in reply to
TeckChek and other online assessments
Assessing competency of IT staff sounds like something every conscientious company might do; however, as far as the means of accomplishing this go, I doubt TeckCheck is anywhere close to the mark. After all, they even used invalid code in some of their own questions!
I glanced over their site and even took their sample assessment test. What surprised me is that the sample test contained questions loosely related to the IT field. For example, one question was on geography, while another touched on general history. In fact, none of the questions I was presented with were anywhere close to IT. I found this rather odd for a company claiming to be in the business they are in. Thereofre, Iím afraid that not having done an actual IT skill testing questionnaire myself, I'll have to base my critique squarely on your summary.
Concerning test scope, I believe that it takes completely different set of questions in order to objectively measure IT skills of a systems administrator as compared to a programmer analyst. Former would have to be tested on a shallow knowledge of Perl or any other systems scripting language. A programmer analyst, on the other hand, would be expected to have a more thorough knowledge of Perl, software design, etc.
Relating this back to the Perl/CGI test you took, scoring criteria might vary based on your position within the company. Therefore, questions on the proper use of the 'format' method may carry different weight for different kind of employee? Also, even amongst a group of adapt Perl programmers, you may expect varying level of expertise in any specific area. As you have rightly mentioned, having more than one legitimate way of accomplishing a task in Perl, it may be hard to come up with a yard stick that would provide an objective measure of an individualís skill. If I was tasked to come up with a test, Iíd lean towards questions of general nature that would encompass common Perl features and avoid those rarely used (such as the Ďformatí method :). I think that questions testing common problem solving skills would be more appropriate than those which concentrate on specific, and often obscure, areas of Perl.
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