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  1. A has many years of experience in material design and production technology.
  2. A has many years of experience with material design and production technology

I have seen both 'with' and 'in' followed by 'experience". If I want to convery the meaning a company or a person has worked in the areas of material design and production technology for many years and is experienced, which preposition should I choose?

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17

Think of the example of a farmer. He works IN a field WITH a plough.

Most areas of work are likewise referred to as "fields". So when you are speaking about your "field" of work, you would say you have experience in it.

However, both can be very useful when writing a CV/resume or a job application. For example, let's say that you were applying for a job in the field of ICT and you wanted to demonstrate your experience. If you had already worked in that field or similar, you would want to detail that. But maybe you have worked in an unrelated field (say, general administration) and that role contained an element of ICT that gave you relevant experience. You couldn't legitimately claim you had worked in ICT but you could show that you have some transferrable skills by detailing the things you worked with.

For example:

I have 3 years' experience working in an ICT technical role.

or

I have 3 year's experience working with computers.

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  • 4
    If the farmer has that much experience, he's probably outstanding in his field. (sorry, please excuse the pun. It was too irresistable)
    – Spudley
    Oct 1 '18 at 13:31
  • @Spudley I would think that a farmer with a lot of experience would be standing in their field. Oct 1 '18 at 16:49
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In my opinion, in could be used when you are referring to a topic or a field of study, e.g. "experience in web design, experience in robotics". and with sounds more natural for me if used with a tool or concrete technology, e.g. "Experience with CCS, javascript, Experience with sensors".

Summarizing, I think in could be used when the experience was gained by being exposed or being involved in a field, while with could be used for experience gained by using something.

This is what I understand as a non-native English speaker.

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  • Experience in software development.

    (ie the field you have experience in)

  • Experience with Java, Spring and Netbeans.

    (ie the specific tools, products, etc that you've used while gaining that experience)

There is a fairly clear distinction in most cases. But that said, the distinction is also subtle enough that it is likely to go unnoticed if you get it wrong.

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