Job Task Analysis

After development of a program structure and a job description for an exam or series, the next stage is to scientifically determine the skills, tasks and areas of knowledge needed for the job.

The challenge: Anyone could come up with a list of tasks they think a Linux professional should be able to do. If you ask 10 Linux professionals what a "junior-level" professional should do, you might get 10 lists. Which list is correct?

The solution: Ask a number of Linux professionals for their lists of necessary job duties, and then to compile the responses to find the common and most important tasks. Some tasks will show up on all lists.

In most professional job testing programs, this process is called job analysis study or job-task analysis. LPI completed an extensive job analysis survey of Linux professionals in early 2009.

The survey also provides data that can help legally defend the validity of exam objectives. When hiring decisions can be made based on criteria such as certification, there is the potential of lawsuits against the certifying body claiming exams are biased and constructed unfairly. The job analysis survey is critical in proving the legal defensibility of exam objectives and in blunting any claim of bias.

Here are the steps:

Pre-survey

This is the first step: interacting with a pool of subject-matter experts to compile a lengthy list of all the tasks that they think might be performed by the target audience of the certification. In late 2008, LPI completed this work and revised lists for junior Linux professionals interested in LPI-1.

Job analysis survey

The tasks collected during the pre-survey go into a job -analysis survey. This survey asks practicing Linux professionals to rate each task in several ways:

  • Frequency: (how often they perform the task);
  • Importance: (how important it is for an administrator to be able to perform the task);
  • Level: The skill level for the task.

More than 1,400 people participated in our first survey in April 1999.

Data analysis

Next, we conduct statistical analysis of the survey responses. We compute statistics indicating, on average, how critical respondents rated each task. For our original Level 1, we completed work in 1999. In 2008 and 2009, we refreshed the job task analysis for both LPI-1 and LPI-2.