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Telastyn

Self Evaluation

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Recently in my job search, I've been faced with a number of self-evaluation questionnaires. "Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 in c++" sort of things. Ignoring the dubious value of such things, I'm curious as to peoples' opinions on what the levels actually are for something as nebulous as C++ or C#. I don't have much access to developers in real life, and am even less equipped than most to evaluate myself. Still, I'm being required to do it and am having a hard enough time with the search without shortchanging or overselling myself. Thoughts?

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Well, the fact that you consider that you are scarcely equipped to evaluate yourself is a sign that you are rather competent. I remember reading an article about how people rate themselves, and statistically, the less you were qualified, the more you over-estimated your abilities (if someone could tell me what article this is, I would be much obliged).

I realize this is not the most helpful of comments, but take it as you will.


jfl.

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Original post by jflanglois
Well, the fact that you consider that you are scarcely equipped to evaluate yourself is a sign that you are rather competent. I remember reading an article about how people rate themselves, and statistically, the less you were qualified, the more you over-estimated your abilities (if someone could tell me what article this is, I would be much obliged).

I realize this is not the most helpful of comments, but take it as you will.


jfl.


That makes sense, because when you are new, you learn loops, variables, strings, files and think you are doing good. Four years later, you’re trying to get your server app to write registry values, and consider yourself worse than you did back then.

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The best answer to that question is clearly to scribble a diatribe on the subject of the questions pointlessness in the margin.

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Original post by Telastyn
Still, I'm being required to do it and am having a hard enough time with the search without shortchanging or overselling myself. Thoughts?


This is the worst of it. What, in their mind, is a "10"? I've had similar experiences with class projects. Sometimes I'd show up with something I thought was half-assed and it obviously surpassed the instructor's expectations. Other times I'd show up with something I was quite proud of only to find I was at the bottom of the heap.

Is a 10 someone who knows and can apply the basics of C++, or is a 10 someone who is well-versed in the dark arts of template-metaprogramming?

I'd say I'm a 10 because I know enough C++ that I know where to find what I need when/if I need it. I'd say I'm a 5 because I know and can apply the basics (classes, loops, templates, etc.) intelligently but haven't poked into the language's darker corners. I'd say I'm a 1 because I haven't applied it to larger projects for extended periods of time.

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Original post by Jan Wassenberg
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I remember reading an article about how people rate themselves, and statistically, the less you were qualified, the more you over-estimated your abilities (if someone could tell me what article this is, I would be much obliged).

Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments


Ah yes, that's the one. Thanks!

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The best answer to that question is clearly to scribble a diatribe on the subject of the questions pointlessness in the margin.

Actually, no. This is a question that definitely yields insight into the applicant's skills and personality. It is not useful as a direct measure of his skill (due to the abovementioned self-inflation), but more rather when applied indirectly, together with other questions that give you an impression of actual skill.
If anyone calls themself a 10 in C++, they are either on the committee or full of it. If obviously not master-level skill and they answer 7-9, they don't know much of the dark corners/pitfalls and are overconfident. If they are quite competent and answer 5-7, they are probably rather good, humble, and cognizant of what "mastery" means.

Quote:
Is a 10 someone who knows and can apply the basics of C++, or is a 10 someone who is well-versed in the dark arts of template-metaprogramming?

IMO, since we're not grading exams here, a "10" is "can't get better than this". Bearing that in mind, here's an evaluation of my C skills.
I've used the language for .. 9 years, have read+understood the standard, seen and experienced just about all the pitfalls there are likely to be, and would call that a "9". ("10" would be people who wrote books on C, or been at it for a few years more).

Now with C++, the language is so damned complex that I'll bet just about no one fully understands all the dark corners (including the library). I've been at it for .. call it 7 years ( :O ), use templates in moderation, have studied metaprogramming but not seen a profitable use in production code, have only read parts of the draft standard, and would therefore call it a "6".

In general, when evaluating something like this, think about who would fit the higher levels.
10: C++ committee
9: book writers (some overlap with 10, of course)
7,8: those who've really used the dark corners of the library and templates

HTH+HAND

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Original post by Jan Wassenberg
Quote:
Is a 10 someone who knows and can apply the basics of C++, or is a 10 someone who is well-versed in the dark arts of template-metaprogramming?

IMO, since we're not grading exams here, a "10" is "can't get better than this". Bearing that in mind, here's an evaluation of my C skills.
I've used the language for .. 9 years, have read+understood the standard, seen and experienced just about all the pitfalls there are likely to be, and would call that a "9". ("10" would be people who wrote books on C, or been at it for a few years more).

[ snip ]

In general, when evaluating something like this, think about who would fit the higher levels.
10: C++ committee
9: book writers (some overlap with 10, of course)
7,8: those who've really used the dark corners of the library and templates


Is this assessment of the 1-10 scale common among interviewers? That was more my question. You started with an "IMO" so I don't think you were claiming this was anywhere near universal. I can imagine an interviewer thinking your 7/8 is a 10, but I don't know if that's at all common. When I went through saying I was a 10/5/1, I was saying I can see an interviewer judging my skills at those different levels.

It would seem that saying you're a 5/6 and then letting them be pleasantly surprised might be a good strategy (that is, if you can manage at least a 5/6 on most scales).

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