Iris Classon
Iris Classon - In Love with Code

Stupid Question 62: Generation n00b, how do we measure experience anyway?

[To celebrate my first year of programming I will ask a ‘stupid’ questions daily on my blog for a year, to make sure I learn at least 365 new things during my second year as a developer]

What is experience?

I’m preparing my session for Öredev, I want this to be the best session I have ever made/held so I’ve been working hard. I’ve interviewed more developers and teachers, and bosses,- and I have spent two days reading in scientific journals, as well as doing a bit of research myself. I’ve bookmarked several hundreds of articles to read as I am doing some simpler review articles for the session. One of the things I talk about is experience.

The word experience is something we use a lot as developers, but what does it mean? And how do we measure this thing anyway?
The definitions is:

Experience: Accumulated knowledge
Knowledge: The state or fact of knowing.

So one would assume that the knowledge should be put to the test for a job that demands experience. I decided to look this up, and scanned through ‘Jobsafari’ a job-site in Sweden. I wont reveal all the stats now, but will after my session at Öredev.

But 30% measured experience in years of work experience or education, 5% required both education and work experience. In the US, because I wanted to compare at least two different countries/cultures, 75% measured experience in years of work or education, with 15% requiring both. In the US 50% MOREexperience measured in years, with an average of 3.7 years of experience (highest was 10 years- most required about 5) of work and education. In Sweden education was mentioned more in RE to years, and work experience required was 3 years or less, with a 1.7 years of experience on required average. Words describing experience such as ‘senior’ was mentioned more often in US job ads, while ‘junior’ was mentioned more in Swedish job ads.

Very interesting!

What is experience for you, and how do you think we should measure it? I would love to hear from devs all over the world,- I need your opinion to deliver a great session!


Leave a comment below, or by email.
Bhupendra Patel
10/20/2012 9:16:44 AM
Umm interesting no one has commented yet..if you ask me IC experience is all about having a) Knowledge of solving a particular problem b) applying that knowledge to solve similar problems c) being able to guide others using the knowledge d) devising better ways to solve same or similar problems in future. 
Randal Wansing
10/31/2012 2:46:17 PM
Being from the US the experience that you mentioned is more professional experience.  Most employers or staffing agencies here DO NOT consider education or freelance work to be experience. As a new developer I am finding this as a problem as I try to find a job in the field here in the US.  Now that I've been out of school for 5 months the job that I am doing doesn't involve developing and I'm starting to lose a little of that knowledge I had.  Thanks for the blogs they have been great for a person like me! 

Last modified on 2012-10-18

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