Measuring Programming Experience
Programming experience is an important confounding parameter in controlled experiments regarding program comprehension. In literature, ways to measure or control programming experience vary. Often, researchers neglect it or do not specify how they controlled it. The authors set out to find a well-defined understanding of programming experience and a way to measure it. From published comprehension experiments, they extracted questions that assess programming experience. In a controlled experiment, they compare the answers of 128 students to these questions with their performance in solving program-comprehension tasks. They found that self estimation seems to be a reliable way to measure programming experience. Furthermore, they applied exploratory factor analysis to extract a model of programming experience.