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Build a skill matrix

Forget about junior and senior. Focus on skills.

We want to make sure that developers are properly helped by following a training. This also means that a specific training needs to match up with the needs of a specific developer. Classifying a developer as *junior* or *senior* does not help. Use a skill matrix instead.

The problem of junior and senior

In the IT industry, we often refer to junior developers and senior developers. But what do those terms mean? Does it have to do with age? Or the duration of ones career? And what if an experienced React developer becomes a Magento 2 developer? And does an experienced senior Magento 2 developer suddenly know all about React as well? The terms junior and senior do not fit the actual knowledge that people have. Likewise, frontend, backend and full stack are also hardly descriptive. Our advice is to use a competency matrix or skill matrix instead.

Example competency matrix

CategorySkillJane DoeJohn DoeActions
Magento 2 DevOpsMagerun2
Magento 2 DevOpsDeployment (DeployPHP, Capistrano)Check devops to see if needed
Magento 2 DevOpsZero downtime deploymentCheck devops to see if needed
Magento 2 Frontend DevelopmentXML page layout
Magento 2 Frontend DevelopmentBlock arguments and class dataCheck company base theme
Magento 2 Frontend DevelopmentViewModels in XML layoutPair programming session
Magento 2 JavaScript DevelopmentWorking with RequireJS uiRegistryBook Yireo training
Magento 2 JavaScript DevelopmentMagento PWA Studio (Peregrine, Venia UI)Book Yireo training
......

 

Create your own competency matrix

We highly advise you to create a competency matrix yourself - you know your own people the best. However, we are happy to lend a helping hand:

  • Create a new spreadsheet
  • Download our CSV listing of skills
  • Add the columns Category and Skill from the CSV file to your spreadsheet
  • Remove skills that are irrelevant. Add additional skills that are relevant.
  • Add the names of your employees.
  • Add actions

Where can we help?

While drafting this mapping of skills and team members and after the skill matrix has been completed, we can help out:

  • Run assessment sessions or brief interviews to check upon the skill level;
  • Guide the people responsible for the matrix into which skills are most relevant and which are not;
  • Train team members using all options available: Online training, on-demand content, on-site sessions;

This typically is an HR job, but the benefit of having Yireo jump in is because of our specific domain knowledge. Plus we can fullfill the actions needed to acquire skills, via training, materials and mentorship. This is also where our [/educational-subscription](Educational Subscriptions) come in.

Do full-stack developers actually know a lot about everything or just a little bit about everything?

Our personal red/blue pill

A skill matrix is not perfect. It is subjective and error-prone. See it as an additional guidance, not as an exact measurement. We do not recommend using the skill matrix to hire or fire someone, we do not recommend a skill matrix to base salary upon. Note that technical skills are one thing, but personal circumstances, loyalty and fairness are other points that need to be picked up by your company.

Some more things to take into account:

  • People always have hidden competencies or skills that are hard to measure;
  • Discriminating people on their seniorship and/or age is a bad thing;
  • Measuring what people know on a specific day does not define a human being. People change;
  • A company culture might not match desired skills. Are you going to fire everybody?
  • Deadlines lead to stress. Some people simply perform bad when tested;
  • Some people underestimate themselves, some people overestimate themselves. Self-insight is hard;

Use a skill matrix as an indication, not a concrete science.

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