I know that there seems to be a lot of time and effort placed on whether you are an intermediate, and advanced, or *gasp* a BEGINNER in the realm of lifting.
While I have never fully understood the need to define where you are in your travels (lifting is a trip, not a destination) I suppose it is a necessary evil in order to define a plan of action or for a trainer to have some understanding where their pupil currently sits in regards to knowledge and experience. As with any trip, you have to know where you are in order to know how to get to your destination. This reminds me of one of my favorite jokes...
A traveller is hopelessly lost on a highway in Ireland. Travelling for hours and with the sun setting he finds a man wandering the road.
"Sir, I'm lost and in need of directions." The man thinks for a moment and says "Well, I don't know where you are going, but I wouldn't start from here!"
So in the need to know where someone is going, and where they have been we classify eachother as "experienced lifters" or "Novice." But what does it mean? Do a number of years earn you the right to dispense sage advice? perhaps you should have a 1600lb total on the big three in order to steer someone onto the right road? These means of measurement are fairly arbitrary, truthfully. Someone can lift for years and years and still be doing everything "wrong" in the most literal sense of the word. Likewise, I knew guys that were VERY strong but could not tell you how or why they got that way (thank you genetics!).
This article from EFS brings up some interesting thoughts about my own 16+ years under the bar. I can identify with this very well. Anyway, give it a read and think about where you are: