Assessment Time: How to Test Your Programming Skills

How to Test Your Programming Skills and Get Better at Coding

Are you wondering how to test programming skills? Whether you just want to get better, or you’re prepping for an interview, here’s how to test coding skills.

Here’s an astounding figure for you: over 419,000. That’s how many computer programmers there are in the United States alone.

Do you count yourself a part of that group (or hope to someday)?

Then you’re obviously skilled—or you will be very soon—and you can show it too. That’s one of the biggest parts of your job.

Because programmers need to show and not just tell the world what they can do, it’s wise to stay on the pulse of how to test programming skills.

Know how to do your own self-assessments and get a feel for how a tech recruiter will assess you too.

Build Something

You can talk the talk, but make sure you can walk the walk too.

One great way to do that is by making something. It’s a tangible way to apply what you know or has just learned. And it’s useful for bulking up your programming portfolio.

If you’re just starting out, you could contribute to open-source projects. The beauty of these projects is that they’re, well, open. You and anyone in the world can contribute a line of code to better an application or help build one.

There are ample opportunities to dive in and fix bugs, build out sites, and even try your hand at documentation. You may enjoy the feel-good sensation of contributing to something. Chances are, you’ll also walk away with a new or more refined skill.

And even if you’re seasoned, it’s worth spreading the wealth. Consider open source projects a way to keep your skills on point.

Join a Community

There’s no better way to get a handle on where you could strengthen your skills than by talking to other programmers.

Meet them in person by attending meet-ups in your city. Or poke around on GitHub or Twitter to find other coders at your level or more seasoned developers. You’ll see what they’re up to and what they know that you don’t.

Plus, you’ll keep up with the latest news about frameworks, tech trends, and buzzed-about languages.

Another huge benefit? You can ask questions.

Asking questions is such an important part of gaining the kind of knowledge you need to be a better programmer. Knowledge can lead to experience building something and applying more effective problem-solving strategies.

On the flip side, answering questions is a great way to test your knowledge in a different way.

Visit online forums like Stack Overflow or Reddit to take a stab at it. It’s also great practice for interacting with other programmers at all levels, which is what you have to do on the job anyway.

Know What Recruiters Want

If you’re not looking for a job now, you may be in the near future. But don’t just wait until then to find out what companies are looking for.

While each company will always be different, find out about common interview questions. Know how to talk about your leadership experience, details about projects you’ve worked on, and how you manage time.

And make sure you can show what you know too. Groom your GitHub account for tech recruiters.

Keep things tidy and orderly. Comment your code to show your processes. Entice an employer with your knowledge of how to create collaborative and clean code.

It’s not the same thing as a resume, but it’s another way to display your experience and actual coding prowess.

Know the Lingo

While you may not think that talking about programming is an actual part of the job of being a programmer, think again!

Not only will you need to be able to articulate your experience with specifics during an interview, but you’ll also have to be able to clearly talk about your work with colleagues.

If you’re new to the game, test yourself on the important terms. Know what an API is. Understand how to describe data structures. And don’t forget some of those umbrella terms like open-source software development and scripting language.

Even if you’re a senior developer, there’s always new terminology to keep up with.  Tune in to software development blogs and podcasts to stay in the know.

Prep for a Live Coding or Whiteboard Interview

Of course, when you do land an interview with a company you want to work for, expect to face a programming skills test.

If the thought of a live coding or a whiteboard interview has your knees shaking, don’t let it!

You won’t be able to perform well in a programming skill test without the knowledge. And you won’t be able to perform within the time limit if you don’t practice. Test yourself to be able to do both well, and you’ll have a leg up for the real thing.

Learn about the frameworks and languages companies you’re interested in work with. Dig around by talking to coders in meet-ups and online about their live coding experiences. Then take a coding skills test and rinse and repeat.

And temper your nerves by completing coding exercises with a timer. This is a helpful way to see how fast you are and which areas you really need to focus on.

Up the Ante: Learn Something New

There is always something new on the horizon for developers.

Whether you’re still learning one language or you’re a seasoned pro, don’t let that stop you from adding another one to your wheelhouse.

Take the DIY approach with a combination of reading, networking with other software engineers, keeping up with trends, and testing yourself with a coding test online.

You could also take this a step further by enrolling in a self-guided course on a new language or framework. Once you’re done or along the way, build something and test yourself on these new skills.

And when the time comes to add it to your resume, you’ll know your proficiency level and you’ll be able to show it too.

How to Test Programming Skills With Our Programming Tests

Whether you’re a hiring manager or the prospective employee, you want to keep up with how to test programming skills. And we’re here to help.

Reach out to better understand how to test yourself or your next hire with our coding challenges and programming tests.

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