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Rattanak Chea
Rattanak Chea

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How do you rate your (a programming language) skill on a scale of 1 to 10?

How do you rate your javaScript skill? Give a number form 1-10.

Have you been asked this question in a screening interview or in-person interview?

For me, I don't really know how to answer this question. But I know that 9 or 10 might not be the best answer unless you know the language inside out. But I know that I have overcome some hurdles of becoming a better developer over the last few years. I find myself interested in learning how a library was built and building one myself, and digging deep into its code base.

How do you answer this question? Can you share your experience or your reflection of where you are?
What is the journey like for a person to become really good? For example, a creator of React, Redux, or Rails framework?

Top comments (16)

kepta profile image
Kushan Joshi • Edited

You don’t need to be a 10 point JavaScript to write a framework, similar to how having IQ 130 doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll become a billionaire. In short writing a successful framework doesn’t correlate with being a Javascript ninja.

I have read studies which talk about how much humans overestimate their skills. In my opinion it is safe to self evaluate and then subtract 1 to sound modest. The interviewer wants to basically know how much do you know that you don’t know, so make sure to back your score with explanation on what you need to score higher. You can even throw it back to them and ask how would your company make me reach an 8 or 9?

rattanakchea profile image
Rattanak Chea

Thanks for sharing your insightful observations. Just like most skills, practice and keep practicing will sharpen the skillset to the point of being able to design and implement a large complex system. Being open about what we don't know or need to learn is what many people are afraid to admit. But it can be seen as a strength as well.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Relative to the rest of my knowledge, I’d say a 7 or 8. Lots I don’t know or pay enough attention too, but feel generally pretty comfortable in the world.

6temes profile image

Relative to the rest of my knowledge

That's the way to answer this question.

weirdmayo profile image
Daniel Mayovsky

definitely can relate to that. I am not necessarily the most knowledgeable in JavaScript, but I would come to any task comfortable with JS.

rattanakchea profile image
Rattanak Chea

Being able to find the correct answer is more important than knowing a lot but not being to find the answer or wrong one.

dmfay profile image
Dian Fay • Edited

Candidate self-ratings are basically garbage anyway (for a host of reasons, not least because of gender differences -- women tend to err on the low side and men on the high side), but a ten-point scale is uselessly fine-grained; if someone asked me to do that in an interview, my gut instinct would be that the tech team isn't in the driver's seat in the hiring process. I wouldn't necessarily disqualify working at a company just because they tried it, but it's a point against them.

If you're inclined to answer the question, don't treat it as a straight numerical scale. It's much more akin to the Wine Advocate scoring system:

96–100 – Extraordinary
90–95 – Outstanding
80–89 – Barely above average to very good
70–79 – Average
60–69 – Below average
50–59 – Unacceptable

At 1, you haven't heard of whatever they're talking about. At 3, you vaguely remember having read a blog post about it once upon a time. At 5, you've never used it but can accurately say what it is and does. At 6, you're basically competent. At 10, you wrote it.

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

Everyone hates these sort of questions. The standard trick is going to be to say "8" or so, because anything over that sounds like you've got a PhD from Dunning-Kruger university, and anything below it is going to make you sound like you're actually terrible because you'd obviously say the highest number you thought you could get away with.

Wait till I get going

I'm decent enough with javascript but I haven't kept up with the newer language additions, let alone the newer frameworks. I'd go with something like 4 or 5, and expect to get questioned about why I was applying for a job when I thought my skill was that poor.

I'd explain how I was aware of the things I didn't currently know, how I was good at picking things up, how I knew a lot of the same concepts from other languages I used... and maybe how I thought that statistic where 70% of people think that they're above average drivers was worth mentioning before we move on to those lovely danish pastries you've got over there and can I get a refill on my coffee please?

pentool profile image

rattanakchea profile image
Rattanak Chea

Not bad. :-p

tux0r profile image


rattanakchea profile image
Rattanak Chea


rrampage profile image
Raunak Ramakrishnan
vikctar profile image

My God!! I have just been asked this same question on email and it has totally wrecked me!! Anyways, thanks for putting this up, the responses are great. Whatever answer I am going to give will be more informed.

bluebird1 profile image

Some personal opinions. I javascript is 3.
I think >5 is reserved for real experts. Learn about the JavaScript engine and browser principles. 3 is able to work normally.
The next advancement may be to contribute some large open source projects (their code and specifications are good) or to maintain a project of their own. (Unfortunately I haven't done it yet)

peteraba profile image
Peter Aba • Edited

There's also a few ways to look at this. Many-many years ago I tried to keep a very compelling profile on a freelancer job board which had tons of users and had some tests as well. A competed the PHP test and the thing told me I'm top 2%. So according to that I was a 10 and I guess I was pretty good at it. But what is a 10? I never wrote one line of C for the PHP project at the time. I was "just" very familiar with the "API". So if you had me compared against a core contributor or hired me to create a new module, I would have faired pretty badly. What should have been my real score? 3? 6? 7? I don't know.