asking/answering on SO during work hours is actually bad for your work. It seems to me that it may actually help you to be more productive at work, provided you're not just procrastinating. – Excrubulent Oct 25 '13 at 5:38

No, because employers are concerned with employment experience first, followed by education. IME, trying to sell self-employment and volunteer work is rather hard in the interview process.

Advertising participation on Stack Overflow to potential employers IMO is more likely to be bad: it says you don't get out, so there might be some interpersonal issues there. Use the hobbies section on your resume/CV to distinguish you as a person, not a zombie.

The interview & general interaction with co-workers is where I'd hope to see a difference between SO users and those who aren't. Gaining reputation on SO means being generally knowledgeable in a short time frame, and to a lesser degree - communication skills.

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SO rep is one way to tell the guy with 20 years experience from the guy with the same year of experience 20 times :-) – Kate Gregory Jul 29 '11 at 13:49

My actual experience is that that my SO score (different account) was huge in landing my last job. It totally replaced the technical interview / test part of the job. (You can see why, given the last sentence, I am not posting this under my main account!)

Yes, my new employer said (in that half-joking way that showed he meant it [sigh]) "guess your SO score will suffer a bit with the new job". I joked back "yeah".

As for employers looking at questions in terms of the time of day that they were posted to see if SO was being done at work:- I wish employers were that smart / had the time / really cared!

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I've posted SO answers at work, but I'm not being funny I've seen my colleagues googling questions and reading my own SO answers in work time so! ... – Blundell Jul 11 '13 at 22:40
@Blundell: now thats cool ;) – dreamweiver Sep 15 '15 at 7:55

StackOverflow has been out for a little over a year now. Call it a year since people started to pick up impressive levels of rep and it started to get known fairly widely.

Now, good developers tend not to change jobs all that much, unless they're contracting, and those they contract for are often not in software development. Moreover, when I've applied for jobs, I usually haven't been told exactly why I did nor not get an offer.

So, I think this question is premature. If you want empirical results, wait a few years. Until then, you'll get general speculation and, if you're lucky, a few managers saying what would impress them.

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