Pros Expose What Makes a Standout Computer Science Resume

resume surrounded by technology imagery

You have a knack for solving problems, especially when it comes to technology. You’re always on call for friends and relatives who are stumped by computer issues. Now you’re thinking about taking your talents beyond fixing your grandma’s email and turning them into a career in computer science.

Computer science jobs are on the rise. Software developers, for example, are projected to see employment growth of 24 percent through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1 But this growing job market doesn’t mean employers will settle for anything less than the best candidates. “Relevant experience is key, and a resume should make this evident,” says Patricia Bryner, managing director at Reyna ITS.

Your family and friends might know you have what it takes to succeed in this tech field, but you need a strong computer science resume that shows employers you’re the real deal. Find out how to make your resume top-notch with these insights from tech hiring managers who know how to spot a stellar resume a mile away.

The elements of a standout computer science resume

Writing a computer science resume doesn’t have to be intimidating. The goal is to highlight the skills, education and experience employers are looking for. These elements of a standout computer science resume, along with tips from hiring managers, will help you tackle resume-writing with ease.


Many computer science pros get their start teaching themselves the basics of coding, but the experts agree that a quality education is what will take your programming skills from hobby to career. Data from more than 700,000 computer science job postings reveals that 91 percent of employers are seeking candidates with a bachelor’s degree or higher.2

A bachelor’s degree is one of the first things employers look for on a resume. Having the right education is a good way to make sure your resume doesn’t get tossed out early in the review process.

“We’re looking for at least a bachelor’s degree in math or a technical field, which gives some assurance that the candidate has acquired some learning discipline and systemic thinking,” says Igor Sereda, CEO at ALM Works.

Technical skills

Technical skills are what you’ll be using day in and day out to accomplish work for your employer, so hiring managers pay close attention to what a candidate has to offer in this area. Employers are particularly interested in candidates who know the programming languages they use on a daily basis in the workplace.

“Knowing at least two different programming languages well is a good thing to have—for example, a mainstream language like Java and a functional language like Clojure,” Sereda says. Your resume will be more impressive if you choose to learn programming languages that are related to what you want to focus on in the computer science field.

Bryner agrees, and adds that the candidate should emphasize technical skills that are relevant to the job they’re applying for, saying, “If someone is applying for an application development position, then I would hope to see experience in application development and programming languages.”

Soft skills

Don’t make the mistake of thinking technical skills are all that matter. All of the technical know-how in the world won’t be enough if a candidate is a nightmare to work with. Employers want candidates with the soft skills needed to work effectively in an organization. Soft skills are qualities that are difficult to teach but are valuable to employers. These are some of the soft skills necessary for software developers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor:3

  • Judgment and decision-making
  • Complex problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Speaking
  • Active listening
  • Reading comprehension
  • Active learning
  • Monitoring

Your technical abilities will shine even brighter when they’re paired with soft skills like these, so make sure to highlight them on your computer science resume.

While it might not be feasible to include individual line items for each of these skills, it can help to have these on the top of your mind as you elaborate on your experiences. Did you work on a collaborative team to build a hobby app? That has the potential to highlight several useful soft skills. Even if you’re struggling to highlight these skills within your resume, having them on your mind can help when the time comes to interview and then you can elaborate further.


Hands-on experience is vital in the technology field. Internships and other work experiences can show employers that you have the ability to take your learning beyond a textbook and into the workplace.

“Tangible computer science-related work experience will give you a fantastic boost,” says Kraig Martin, commercial director at Storage Vault. “Internships within the industry, voluntary or paid, show employers that you are serious and passionate about the subject and that you’re actively trying to get your foot in the door with hands-on experience.”

Some hiring managers consider experience to be just as important as education. “Someone who has the necessary technical language and can demonstrate their experiences will stand out to us,” Bryner says.

Side projects

You might think your hobbies have no place on a resume, but side projects related to computer science can go a long way toward capturing a manager’s attention. “If you’ve done any extra computer science projects in your spare time, detached from your studies or internships, then you must include these to make your resume pop out,” Martin says.

Relevant projects could include participating in hackathons, working on open source projects or developing an app just for fun. “It doesn’t matter if the project resulted in a groundbreaking piece of code,” Martin adds. “It shows you are genuinely fascinated by the topic and you’re constantly striving to improve yourself, key traits they’ll be looking for in potential employees.”

Don’t underestimate the importance of side projects like these. They’re an easy way to show your passion to an employer and set yourself apart from the crowd.

Basic resume etiquette

Even the best candidates need to follow established procedures for writing a professional resume. That means carefully proofreading to avoid typos, tailoring your resume to the specific job you’re applying for and adhering to any formatting instructions listed in the job posting.

Common resume mistakes are easy to avoid with a little extra time. Taking care of these details gives your computer science resume an even better chance of being noticed.

A standout resume to kick off your career

Creating your standout computer science resume is easier than ever now that you have these expert tips to guide you. If you’re curious about which technology skills matter most in a computer science career, take a look at our article “The Crucial Computer Science Skills Employers Are Craving” to make sure you’re on the right track.

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [information accessed February 5, 2019] Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. Employment conditions in your area may vary. (analysis of 738,949 computer science jobs, Jan. 01, 2018 - Dec. 31, 2018).
3Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, [information accessed February 5, 2019]

About the author

Ashley Brooks

Ashley is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen University. She believes in the power of words and knowledge and enjoys using both to encourage others on their learning journeys

female writer

Related Content

Related Content

This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen University to support its educational programs. Rasmussen University may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit for a list of programs offered. External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen University does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

logo-accreditation-acen logo-accreditation-ccne chart-credential-laddering-associates-bachelors-masters 0 Credits 90 Credits 180 Credits 48 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE Start Here MASTER'S DEGREE PURSUERS End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE End Here MASTER'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-associates-bachelors 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 90 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 180 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-msn chart-credential-laddering-nursing-programs chart-credential-laddering-nursing DNP MSN RN to BSN LPN to RN Bridge Accelerated BSN Professional Nursing ADN Practical Nursing Diploma Pre-Licensure Post-Licensure icon-colored-outline-bank icon-colored-outline-certificate icon-colored-outline-circle-dollar-sign icon-colored-outline-folder-search icon-colored-outline-hand-heart icon-colored-outline-head-blocks icon-colored-outline-head-cog icon-colored-outline-head-heart icon-colored-outline-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-outline-hospital icon-colored-outline-lifelong-learning icon-colored-outline-light-bulb-analytics icon-colored-outline-location-pin icon-colored-outline-magnifying-glass icon-colored-outline-monitor-healthcare icon-colored-outline-monitor-paper-search icon-colored-outline-nurse-rays icon-colored-outline-padlock-shield icon-colored-outline-person-presenter-screen icon-colored-outline-scales ras-logo-flame ras-logo-horizontal ras-logo-stacked icon-colored-advance icon-colored-arrows-cross-curve icon-colored-briefcase-star icon-colored-build icon-colored-bulb-analytics icon-colored-certificate icon-colored-continual-development icon-colored-duo-chatbox icon-colored-folder-mortarboard icon-colored-forward-ribbon icon-colored-gears-clock icon-colored-globe-pen icon-colored-growth icon-colored-hand-bubble icon-colored-hand-stars icon-colored-hands-gear icon-colored-head-blocks icon-colored-head-cog icon-colored-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-hospital-building icon-colored-laptop-cbe-skyscraper icon-colored-laptop-checkmark icon-colored-laptop-webpage icon-colored-location-map icon-colored-location-pin icon-colored-monitor-paper-scan icon-colored-mortarboard-dollar icon-colored-national icon-colored-people-chat-bubbles icon-colored-person-cheer-star icon-colored-person-laptop-checkboxes icon-colored-person-screen-instructor icon-colored-person-whiteboard icon-colored-phone-chatbox icon-colored-police-light icon-colored-prep icon-colored-presenter icon-colored-regional icon-colored-save-time icon-colored-shirt-hat icon-colored-skyscraper icon-colored-state icon-colored-student-centered icon-colored-support icon-colored-world-experience icon-triangle-arrow-up-plant icon-triangle-calendar-pencil icon-triangle-clock-rotating-arrows icon-triangle-display-gears icon-triangle-hand-right-speech-bubble icon-triangle-laptop-coding-brackets icon-triangle-mortarboard icon-triangle-paper-ribbon icon-triangle-person-cheer-star icon-triangle-person-juggle icon-triangle-triple-people-chat-bubble icon-modality-campus icon-modality-field icon-modality-online icon-modality-residential icon-arrow icon-bank icon-camera icon-filter icon-general-chart icon-general-connect icon-general-degree icon-general-discuss icon-general-email icon-general-find icon-general-hat icon-general-heart icon-general-laptop-building icon-general-laptop icon-general-leader icon-general-map icon-general-money icon-general-paperwork icon-general-people icon-general-phone icon-general-speak-out icon-head-heart icon-info-circle icon-mail-forward icon-mglass icon-play-solid icon-quote-mark-left icon-quote-mark-right icon-scales icon-share-square-o icon-simple-chat icon-simple-desktop icon-simple-find icon-simple-hamburger icon-simple-phone icon-spinner icon-tag icon-testimonial-quotes icon-util-checkbox-white icon-util-checkbox icon-util-checked-white icon-util-checked icon-util-chevron-down icon-util-chevron-left icon-util-chevron-right icon-util-chevron-up icon-util-circle-arrow-down icon-util-circle-dot icon-util-language-switch icon-util-loading icon-util-open-window-link icon-util-pdf-link icon-util-refresh icon-util-x rebrand-arrows icon-social-facebook-colored icon-social-facebook-square-colored icon-social-facebook-square icon-social-facebook icon-social-google-plus-square icon-social-google-plus icon-social-instagram-colored icon-social-instagram icon-social-linkedin-square-colored icon-social-linkedin-square icon-social-linkedin icon-social-pinterest-p-colored icon-social-pinterest-p icon-social-twitter-colored icon-social-twitter-square icon-social-twitter icon-social-youtube-play-colored icon-social-youtube-play graduate-cap-star-coin hand-coin hand-heart nurse-stethoscope-rays card-send-smile person-yoga-pose suitcase-star