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Software Development

Assessing Technical Excellence: New SkillValue Test to Evaluate the Seniority of Web Development Engineers

Alexandru Hutanu
Alexandru Hutanu
Engineering Manager

We recently faced a challenge born out of the need to evaluate the most senior engineers in Web Development. And the challenge came because we didn’t want a test that only assesses theoretical knowledge or evaluates code-writing ability; we wanted it to be language-agnostic so that any Web Development Engineer can take this test, regardless of the language they are using.

At Pentalog, we want to take a more pragmatic approach and evaluate how you as an engineer would face an actual challenging situation in your day-to-day life because (in our opinion) this is where the most senior engineers stand out. You can resolve challenging production use cases much faster and with less to no compromise, based on your experience.

What makes a senior engineer stand out?

First, we tried identifying what skills should be part of any senior engineer’s portfolio.

Being a senior engineer is much more than just being able to write beautiful code. You are commonly faced with situations outside your everyday programming tasks. Quite often, a senior engineer must also be able to build and propose the right architecture surrounding a particular implementation.

You must be aware and able to take the correct security precautions and comply with the proper regulations (such as GDPR) in your implementations. And nowadays, I would dare to say that it’s almost a must to understand the basics of Cloud services and how to build Cloud-native apps.

Which areas should a senior engineer excel in?

After thorough research on the subject, we identified a list of topics in which a senior engineer should truly excel to be the best, with examples:

  • Software development fundamentals – design patterns, algorithms, data types, data structures, clean code, refactoring and optimization, software development principles, technical debt, etc.
  • Technology fundamentals – sockets, protocols, etc.
  • Web technology fundamentals – REST, Caching, GraphQL etc.
  • Software architecture – tools, existing tech, monolith vs microservices etc.
  • Data architecture – databases, indexing, data sensitivity levels, data security levels, big data, etc.
  • GDPR
  • Security standards and practices (such as OWASP)
  • DevOps – Docker/K8s, IaaS etc.
  • I18n – currency, date and time, etc.
  • Testing – TDD, unit, functional, etc.
  • Performance – performance debugging, load testing, stress testing, etc.
  • TCO – understanding the value and costs of implementations.
  • Agile engineering practices
  • Cloud services

Signup or login to your Pentalog account to evaluate your skills.


Consider benchmarking

It doesn’t mean that all senior engineers should ace every area or that only the ones with excellent knowledge in all of them should be considered seniors. Not at all!

But we do believe that the better your knowledge base and the larger the depth in each of those topics can make you stand out from other senior engineers. So, instead we can take it as a benchmarking system where the better the score, the better the senior engineer you are.

Test yourself

With those topics above in mind, we started building a set of challenges for each of them in the form of questions with checkboxes as answers. As mentioned at the beginning, we did not want to evaluate only theoretical knowledge but rather see how an engineer would face a real-world problem. So, we took this approach for our test by building a business case behind each topic.

Therefore, the individual taking the test is being put into real-world production examples and evaluating how they would face them.

The success of the test so far

We used this test in Pentalog to evaluate several profiles and received satisfactory results. We also received excellent feedback, including that the candidates enjoyed the test and the situations we put them in ?.

What’s next?

We will continue to monitor the results and will further adjust our test based on them. We may not yet have found the perfect formula, but certainly the right one for our first iteration. Therefore, we gladly invite you (or rather provoke you!) to take this test and see how you position yourself.

We will continue to update this test with more challenges in time, so be sure to check back occasionally if you’ve already been through it and re-evaluate how you stand right now. You can consider what you’ve learned since the last time you took it and also go through the new challenges we’ve prepared for you!

Our test assesses general knowledge in web development. It touches several areas, from architecture and DevOps to web development fundamentals. We believe it is more suitable for senior profiles in backend web development.

Signup or login to your Pentalog account to evaluate your skills.

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