Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Elite. Best of the Best

My brother recently installed Microsoft Access on his computer and was asking me what my skill level was at using it (presumably so he could ask me for help if he needed it). I found myself struggling to describe my level of proficiency. I can use Access better than most... so better than average, but I wouldn't call myself an expert.

This lead to a discussion trying to categorize different skill levels. We eventually had to ditch the idea of "categories" because it didn't quite capture the relative, continuous, nature of skills. Instead, we thought of different levels.

So I present to you the 6 different skill levels we thought of. I give a brief description helping to clarify what each level means. Then I provide a few examples that are commonly used when referring to this level.

Why 6? I actually started with 3 (Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced), but found it didn't capture those transitory levels - like for my MS Access skills. Being that skill levels are on a continuum, there are probably an infinite number of levels, but here I'm trying to capture the most common ones. So this starts out at beginner and goes beyond advanced.

You have no clue about what you're doing. As a matter of fact, you're probably hurting the situation.
  • N00b (Newbie) - oh the irony of putting it's definition in parentheses...
  • Beginner
  • Novice
  • Rookie
  • Horrible

You're learning, but not quite there yet. Or, for whatever reason, you haven't taken the time to learn the basics. Lots of people give up here. You're probably not actually adding any positive value yet.
  • Grasshopper
  • Padawan
  • Apprentice
  • Unskilled
  • Bad

Most people are here. They can get regular stuff done, but struggle when an issue arises.
  • Normal
  • Intermediate
  • Average
  • OK
  • Amateur

Comfortable enough to mess around, solve problems and learn new tricks. Often good enough to impress lower levels with your ingenuity.
  • Hacker
  • Pretty Good
  • Skillful

You are great, and you know it. People regularly come to you for help because it's rare that you don't know the answer, or can't find it in under 5 minutes. You could probably get paid at this level. Given the prestige of this and the next level, many of these terms are over, and inappropriately, used.
  • Expert
  • Advanced
  • Master
  • Jedi
  • Great
  • Professional

People are inspired by you. You never have problems, instead you find problems. Chuck Norris is here.
  • Legend
  • L33T (Elite)
  • Best of the Best
  • Guru
  • All-Star

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