Can someone write that he is a C++ expert on the basis of reputation earned and badges received here at SO in the C++?

Suppose I somehow manage to earn a C++ gold badge, can I include these statistics (like number of questions answered, quality of questions answered, number and quality of questions asked)?

migrated from stackoverflow.com Sep 29 '10 at 9:14

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

  • 5
    +1: Good question; – KMan Sep 29 '10 at 8:30
  • It is also a point to see that the guy reading your resume knows about SO. And if the HR, which in most cases, is the first point of contact, GOD save your soul. – DumbCoder Sep 29 '10 at 8:34
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    If you're proud of the answers/questions you have on SO, then the URL of your account info is more useful to the technical CV reviewer than discussion of gold badges. For myriad reasons, points and badges aren't a good way to assess people, and presenting that as your claim to fame may look lame. Let them read your actual posts and make up your own mind. Better hope not to many are obviously made on company time ;-P. – Tony Sep 29 '10 at 8:37
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    possible duplicate of When can you put "C++ Expert" on your CV? – Klaim Sep 29 '10 at 8:41
  • it does look like a duplicate, Debanajan should have spotted that before posting this question. – Osama ALASSIRY Sep 29 '10 at 8:50

10 Answers 10


Rather put “active C++ member at stackoverflow.com”

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    I agree, the badges favor participation above quality. Of course, most of the people with C++ gold badge have a deep understanding of the language (at the moment) but I already have the silver badge and I certainly do not consider myself an expert, at most an "advanced" user. – Matthieu M. Sep 29 '10 at 8:34
  • Thanks for the tip, I'll watch that mention when a new candidate submits a resume... – Ring Ø Oct 21 '10 at 15:30

Earning a gold medal in a particular tag is not a joke. So you can put "Active C++ member at stackoverflow.com with a C++ gold badge" in your CV but writing C++ expert means something very big (being an expert in C++ is a huge achievement.)

In addition you'd also have to specify what stackoverflow really is and how does it work.

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    I vote for your answer, but my vote targets the second paragraph. Recruiters do not necessarily know of stackoverflow. – Benoit Sep 29 '10 at 8:40

If I were an employer I'd have "concerns" that a potential employee spends too much time on stackoverflow rather than doing any work ...


you can try, but any sane interviewer should not pay attention to it.. how to prove the account is really yours, how to prove you entered all answers yourself, and how to convince him you didn't just google all answers and copy-pasted them?

  • Nice one, I had overlooked it !! – DumbCoder Sep 29 '10 at 8:36
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    Of course, any sane interviewer (who has the necessary knowledge and experience) would ask further questions on the spot. Also, it would not be difficult for him/her to dig deeper regarding any of your answers on SO to figure out whether you really understand what you wrote (and all the deeper issues behind - C++ is a very suitable topic for this ;-). However, for HR folks it could be a good bait :-) Overall, my golden rule is: never claim more of yourself than what you can actually prove. – Péter Török Sep 29 '10 at 8:36
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    For those people who use their full real name on here, reviewers are likely to credit it if technical ability seems consistent with that exposed at interview. BTW / googling and copy-pasting the right answers is still a useful skill. – Tony Sep 29 '10 at 8:40
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    How to prove? Tell the recruiter that you are ready to log in in front of him/her. – Benoit Sep 29 '10 at 8:48

Your reputation on SO does not reflect your competence at C++, rather your helpfulness to the general programming community. It is true that having a high reputation score, or however many badges usually require that you know what you're talking about, it doesn't directly mean that you at all an expert at any programming language. You may just be helping noobs (any better word?) for a while and stacking up the rep, or perhaps you earned most of your reputation by discussing programming techniques and styles, rather than actual code.

So while it may be a nice footnote to show your activity and interest in the programming community, and may make you seem like a real programming enthusiast, it wouldn't really be as helpful as hard evidence, like career history, education, ect....


Cool question!

Probably your interviewer may ask back:"What is stackoverflow?"

"You are so outdated!!" you may answer...

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    What if the interviewer asks "What is C++?" That's much worse. – sharptooth Sep 29 '10 at 8:42
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    You may propose a role play with him. You become the interviewer.... – wengseng Sep 29 '10 at 8:43
  • In soviet russia ... – Reno Sep 29 '10 at 8:54

There is of course nothing to stop you from doing this, but I would consider it a gamble - it depends on the predilections of the individual who parses your CV. If they are similarly inclined in favour of (for example) open source projects and so forth, a stackoverflow reference is likely to register well with them - i.e. they are what we might consider a proper nerd. Alternatively, they might see a web community reference on there and think it was piffle.

From my point of view, when perusing CVs I would rank certain stackoverflow badges above the common-or-garden Software Engineering Degree, but I suspect that will be the exception rather than the rule.

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    And indeed as stjin suggests - there would have to be some work done as far as confirming the veracity of your claim. The same goes of course for everything you write on your CV. – Adrian Hand Sep 29 '10 at 8:37

You've got be what you say you are. C++ is a pretty large domain and requires alot of expertise; you can add certain sections, for instance network programming expert, design patterns, available libraries, etc.

This answer is what I am trying to explain.

Plus, I think employers have yet to find out what stackoverflow is, and how it works. If you see the careers section, you would find out there are quite a few employers looking for candidates, and those are mostly from NYC, or somewhere from UK. If you live somewhere near the "most looked at" cities, go ahead write that down; I would even add the SO Flare.


As a recruiter I would better consider a CV from someone being in topcoder division 1, or someone who passed 3 levels of Google Code Jam.

Then I'll ask if she knows the basics of C++, if we need explicitly that language.

Of course, to write (and read) C++ code it is better to know well the OO programming.
But again, between having someone writing pure C++ classes, and someone able to build quickly and efficiently an algorithm (need that arise in any language), I chose the 2nd one instantly.


It means you spend all day checking StackOverflow.com for new questions that you can answer quickly and are a reputation whore, rather than actually getting on with work.

Your employer may be watching over your shoulder to see if you are actually doing the work they need or spending all day on StackOverflow.com.

I wouldn't bother telling them. And just in case the check they would have no idea that I am "CashCow" anyway.

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