Locate your potential computer expert (or idiot) and ask, "How much do you know about computers?" You can subsitiute any computer related field, and most answers will still be appropriate. It's not entirely reliable, but a pretty good guide.

You can judge their level of expertise by comparing their response to the following responses:

"I don't know anything about computers." They are telling the truth. They don't know anything.

"I know everything about computers." or "A lot." They think they are telling the truth but in truth don't know much. Chances are they recently learned about 1000 times more than they previously knew, but aren't yet aware there's 1000 times more they still need to learn. They probably know what Moore's Law is and how to save a Microsoft Word document (and find it 10 minutes later) and can probably even write some simple formulas in a spreadsheet. They understand files and directories.

"A little bit." They are probably a computer genius in some respect (a few specific things) and have a broad general knowledge. Occasionally, not an expert in anyting, but a quick study because they recognize how much there is to learn about computers. They also probably know how to research.

"That depends..." Like above but a professional of some sort, most likely posseses a degree in some computer-related field. "It depends" because if it's stupid, they are likely to feign ignorance. Not as helpful as the less-educated response above.

"Hardware or software?" They probably know a whole lot about one but nothing about the other. May be combined with one of the above two.

"What do you need to know?" or some variation thereof. Similar to above but they are probably are pretty well versed in a few specific areas that may span hardware or software. Probably more helpful than above too. If you're looking for help from someone in the know, this is generally a good response.

"I'm still learning." No way to tell with this one. They could know a lot and are learning more, or might be learning how to use a mouse. Get more specific or ask again in a month or so.

"Enough..." Short for "Enough to get paid", "Enough to graduate" or "Enough to keep my job." Similar expertise to "A lot" but either a veteran and/or has a degree. Probably enjoyed computers and followed technology at one time, but now the magic is gone.

"What's a computer?" A black-hat hacker capable of cracking Echelon, not to mention draining your bank account if you ask too many questions. Or upper level management.