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Pluralsight IQ, Stack Overflow boost developer street cred

Tying the Pluralsight IQ skills test to the Stack Overflow Developer Story helps developers measure their technical skills and better highlight them for jobs.

Software developers savvy with the latest languages and processes have another option to show off their street cred to prospective employers.

Pluralsight, a technology learning platform provider, and the Stack Overflow online developer community joined forces recently to help developers better assess their tech skills and promote their experience with today's most relevant technologies.

Pluralsight IQ measures a developer's technology skills based on a percentile ranking for the skill area or technology. It consists of 20 test questions that developers can answer in roughly five minutes, and they can gain a Skill IQ on more than 60 skills, spanning languages, frameworks, tools and processes. This includes popular programming languages, such as Angular, C#, JavaScript and Python.

The Stack Overflow Developer Story is like a résumé on steroids. It provides information about an individual's education, technical skills and work history. It can contain projects and specific features a developer has worked on, along with any supportive blog posts and even snippets of code.

An appealing feature of Pluralsight IQ is the ability to pick from a number of different languages to test your developer skills, said Eric Hillenbrand, an independent developer based in Salt Lake City.

"It asks you language-specific programming questions with multiple-choice answers," he said. "The test varies in how many questions you're asked and the length of time you have to answer each question. It's pretty fast, and at the end, it visually shows you where you land within the knowledge spectrum -- novice, proficient or expert."

With this collaboration, developers can host their Pluralsight Skill IQ results on their Stack Overflow Developer Story. A "Skill IQ call to action" link in their Stack Overflow profile launches the Pluralsight web application with the 20-question assessment. Once the developer earns a Skill IQ for a technology, it is integrated into their Stack Overflow profile and published to the user's Developer Story.

Pluralsight CXO Nate WalkingshawNate Walkingshaw

Another feature of this collaboration is a "verified-on" date, which reflects a skill's relevant life span, said Nate Walkingshaw, chief experience officer at Pluralsight.

"Fifty percent of what I know today two years from now will be irrelevant," he said. "We can finally put this objective view on a skill, and we can help developers close their technology skills gap."

There have been more than 700,000 Pluralsight IQ assessments to date and more than 10 million answered questions, he said.

Building developers' street cred

It's useful for developers to show their level of knowledge, thus making them more competitive within the market.
Eric Hillenbrandindependent developer

Using Stack Overflow, potential employers can see what developers can contribute and where they can focus within their company, while Pluralsight IQ helps developers showcase their skills and knowledge within a specific programming language.

Hillenbrand said he took the Node.js Pluralsight IQ test to gauge his capabilities and was surprised because he scored higher than he expected. "I wanted to know how well I really knew a specific language, and the Pluralsight IQ guided me on where to actually start the learning process with their online classes, such as skipping the beginning courses and to start at the intermediate courses," he said.

Languages change constantly, so employers want to know that an engineer has the most current and relevant skill, Walkingshaw said.

Pluralsight IQ-Stack Overflow interface
Pluralsight IQ-Stack Overflow

"Right now, if you looked at a LinkedIn profile, for instance, you could be endorsed for basket weaving or something that really doesn't have any context around it. But this collaboration has a ton of context," he said.

For example, the Skill IQ looks at the entire body of knowledge around the entire Angular language framework -- from Angular to Angular 2 to Angular 4 -- to provide an objective view of a developer's hard skill knowledge.

"It could be useful for recruiters to more quickly and accurately find developers in areas they need," Hillenbrand said. "And it's useful for developers to show their level of knowledge, thus making them more competitive within the market."

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