The Value of Experience

I was reading a blog post by my colleague Doug Finke in reference to a “programmer competency matrix” by Sijin Joseph. I took a look at the matrix and it seemed like a set of pretty reasonable benchmarks for a programmer’s growth. My only reservation with the chart was that they claim that you need a certain number of years experience under your belt to be a certain grade of programmer. Here’s Sijin’s criteria:

  • Level 0: 1 year
  • Level 1: 2-5 years
  • Level 2: 6-9 years
  • Level 3: 10+ years

To be perfectly honest, I find the entire idea reprehensible. According to this matrix, nobody could be considered an “expert” programmer in C#, since the language has only been around since 2001. I’m not breaking the news to Anders. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of a “gotcha” exception, but I think the entire idea can’t hold water. The problem with the assertion is that it assumes that all years are equal in quality. There’s no comparison between a year in a challenging company on the cutting edge of your technology field working with the leaders in industry and a year making small changes to an enterprise CMS. No offense to the latter group, but it’s just the ugly truth. Continue reading “The Value of Experience”