Are there any good standardized tests for rating knowledge and abilities of developers? Does it make sense for managers to give these tests? I don't mean just for hiring, but for evaluating periodically.
The Real PC
Personally, if I was told that I was going to be tested annually/quarterly/whatever to prove that I still knew what I needed to know, I'd be looking for a new job that very same minute.
Most programming jobs I'm aware of involve relatively little actual coding.
Keane Consulting uses such tests for pre-hire assessment. If they want you as a code monkey, they sit you down at a computer that quizes you on ansi-C syntax or C++ or whatever it is they need you for. I've never worked for them myself, but I have seen their tests.
What about to assess competence with technologies a programmer hasn't previously used in his/her current role? Say you've been learning a new programming language outside of work, and all of a sudden your employer needs someone skilled with that language.
A pre-hire test makes more sense, since you don't have any hard evidence of the prospect's abilities. In fact, I haven't had an interview in a couple years where some sort of technical pre-screen didn't take place.
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