aspose file tools*
The moose likes Jobs Discussion and the fly likes what should i answer for: What do you rate yourself in java Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login


Win a copy of Java 8 in Action this week in the Java 8 forum!
JavaRanch » Java Forums » Careers » Jobs Discussion
Bookmark "what should i answer for: What do you rate yourself in java" Watch "what should i answer for: What do you rate yourself in java" New topic
Author

what should i answer for: What do you rate yourself in java

vamsi naki
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 18, 2011
Posts: 46
I got this question in two interviews :What do you rate yourself in java .i gave myself 5 out of 10 ,in one of the interviews i got selected in the other the guy got a bit -ve ,showed some disappointment when i rated myself low,i didnt get selected for that interview.I know 5 is less but i cant give myself a 9 or 10.I personally feel there is still lots to learn .At max i can give myself a 6 or 7 that too being too liberal.I know the basics ,i did my OCJP certification but that doesnt mean i give myself a high rating.I tell the above reason to the interviewers and both times the reaction were completely different.
Tim Cooke
Rancher

Joined: Mar 28, 2008
Posts: 531
    
  23

These sorts of "Rate your skills in x on a scale of 1 to 10?" interview questions are not the best in my opinion. The flaw in the question is that the 1 to 10 scale has no context. What does a "1" mean? What does a "10" mean? How do I represent my current skills as a meaningless number on some scale I don't understand? Near impossible right?

Another reason this type of question is ineffective is because the better your skills and understanding are for a subject, the more you recognise that there are things you don't know about the subject. This leads a skilled practitioner, like yourself I'm guessing, to rate yourself modestly because you know there's a load of stuff about Java you don't know that you'd imagine lives in the 8, 9, 10 out of 10 territory. The reverse is also true where a novice may believe he knows everything and will rate himself very highly on the scale. This is called "second-order incompetence" or "unskilled and unaware of it". From an interviewer's point of view he now has two guys, one rates himself 5/10 the other 9/10. Which one is better? Wrong.

So how can we tackle this? Well perhaps we, as interviewees, could answer this question a different way. In a way that has meaningful context. As a suggestion we could use the "Dreyfus Model" which defines the stages we must pass through on our journey from Novice to Expert.

  • Novice
  • Advanced Beginner
  • Competent
  • Proficient
  • Expert

  • A description of each stage can be found in a sample chapter (http://media.pragprog.com/titles/ahptl/chap2.pdf) of "Pragmatic Thinking & Learning" one of The Pragmatic Programmers series book. Well worth a read. Each level has particular meaning and defines attributes that we can measure against our own skills. Most importantly, it provides the context we need to be able to better represent ourselves to an interviewer.

    Good luck with the interviews.
    Tim


    Tim Driven Development
    Campbell Ritchie
    Sheriff

    Joined: Oct 13, 2005
    Posts: 36599
        
      16
    Should you tell them what you know and how much experience you have, and then say 7 out of 10 regardless?
    Deepak Bala
    Bartender

    Joined: Feb 24, 2006
    Posts: 6657
        
        5

    From an interviewer's point of view he now has two guys, one rates himself 5/10 the other 9/10. Which one is better?


    Neither at the point the question is answered. The point of the question is to find the confidence level a developer has in subject X. Like you mentioned it is to determine scenarios like "unskilled and unaware" | "skilled and modest" etc. It is subjective even if you replace the numbers with the Novice -> Expert model.

    Should you tell them what you know and how much experience you have, and then say 7 out of 10 regardless?


    This is a safe bet IMHO.


    SCJP 6 articles - SCJP 5/6 mock exams - More SCJP Mocks
    Maneesh Godbole
    Saloon Keeper

    Joined: Jul 26, 2007
    Posts: 9995
        
        7

    Modesty is one of the "virtues" I never understood, especially in the corporate world. If I am good at something, it makes a lot of sense to advertise it. After all the employer is looking to hire someone who is good at 'x'
    And the fun part after saying 'I am very good at 'X' or rating myself 9/10 at 'X' is that I will be evaluated each and every time against this good or 9 and that keeps me on my toes.


    [How to ask questions] [Donate a pint, save a life!] [Onff-turn it on!]
    Campbell Ritchie
    Sheriff

    Joined: Oct 13, 2005
    Posts: 36599
        
      16
    Modesty is a virtue as long as it is not false modesty. It does not consist in rating yourself too highly, nor higher than somebody else whom you don't know. It also does not consist in rating yourself as less competent that you really are, which is false modesty.
    As you imply, Maneesh, an interview is not real life; it is a game whose rules require you to blow your own trumpet.
    Jan de Boer
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Dec 10, 2010
    Posts: 309
    Who was asking you this? The answer you give might depend on it.

    I know HR people are annoyed when you tell them you had really high scores on tests or exams. They think social skill are more important anyway. They will even think if you tell them you had really high scores, that you probably do not have social skills, because: how otherwise can such a intelligent person still be out of a job. Nevertheless if you give yourself a really low mark, then they will say you do not have confidence in yourself. I would say I am average, but I can learn quick on the job.

    If a technical guy asked, I would just tell him my experience and different scores on my tests. A technical guy also knows what you are talking about.

    vamsi naki
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: May 18, 2011
    Posts: 46
    Thank you all for your advice ,i guess i will stick to 7 and give a short explanation along with my experience .
    Monica. Shiralkar
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Jul 07, 2012
    Posts: 541
    When I am asked I prefer to say a lower rating. Because I think higher rating is deserved by people who did great deeds in java be is some innovation.Just doing normal service industry development work and saying I rate my self well in java is not fair. People who have done great deeds in java or some innovation etc deserve to say so.
    Ulf Dittmer
    Marshal

    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 39578
        
      27
    Tim Cooke wrote:These sorts of "Rate your skills in x on a scale of 1 to 10?" interview questions are not the best in my opinion. The flaw in the question is that the 1 to 10 scale has no context. What does a "1" mean? What does a "10" mean?

    In my experience this question is always accompanied by an explanation of what 1 means, and what 10 means (otherwise I would agree that it's useless). It gives the interviewer a reference point so s/he knows where to begin and how to conduct the interview. So my advice is to be as honest as possible, since the interviewer will find out anyway, and it will not reflect well on the interviewee if the given number is blatantly off.


    Ping & DNS - updated with new look and Ping home screen widget
    fred rosenberger
    lowercase baba
    Bartender

    Joined: Oct 02, 2003
    Posts: 10929
        
      12

    The math guy in me still thinks that even with an explanation of what 1 and 10 mean, you still can't answer. Is it a linear scale? logarithmic? asymptotic? Is the jump from 3 to 4 expected to take as much effort as the jump from 9 to 10, or should 9->10 take more? Can 10 ever REALLY be reached, since pretty much everyone can still learn more and improve?


    There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
    Ulf Dittmer
    Marshal

    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 39578
        
      27
    All legitimate questions that the interviewer will be happy to answer. (If these were actual questions -and not rhetorical ones- then in my experience the interviewer always meant "linear". And 10 never meant "there's nothing left to learn", because that is indeed unlikely. More like "I wrote a book about it".)

    Going by my experience, this question can be useful, and interviewees didn't struggle nearly as much with it as this discussion would make it appear.
    Bear Bibeault
    Author and ninkuma
    Marshal

    Joined: Jan 10, 2002
    Posts: 60082
        
      65

    It's a subjective question: after all, what I think is a "7" may not be what other people think a "7" means. But I sometimes ask this in an interview just to get a sense for where to start digging in.

    No one is ever "penalized" for guessing a number that doesn't match what I think it means.


    [Asking smart questions] [Bear's FrontMan] [About Bear] [Books by Bear]
    Monica. Shiralkar
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Jul 07, 2012
    Posts: 541
    If a person answers by saying he is 9/10. Then what about the people who created java, people who create frameworks like struts,spring,people who created servers:tomcat,Jboss.Should such people rate themselves 11/10 then? If someone says I am 8/10 just because I am good in java concepts and I am good in doing normal service industry development work then I dont think he should rate himself as high as what people doing innovation should.I think its unfair then.
    Bear Bibeault
    Author and ninkuma
    Marshal

    Joined: Jan 10, 2002
    Posts: 60082
        
      65

    Monica. Shiralkar wrote:I think its unfair then.

    I don't get where you are coming from. What's unfair? Just because someone rates themselves highly doesn't mean anyone is going to take them at their word without further investigation.
    Arun Giridhar
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Mar 10, 2012
    Posts: 142

    One of the reason i don't like some interviews is they hardly ask any brain teaser question or Algorithmic Questions [Java Arena] .


    Join IRC freenode ##javaee channel.
    Deepak Bala
    Bartender

    Joined: Feb 24, 2006
    Posts: 6657
        
        5

    One of the reason i don't like some interviews is they hardly ask any brain teaser question or Algorithmic Questions


    I disagree that the quality of an interview is directly proportional to the number of brain teasers / algorithmic questions asked.
    Arun Giridhar
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Mar 10, 2012
    Posts: 142

    Deepak Bala wrote:
    I disagree that the quality of an interview is directly proportional to the number of brain teasers / algorithmic questions asked.


    Ulf Dittmer
    Marshal

    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 39578
        
      27
    I'd go a step further: brain teasers are quite counterproductive to do in an interview. Having *any* of those is a sign of an inexperienced interviewer IMO.
    Arun Giridhar
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Mar 10, 2012
    Posts: 142

    Ulf Dittmer wrote:I'd go a step further: brain teasers are quite counterproductive to do in an interview. Having *any* of those is a sign of an inexperienced interviewer IMO.


    I don't know where you from but brain teasers questions are normal at least they may ask how will you solve n-Rook , n-Queen or sudoku problem . I don't say it as inexperienced interviewer.
    Ulf Dittmer
    Marshal

    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 39578
        
      27
    Those are not what I would call brain teasers. They just require you to come up with an algorithm (which is pretty easy for a brute force approach). They don't need special insight, or lateral thinking - that's what makes a brain teaser IMO.
    Bear Bibeault
    Author and ninkuma
    Marshal

    Joined: Jan 10, 2002
    Posts: 60082
        
      65

    I've made my opinion on brain teasers known in other topics: worthless. I won't ask them, and I refuse to answer them.
    Paul Clapham
    Bartender

    Joined: Oct 14, 2005
    Posts: 18167
        
        8

    Fortunately I've never had to answer (or ask) this question. But as I see it, it's a combination of "How good are you at Java" and "How good are you at self-promotion". Both of those questions provide useful information about traits which may or may not be relevant to the position being interviewed for. Presumably the interviewer would also be asking other questions which might clarify which of the two underlying questions was being answered by the candidate.
    Arun Giridhar
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Mar 10, 2012
    Posts: 142

    Ulf Dittmer wrote:Those are not what I would call brain teasers. They just require you to come up with an algorithm (which is pretty easy for a brute force approach). They don't need special insight, or lateral thinking - that's what makes a brain teaser IMO.


    Yes , i said at least
    Monica. Shiralkar
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Jul 07, 2012
    Posts: 541
    I just wanted to share my opinion. I have a lot of respect for people who did great deeds in java :the people who created java, people who create frameworks like struts,spring,people who created servers:tomcat,Jboss. I consider such people always very much higher than who do normal service industry development work.

    Just because someone rates themselves highly doesn't mean anyone is going to take them at their word without further investigation.



    I got the answer from this.

    Myke Enriq
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Feb 13, 2012
    Posts: 102
    Answer 9 out of 10 , maybe 10 out of 10.

    Think about it logically , it is a job interview. How long could it take , a couple of hours , 3 or 4 hours max.

    What can you test of someone's knowledge in a mere 4 hours ? Not nearly enough.

    Secondly , if you know java at a decent level there probably are a lot java questions you can ask your interviewers that they will not know the response to.

    So this self grading question is very important , and they will take your word for it.
    Bear Bibeault
    Author and ninkuma
    Marshal

    Joined: Jan 10, 2002
    Posts: 60082
        
      65

    Myke Enriq wrote:So this self grading question is very important , and they will take your word for it.

    No, they will not. At least no one competent that I know.

    Any fool that hires someone because they believe a self-rating deserves what they get.
    Tim Cooke
    Rancher

    Joined: Mar 28, 2008
    Posts: 531
        
      23

    The fact that this discussion has been going on for over 6 weeks now tells us that there is no definitively right answer to this question. It's a fine balance of effectively promoting your skills but not appearing too cocky about it.

    From an interviewer point of view, I believe the best way to assess someones ability in writing Java code is to get them to write some Java code. It's an underused interview technique, at least where I live, but is by far the best way to find out if a person is actually any good. There is often some considerable disparity between what someone says they're good at in a spoken interview stage and the quality of the code produced during a technical task interview stage.
    Monica. Shiralkar
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Jul 07, 2012
    Posts: 541
    I believe the best way to assess someones ability in writing Java code is to get them to write some Java code. It's an underused interview technique, at least where I live, but is by far the best way to find out if a person is actually any good.


    I have a question here. Suppose on being asked this question a candidate starts writing the code explains the algorithm-logic he will use for this but forgets some of the accurate syntax.Is it acceptable?

    thanks
    Jeanne Boyarsky
    internet detective
    Marshal

    Joined: May 26, 2003
    Posts: 29287
        
    140

    Tim: Well said!

    Monica: Like many things, "it depends." If a candidate forgets how to write a for loop, that's not good. But even then, it may be ok if the candidate quickly recovers. A couple mistakes may be nervousness. Or the candidate has worked with a number of languages. But ultimately, I'm much more forgiving of forgetting APIs than core syntax. It also depend on how much experience the person has. If he/she claims 7 years of Java experience with no other languages and forgets the basics, that can be problematic.


    [Blog] [JavaRanch FAQ] [How To Ask Questions The Smart Way] [Book Promos]
    Blogging on Certs: SCEA Part 1, Part 2 & 3, Core Spring 3, OCAJP, OCPJP beta, TOGAF part 1 and part 2
    Tim Cooke
    Rancher

    Joined: Mar 28, 2008
    Posts: 531
        
      23

    forgets some of the accurate syntax.Is it acceptable?

    If by this do you mean is it ok to submit code that does not compile then no, that is not acceptable. I would suggest that any candidate being asked to do this should be provided with the normal tools they would have available in their normal development environment. So give them Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ, VIM, or whatever IDE they use. Give them access to the internet for double checking the accurate syntax. You wouldn't expect a car mechanic to be able to change a gearbox with his or her bare hands. Mechanics need their physical tools to be effective. Software Engineers need their technical tools.

    Jeanne: Thank you
    Jeanne Boyarsky
    internet detective
    Marshal

    Joined: May 26, 2003
    Posts: 29287
        
    140

    Tim Cooke wrote:I would suggest that any candidate being asked to do this should be provided with the normal tools they would have available in their normal development environment. So give them Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ, VIM, or whatever IDE they use. Give them access to the internet for double checking the accurate syntax.

    I agree. If given tools, there is no excuse for code that doesn't compile. My answer above pertained to if the candidate is asked to code on paper/whiteboard.
    Tim Cooke
    Rancher

    Joined: Mar 28, 2008
    Posts: 531
        
      23

    Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:My answer above pertained to if the candidate is asked to code on paper/whiteboard.

    Yes I figured that. Writing code on paper for a job interview is zero fun.
    Monica. Shiralkar
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Jul 07, 2012
    Posts: 541
    If Eclipse and internet access is there and candidate does not give Working Code then I do not think the candidate deserves to be selected. However I was asking for the case in which just on paper one is asked to write code. In that if one forgets say a for loop syntax thats intolerable but if someone some specific syntaxt (e.g he is confused between what is the corresponding syntax in struts 1 but remembers that in struts 2 and tells what difference would be there in struts 1 and 2 in respect to question asked).


    thanks all.
    Ulf Dittmer
    Marshal

    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 39578
        
      27
    Monica. Shiralkar wrote:If Eclipse and internet access is there and candidate does not give Working Code then I do not think the candidate deserves to be selected.

    That's assuming that the candidate claimed Eclipse experience, of course. There are other IDEs out there.
    Hussein Baghdadi
    clojure forum advocate
    Bartender

    Joined: Nov 08, 2003
    Posts: 3476

    Monica. Shiralkar wrote:If a person answers by saying he is 9/10. Then what about the people who created java, people who create frameworks like struts,spring,people who created servers:tomcat,Jboss.Should such people rate themselves 11/10 then? If someone says I am 8/10 just because I am good in java concepts and I am good in doing normal service industry development work then I dont think he should rate himself as high as what people doing innovation should.I think its unfair then.


    Struts isn't a complicated piece of software to create.

    Well people how created Java programming language, certainly the scale of 1 --> 10 doesn't apply on them. Those guys are experts in their domain and their impact on the industry is obvious. (Gosling, Bracha, Steele ..)
    Hussein Baghdadi
    clojure forum advocate
    Bartender

    Joined: Nov 08, 2003
    Posts: 3476

    One of the famous American software companies employs "Pair Programming" in their interviews.
    The candidate will works with one of theirs developers on real software that they are/were building. This lasts for six hours if I'm not wrong.

    This is really convenient and useful. It will help the candidate to calm down (because as you know, interviews are a stressful experience to the most of people) and brings the best out of him/her. And it is certainly a precise measuring tool for the employer. It will help the employer to crystalized a clear idea of what this candidate is made of.

    One negative point is that it consumes time. So it is better to do this "PP" session only with "right" candidates.
    Jeanne Boyarsky
    internet detective
    Marshal

    Joined: May 26, 2003
    Posts: 29287
        
    140

    Monica,
    Struts 1 is APIs, not what most people would call syntax.
    Monica. Shiralkar
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Jul 07, 2012
    Posts: 541
    Actually I mean the syntax used in struts 1 and syntax used in Struts 2. E.g syntax used in struts.xml (Tags) are different. Without internet access if one is made to right that in paper, one might be able to tell what all comes there but might not remember syntax for each and every tag and for each version.
    Bear Bibeault
    Author and ninkuma
    Marshal

    Joined: Jan 10, 2002
    Posts: 60082
        
      65

    I'll go down in the column that says that making people code on paper is ridiculous.
     
    I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
     
    subject: what should i answer for: What do you rate yourself in java
     
    Similar Threads
    where do all java jobs go?
    Interview Experiences
    self-taught, can I get a job?
    how many days it will take to prepare for scjp
    Is Certification really worth it ?