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#1 bobsmith76  Icon User is offline

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metrics to determine how good a coder you are

Posted 25 May 2017 - 08:30 AM

Since I've never worked for a company and have really only discussed computer programming with maybe 2 other people, I have a real tough time trying to figure out how good of a coder I am. If I knew my I were in the bottom 25% then I might work harder to improve myself. However, it's already obvious to me that I do need to work harder and learn more about coding. Still, I would like to try to find out what my rank is. I read on another forum whose name I won't mention since the admins here might not like that the best computer programmers are 25 times more productive than the worse. I don't know how he knows that but I would not be surprised if it were true. In any case, the idea of measuring productivity by lines written just doesn't work. But if there were known algorithms and if it were known how long it takes coders to build them, then that might be one way to measure to measure a coders skill. Are there such algorithms? And if so where do I find them?

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#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: metrics to determine how good a coder you are

Posted 25 May 2017 - 08:46 AM

.. there is no 'rank'. I mean, sure, you can join a site like 'top coder' and see about doing challenges, but this isn't an RPG so there's no "*poof* you leveled up" moment.

In all honesty it is more intrinsic measurements.. how often do you come to a problem and say 'how do I even start this?!' and stop there? How well are you able to plan your design first then code? How well do you debug yours, or others, code? How well do you break problems down into manageable parts? Have you actually completed a project end to end? etc.
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#3 bobsmith76  Icon User is offline

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Re: metrics to determine how good a coder you are

Posted 25 May 2017 - 09:13 AM

View Postmodi123_1, on 25 May 2017 - 08:46 AM, said:

.. there is no 'rank'.


If there is no rank, then why aren't all coders paid the same wage?
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#4 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: metrics to determine how good a coder you are

Posted 25 May 2017 - 09:16 AM

A definable 'rank' does not mean skills are better or worse. There is no hard set categories.
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#5 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: metrics to determine how good a coder you are

Posted 25 May 2017 - 10:14 AM

View Postbobsmith76, on 25 May 2017 - 11:13 AM, said:

If there is no rank, then why aren't all coders paid the same wage?


Apologies, but this is about the most... nm. Why aren't architects, actors, athletes, accountants, analysts, astrophysicists, etc, paid the same?

How well someone preforms in a given profession is a multi phase assessment with a myriad of nuance and influenced by ineffable qualities. You could be the greatest coder in the world, but so many other factors, like assessing the problem, addressing needs, anticipating needs, meeting deadlines, communicating with others, etc, come into play, that you could still be the least employable.

Humans invent metrics so they can asses effectiveness. But, in the end, those metrics are just hopeful guesses. If such voodoo actually worked, employers would have standardized a system for it by now.

I'm reminded of the infamous KLOC:

Quote

In IBM there's a religion in software that says you have to count K-LOCs, and a K-LOC is a thousand lines of code. How big a project is it? Oh, it's sort of a 10K-LOC project. This is a 20K-LOCer. And this is 50K-LOCs. And IBM wanted to sort of make it the religion about how we got paid.
-- Steve Ballmer
-- https://en.wikipedia...e_lines_of_code


That's one of the largest companies in the world, at the time, trying to define a metric for quality. It was a miserable failure.

This post has been edited by baavgai: 25 May 2017 - 10:14 AM

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#6 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: metrics to determine how good a coder you are

Posted 25 May 2017 - 12:12 PM

View Postmodi123_1, on 25 May 2017 - 10:46 AM, said:

this isn't an RPG so there's no "*poof* you leveled up" moment.


I disagree. There's no external challenges to pass, true, but there are certainly moments where you realize that you've leveled up. The trick is recognizing them.

Here's a few that you might consider:
  • when you realize that the problem you just solved was one that a year ago you wouldn't have even been able to start on.
  • when you realize that you're explaining something to someone and you don't remember learning it yourself - this is a sign that you're starting to really get the hang of how to think like a programmer.
  • when you write some code and you realize "there's a bug in here, I wonder what it is" - and then you look for it and you find it


I'm sure there are plenty more that I could think of, but you get the pattern - it's about seeing the past the lines of code, and seeing the actual logic, it's about thinking about the whole thing and not just the parts. I think that part of the level-up is the recognition itself - it's not just about the "aha" moment, it's about realizing that this "aha" moment is significant.

A friend of mine puts it well: he talks about climbing a mountain, and looking up and seeing how much mountain there is ahead of you, and then once in a while remembering to turn around and look back and see how much mountain is now behind you. If you don't do that stop and look once in a while, you're not likely to realize just how far you've come.
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#7 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: metrics to determine how good a coder you are

Posted 25 May 2017 - 12:26 PM

View Postbobsmith76, on 25 May 2017 - 11:13 AM, said:

If there is no rank, then why aren't all coders paid the same wage?


Many companies try to come up with metrics for what programmers should be paid. Meanwhile, in the real world, programmers start at a salary calculated by "what we think this role is basically worth" scaled by a multiplier which can be called "how badly we want this particular programmer in this role". From there, their salary increases based on various factors which boil down to "how hard would it be to replace this particular programmer in this role with some off-the-shelf new hire?". This a gross oversimplification, of course, but if you consider programmer salary in this light, and you act with good intention*, you will find that you make good money.

*ie, don't try to game the system. For example, people sometimes try to be "the indispensable person" by owning all of the local domain knowledge about some area. This only works in the short term.
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#8 jjl  Icon User is offline

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Re: metrics to determine how good a coder you are

Posted 26 May 2017 - 02:48 PM

I will say their is no universal rank, however their are ranks (or levels of competency) in particular areas of programming).

Take a look at this competence matrix, it defines skill levels based on programming topics.
http://sijinjoseph.c...petency-matrix/

If you want to "increase your rank", then increase you competency in a particular field. I have ran into programmers that have been experts in just about every area of computer science, I consider those people "programming gods"

This post has been edited by jjl: 26 May 2017 - 02:50 PM

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