How Do You Quantify A Developers Experience ?

I’ve just been reading the final chapters of code complete and it inspired me with a few bits of food for thought, so I thought I would share a few of them. I’ve recently swapped jobs and I had to go through the job hunt debacle and one of the points made in ‘Code Complete’ really hit home with some of the questions I was being asked when I was applying for positions. Every job spec that I have read have all asked for a base amount of experience. Some might be two years, some might be five and some might be more, but, how do you quantify a year worth of experience ?

When I speak to some of my peers I think it’s fair to say a lot of developers do not spend much time trying to improve their skills outside of the workplace. A lot of developers do not spend any time doing any ‘deliberate practice‘ to get better and they just rely on their day-to-day experience to get better. To quote the book ‘if you work for 10 years, do you have 10 years of experience or do you get 1 year of experience 10 times?’

Just because someone might have ten years of experience it does not automatically make that person a better developer with less years of experience.  In that ten years if that person has just done a similar tasks over and over, or, if they kept their skill set up to date then you can not count a years worth of their experience to someone who has.  If anyone wants to become an expert in anything you constantly need to push your comfort zone, try new techniques or experiment with different approaches.