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

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Dian Fay

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.