How would you rate your dev skills

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I'm sure everyone here has had a preliminary phone interview. My question is how do you answer this question:

How would you rate yourself in x language on a scale from 1-10?

Recently, I was asked this question and I gave an answer of 7.5-8 out of 10. To me this translates that I can figure out the answer if I don't know it and can break down problems into manageable chunks.

What do you all think? How would you rate your skills in JavaScript, Python, etc?

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I'd honestly ask for a bit more context before answering it, since it's realistically dependent (for most people at least) on what they're trying to do in the language. I've seen too many cases of people saying "Oh, I'm great at XYZ thing!" when asked about it, but not really being good at what the person asking really needs that skill for.

When it comes to programming this gets even more important. You could be an expert at language X, but if they need you to use it to model partial differential equations and you don't have the background in mathematics to know how to work with PDE's, you're going to fall flat on your face the first day of the job.

For example, I've developed a reasonable understanding of JavaScript over the past 8 months, but I'd be mostly lost trying to use it for back-end development work since all I've done with it is front-end work (and technically Gulp files).

 

Exactly. I was trying to say it seems kind of arbitrary to rate yourself without knowing the context of their rating system.

 

I think the key before rating to yourself must be set the meaning of 0 and 10. Once this has been set, the interviewer and you play the same game and your rating will make sense for both. In other case, your evaluation will have a different meaning for the interviewer and you. As @austin S. Hemmelgarn said inbhis comment, being good at JavaScript could mean a front end skill, a back end skill or both. What's the interviewer figuring out?

 

I'm surprised people are still asking that type of question, as the Dunning-Kruger effect makes any answer fairly meaningless. Better to ask people the most challenging problems they have solved with a technology, which negates the effect of people not knowing what they don't know, or knowing so much they don't feel they know anything.

 

Yeah I always feel it's a bit strange to rate yourself because like you've said you don't know what you don't know. I was just wondering how other developers tackle abstract questions like these

 

I keep this StackExchange answer on skill levels bookmarked in Pocket for reference, though I always try to use words instead of numbers. Fundamentally, I agree with the majority of people on that thread that number ratings are meaningless, but that doesn't stop the fact that HR/interviewers like the metric :\

 

I completely agree that the number ratings are pretty meaningless. It was just strange for me because it came from a developer at the company I was interview for. I will however checkout that link, thanks!

 

development: 100/10
communication: 10/10
conjuration: 75/100
self-awareness: 3.5/10

Next question!

 

I like to say - the upper end of intermediate, crossing over to senior

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Alexander Garcia profile image
I consider myself a self-taught developer. I love Vue & React and have an affinity for JAMStacks (Gatsby & Nuxt). Currently, working with legacy code for the guvment @ Alpha Omega Integration