Suppose you have a room full of scientists---hundreds of 'em---and want to find out how they actually use computers in their work. There isn't time to interview them individually, or to record their desktops during a typical working week, so you've decided to ask them to self-asses their understanding of some key terms on a scale of:
No idea what it is.
Use it/have used it infrequently.
Use it regularly.
Couldn't get through the day without it.
My list is below; what have I forgotten, and (more importantly) how would you criticize this assessment method?
A command-line shell
Version control system (e.g., CVS, Subversion)
Build system (e.g., Make, Ant)
Debugger (e.g., GDB)
Integrated Development Environment (e.g., Eclipse, Visual Studio)
WYSIWYG document formatting (e.g., Word, PowerPoint, OpenOffice)
Now, you have the same room full of scientists, and you want to find out how much they know about software development. There still isn't time to interview them or have them solve some programming problems, so again you're falling back on self-assessment. This time, the scale is:
No idea what it means.
Have heard the term but couldn't explain it.
Could explain it correctly to a junior colleague.
and the terms themselves are:
Branch and merge
Build and smoke test
Once again, my questions are (a) what have I forgotten, and (b) how "fair" is this as an assessment method?
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