# C++ Skill Level??

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Being new to this field I find it interesting whenever I see the job requirements such as ..

"Strong C++ programming ability"  or "Solid knowledge and experience using C++" or "Solid C/C++ programming skills"

How does one really know how to determine their own skill set? More importantly, how does one know what the potential employer means when they use the word "strong"?

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What do you lose by applying for a job?

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Not a thing, but wouldn't make more sense to apply for a position I know I qualify for rather than guessing at it?

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36 minutes ago, Tarrasque said:

Not a thing, but wouldn't make more sense to apply for a position I know I qualify for rather than guessing at it?

Not really. You can't read their minds. Why not err on the side of applying?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Tarrasque said:

Being new to this field I find it interesting whenever I see the job requirements such as ..

"Strong C++ programming ability"  or "Solid knowledge and experience using C++" or "Solid C/C++ programming skills"

How does one really know how to determine their own skill set? More importantly, how does one know what the potential employer means when they use the word "strong"?

I am guessing new to programming in general? I found context of the wider job ad could give a rough idea.

If it is more a junior team role, can maybe get away with not knowing a few things like how to write some advanced macro or template tricks, but they still generally do really want you to already know the main languages the job uses. They don't want to spend time (and thus money) on teaching basic programming for a job almost exclusively about programming. If they give you some existing code and you come back saying "I don't really understand what it does because it has this strange template word and what is [&] about and what is T::iterator" that is not particularly helpful.

In my experience, at a fairly early point companies expected me to just know basically everything about the language. Having to look up some specific case to check something is OK, reference resources are important, but you need to know what you are looking for. Especially if you will be working on something without direct oversight. Potential employers then focused almost entirely on more conceptual things, like algorithms, multi threading, network protocols, UI design, etc.

EDIT: This is of course my experience. As some context on that, at the companies I worked for, even for regular "Software Developer" type roles, not senior, lead, or anything like that, they had a lot of failed candidates each hiring round taking at least a couple of months (especially in web roles as it turns out, because people didn't seem to know HTML/JS/CSS themselves only what "Wordpress" or such does), so those companies may have been stricter than average, which comes back to nothing much to lose by applying and talking to these companies, especially if you have lots of free time (e.g. not currently working).

Edited by SyncViews

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2 hours ago, Tarrasque said:

How does one really know how to determine their own skill set? More importantly, how does one know what the potential employer means when they use the word "strong"?

You determine your strengths and weaknesses by having experience and exposure to other people for comparison. If you have minimal skill you cannot accurately assess yourself.  If you have extended skills you need to be careful about the context, to ensure you're comparing against the correct group.

Context is also critical, since "strong" is comparing against others for a purpose.

Looking for a worker with a "strong c++ skill set" in an entry-level job making game, the context could be comparing with entry level workers who may only have a single semester of c++, with the rest of their schooling using Java, JS, and Python.

Looking for a worker with a "strong c++ skill set" for a mid-career programmer writing compilers for a compiler vendor, in that context they could be comparing with experienced developers who have studied each version of the language standards and know the inner workings of multiple compiler suites.

As others have said, if the job interests you and you think you can do the described work, you should investigate further and apply.

If you are a mis-match for the job there are several steps in the interview process that provide a good filter.  They won't call you back if they aren't interested. If they are interested you'll have a phone interview where you can discuss expectations for daily work, and likely have a technical interview where they'll dig deeper into your technical skill set and experience.  If either you or they decide the job is a bad fit, the process is easy to abort.

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15 hours ago, Irusan, son of Arusan said:

What do you lose by applying for a job?

This is why every hiring manager hates their job

(not because you may apply for a job for which you may not be good enough, but because a bunch of people who have no business applying to that job ever will also apply for it, and then the hiring manager has to filter through them)

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24 minutes ago, 1024 said:

This is why every hiring manager hates their job

Indeed so. From the point of view of the hirer it's a right pain; but from the point of view of a candidate? Don't ask; don't get!

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Yes, new the coding as a potential career. Been quite the hobbyist though but always felt I needed the confidence of a degree before making a go of it as a profession.

I wanted to thank everyone for their feed back so far. It has helped me become more confident in my ability to apply to some of the positions out there with more confidence and has pointed out some areas I need to improve on along the way.

10 minutes ago, Irusan, son of Arusan said:

Indeed so. From the point of view of the hirer it's a right pain; but from the point of view of a candidate? Don't ask; don't get!

I know this lesson all to well. Missed a few opportunities in my life because I never let them know I was there an interested. So I agree with you that it is very important to apply so they see your name as a possible candidate, but I also want to make sure I can at least tread water in an interview.

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17 hours ago, Tarrasque said:

but wouldn't make more sense to apply for a position I know I qualify for rather than guessing at it?

Since you are unsure if you qualify, you don't qualify. But apply anyway.

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