Group Input Needed: Rating Your Level of CSS Skill

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Chris Coyier on (Updated on )

Reader Patrick, an IT Software Architect, wrote in with a question I though was really interesting:

For my company, I am developing a scheme where our developers can check which level for a specific knowledge area they are on. For most areas we set 5 levels. One of these areas of knowledge (and skills) is CSS. Do you know some good online material that describe the knowledge levels in CSS? And preferably with examples so the developer himself can estimate if he/she is on that level?

A little searching around the web on this subject will bring up an article by Emil Stenström of Friendly Bit. This was an interesting take on things, but in this article Levels 1-4 are pretty much beginner and 6 is super-star. That leaves the rest of the CSS developing world all at a level 5.

I think if we all put our minds together, we can come up with a better system. My first thought is that if you don’t even know what CSS is, you don’t need a rating so we don’t need to take up a whole level just for that. We can designate Level 1 for beginner and Level 5 for a master. Now now we just need to break down exactly what makes up these knowledge levels and try to break up the remaining three into skills that make sense.

THIS IS JUST A ROUGH DRAFT TO GET STARTED. I’ll be taking whatever input anyone has on this and then developing it a bit further into a more fleshed out rating system. Then maybe I’ll put it up as a poll, that might be fun =).

  • Sure I’ve heard of CSS, it’s used in web design.
  • I have downloaded and used a CSS template before, I even figured out how to put our logo in it.
  • I have poked around in CSS files making small changes like changing colors.


  • I know that CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets.
  • It is used by web designers to style web pages with the purpose of keeping design and content separate.
  • I have made extensive modifications to a CSS template.
  • I have used a WYSIWYG editor to create CSS web page before.


  • I have designed a reasonably complex website from scratch using only CSS for layout.
  • I have a solid understanding of the structure of CSS, the CSS box model and CSS positioning.
  • I have a basic understanding that different browsers render some CSS differently and that needs to be accounted for and tested.
  • I have a growing collection of CSS resources to draw from.


  • I have designed and been involved with the design of a large number CSS based websites.
  • I am completely comfortable writing and editing CSS and feel like I could tackle any design idea.
  • I have a solid understanding of cross-browser CSS. I know and have tried some CSS hacks and understand the advantages and disadvantages of using them.
  • I can troubleshoot CSS quickly and efficiently.
  • I write CSS mostly by hand and I have a great collection of tools and resources at my disposal for inspiration, debugging or reference.


  • I have my own little CSS framework I start with.
  • I have a complete working knowledge of all things CSS.
  • I wake up in the middle of the night on weekends and jump over my computer to code an awesome CSS example my brain just dreamed up and then post it to my blog… which is about CSS. (kidding on this one, I’m not sure how to describe Level 5.)


So what do you think? What should we change? Can we make this into like a Mini Quiz somehow? Should there be more than 5 levels? Less?