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February 24, 2019

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Computer Science Proficiency Assessment

The Computer Science Proficiency Assessment (CSPA) is a comprehensive standardized exam for software engineers. The CSPA assesses your technical knowledge, skills, and abilities across a broad array of topics.

Why take the CSPA?

  1. Better job prospects. Top employers receive thousands of résumés every year. In this competitive environment, a strong CSPA score helps you stand out.
  2. Better job fit. Technical interviews are known for being low signal. By comparison, the CSPA is comprehensive enough to understand where your strengths are relative to your peers. With this understanding, you are more likely to find the right fit and maximize your chances for success.
  3. Shorter interview process. Just as we love making code reusable, we want to make the interview process as reusable as possible. With the CSPA, you take it only once and put your score on your résumé. Participating employers then leverage your exam results in lieu of an extensive (and redundant) technical interview.
  4. Training and re-education. If you're thinking about a career change or a promotion, taking the CSPA may help you better prepare for your new role. Covering over 50 high level topics, the CSPA gives you a broader perspective on all things technical.

Who uses and recognizes the CSPA?

We partner with employers, universities, and other institutions who commit to recognizing CSPA test results. For a list of participants, go here.

Who designs and maintains the exam?

The CSPA organization, along with the CSPA Technical Steering Committee, a consortium of leading tech employers, universities, institutions, and individuals from the open source community, maintains and evolves the exam material according to these guidelines. Individually, we are a group of seasoned, skilled, software engineers and computer science academics.

Test Format and Prep Materials

The CSPA is a one day, five hour test you take at home or at a testing center on your own laptop or desktop. For more details, go here.

To prepare for the exam, we've compiled a list of possible topics that are covered.

Exam and Eligibility Requirements

Anyone can take the exam. There's no age requirement or credential requirement. We believe everyone should have equal opportunity. Whether you're a highly skilled software engineer, a student, or an aspiring coder, the CSPA is an objective and comprehensive way to assess your qualifications.

Besides a thorough understanding of the exam material, you'll need the following:

  • Your own laptop or desktop. You'll be taking the test on your own laptop. Make sure it's something you're comfortable with. This may also be provided to you if you are at certain designated testing centers. Please check with us.
  • A reliable broadband internet connection. This will be provided to you if you are at a designated testing center. The exam requires a constant internet connection throughout the entire testing session. You are also allowed to use the internet to research your answers.
  • A modern web browser. The exam is web-based. We support the edge versions of Chrome, Safari, and Firefox on Windows and MacOS. Browsers on Linux will likely work fine, but we don't test on Linux (yet).
  • Preinstall any software and tools you need. While most of the exam is done in a webpage, you may prefer to write code in your own text editor or IDE, and then copy-and-paste the answer into the html form.
For more information, check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

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