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What Is Involved in an IT Skills Assessment?

Many IT skills assessment tests use multiple choice questions.
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  • Written By: Angela Farrer
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2014
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An information technology (IT) skills assessment involves testing for proficiency at various job skills in this field. The typical IT skills assessment is tailored to a certain area of information technology such as programming language use, web page coding and design, or database management. Some of these tests may also measure skills in using a software package for tasks such as word processing, spreadsheet data entry, or image editing. An IT skills assessment may involve a standard question section, a software use simulation section, or a practical section in which test candidates are asked to create a document from scratch.

Employers frequently use a standardized IT skills assessment to gauge how well the skills of job candidates demonstrate their stated education and experience. One of these work skills assessments may be administered on a company's premises or at a separate local testing center. Some job candidates may need to pay a fee for the skills test, but many employers offer reimbursement to candidates who get hired. Many of these skills tests begin with a question section that can be true-or-false, multiple choice, or fill-in-the-blank. Candidates usually have a time limit for each IT skills test section, and this limit can vary according to test administration policies.

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Many IT skills assessment tests also include simulation sections that require candidates to complete a series of tasks with a software program. The test simulation software is designed to track each step as correct or incorrect and assign scores accordingly. This type of work skills test is frequently given to measure proficiency in word processing or spreadsheet programs. It can also sometimes be given to candidates applying for positions that involve the daily use of industry-standard design software packages for illustration or image manipulation.

Practical sections of an IT skills assessment are usually given to candidates applying for jobs that involve coding in a specific programming language. Some applicants for web design or development jobs may also be asked to complete a hand-coded sample page that meets established industry standards. Once programmers or designers complete their sample code according to exam instructions, test administrators often run it through code validation programs that are designed to check for errors. This kind of skill assessment is usually used to judge candidates' work quality and current skills in an information technology area that requires a good deal of precision.

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