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A Case For a Software Testing Undergrad Major 220

Posted by samzenpus
from the major-learning dept.
colinneagle writes "I have spent the last couple of days at the StarEast conference, listening to people explain to a roomful of testers about modeling workflows and data transitions, managing test environments in the cloud, writing automation scripts for regression tests, best methods for exploratory testing, running mobile test lab. And as I look around the room at the raw intelligence of the people who are not only absorbing that information but probing deeper into it during the Q&A sessions, I have to wonder how much easier their careers could have been if they had been able to major in Software Testing in college. It's time to give employers a testing workforce that is competitive and trained so they can stand toe-to-toe with the development team. Imagine the power of being able to hire a recent college graduate who has been taught how to develop system diagrams, build complex SQL, run log analysis, set up a cloud test environment, and write automation scripts. No more crossing your fingers that this eager young face in front of you can really pick up those skills, and no more investing so much time and money in training them on the job. We ask no less from Technical Writing and Development. Why do we have such different expectations for one of the most important functions on the team?"
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A Case For a Software Testing Undergrad Major

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  • by linear a (584575) on Monday May 06, 2013 @12:40PM (#43643809)
    People get this major, get a job, blow brains out...
    • Yeah, I know how much we all hate well tested and verified software. It's so annoying when I start an application, and an edge case bug that represents my main usage fails to explode the whole thing.

      I'm a developer, not a tester, and good understanding of testing is essential to good software.

      • by linear a (584575)
        Not objecting to tested software - that's a good idea. Can't imagine that a career testing software would be compelling. You'd get yelled at from the user and from the dev side, except for the more thoughtful devs.
        • by dcollins117 (1267462) on Monday May 06, 2013 @02:28PM (#43645161)

          Can't imagine that a career testing software would be compelling. You'd get yelled at from the user and from the dev side, except for the more thoughtful devs.

          I can't imagine being a marriage counselor is much better - you have to be able to deal with a lot of anger. Still, there are people who still do it. One I talked to flat out said that other people's anger doesn't affect him. This is the type of guy we need doing software testing!

        • I have no issues with software testing as a career. I would definitely prefer it to, say, being a hairdresser.

          But to me, making software testing a college major would be like making "Social Networking" a college major. A programming specialty? Sure. Major? I don't think so.
  • by cold fjord (826450) on Monday May 06, 2013 @12:41PM (#43643833)

    It is fairly common to see electrical engineers specialize as either design or test engineers, in function if not career. But as far as I've seen, they still have the same academic training. I'm not sure that software would need to be done differently, at least at the undergrad level. Although I do think that having more course work available on testing would be a good thing.

    • Exactly. This isn't a major, it's a class at most. I'm a Mechanical engineer and took a few CS classes as electives.I was the only one in my class of CS majors that would unit test. I wrote script upon script to beat my projects to death. Consequently I also managed to get one of the highest grades in the class. This was back in 2003 when "CS" meant "I like computers" but there were numerous people in my class that would turn in half assed work.

      Even at work where I use Matlab I try to test every single scen

    • by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday May 06, 2013 @02:06PM (#43644933)

      The whole idea is utterly stupid. It's bad enough that people become hyper-specialized during the course of their careers, but asking 18-year-olds to decide on which exact specialty they want makes no sense at all. That's why university degrees are supposed to give you a broad foundation, with only a certain amount of specialization in an undergrad major (and only in the last two years there usually). Furthermore, as you point out, having EEs get the same degree and specialize later works just fine, and for good reason: you need to understand how stuff works in order to test it properly.

      A class on software testing in the CS curriculum would make a lot of sense, but a whole separate degree is ridiculous.

    • by dywolf (2673597)

      sounds more like something you go to a 2 yr tech school for. ie, a technician level job.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      The problem is that software testers are not often career software testers There is a lot of job migration, they may start as testers and then later do development, or vice versa, do a mix of both, or move into management. If this is a major does it kill the career plans if someone later wants to do a job that traditionally wants a computer science degree?

      Granted, quite a lot of managers really wish that every employee focused exclusively on the current job while back in college, but it's unrealistic.

      Test

  • Developer? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andy1307 (656570) on Monday May 06, 2013 @12:44PM (#43643869)

    Imagine the power of being able to hire a recent college graduate who has been taught how to develop system diagrams, build complex SQL, run log analysis, set up a cloud test environment, and write automation scripts.

    If I can do all this, why would I want to remain a tester? Why wouldn't I get into development?

    • Re:Developer? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Monday May 06, 2013 @12:47PM (#43643915) Journal

      If I can do all this, why would I want to remain a tester? Why wouldn't I get into development?

      Believe it or not, some people actually like testing. I don't understand these people, but it takes all types.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It takes a certain amount of a sadistic personality to be a good test guy. You have to inherently get that little smile whenever you find someone else's screw-up. It's like playing cops and robbers. Yeah, the robbers get a rush out of taking things, but the cops get a rush out of catching the robber in a mistake.

        • by melstav (174456)

          It's not all sadism, although a little of that certainly helps.

          As is pointed out in some books, part of the "Hacker Mindset" involves identifying and questioning assumptions. ( eg: http://my.safaribooksonline.com/book/networking/security/9781593273422 [safaribooksonline.com] )

          Screwing around with the UI and diving the code to figure out where the assumptions are, whether or not they're valid, how the assumptions can be invalidated, and what unexpected things happen when the unexpected occurs -- For some people, that's the very d

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pspahn (1175617)

          You probably would need to be rather humble as well. I would imagine a good proportion of the screw-ups you'd find would be reported, and then a week later you hear back that "this bug is not critical" and it ultimately gets ignored because fixing would cascade too much work onto the desks of other people, and there are fishing trips, bbqs, and dance recitals that need to be looked after.

          Of course, then you get to be smug down the road when the product releases, bugs intact, and you can point out to other

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          Most of the testing job is about other stuff, such as coming up with a test plan that covers the product and features, or creating automated tests and frameworks, and only part time do they actually push the buttons and attempt to find bugs. Then there are things like performance testing where the job is not at all about finding bugs but about measuring throughputs, seeing if the product performs at a high speed or finding performance bottlenecks in a network, interoperability testing, etc. That's a lot o

        • Not really. IAAST and I don't get pleasure at finding someone else's screw-up. What I get pleasure from is finding a bug that, if it was released with the product, would have caused problems. Rather than a sadistic "HAHA, I FOUND YOUR MISTAKE! TAKE THAT, DEVELOPER!" ... I enjoy a pretty good and friendly relationship with the developers I work with such that they WANT me to find bugs, and I WANT them to write as few bugs as possible, and we all want as bug-free a release as possible.

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        If I can do all this, why would I want to remain a tester? Why wouldn't I get into development?

        Believe it or not, some people actually like testing. I don't understand these people, but it takes all types.

        Agreed. I've resisted the pressure at work to move into a project/finance-management role in order to get promoted, and I'll tell you that you run right up against a lot of mindsets that value one role above another. I have worked with some fairly skilled people in almost every role in the software development process and I can vouch that there is plenty of room for growth and benefits to the organization from people who have experienced the growth.

        Organizations that link roles to salary/experience levels

    • Because there is a certain personality type that is wired for testing. They are the guys who can put themselves in the seat of the user and think of the nastiest ways to tear apart your program from the user's point of view. Some of the best testers I've run across have come up with the most outrageous ways of breaking my program, I wonder how the hell they thought about what they were doing.
    • Re:Developer? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Uber Banker (655221) on Monday May 06, 2013 @01:26PM (#43644469)

      Imagine the power of being able to hire a recent college graduate who has been taught how to develop system diagrams, build complex SQL, run log analysis, set up a cloud test environment, and write automation scripts.

      If I can do all this, why would I want to remain a tester? Why wouldn't I get into development?

      Because a tester is not a developer? While some testers are wanna-be developers, IMHO the author of TFA seems to get some things horribly mixed up, despite her position and experience. Developers unit test their code, and smoke test the product, surely? That's the job of a developer. Testers should have an understanding of development principals to faster nail the bug and help the developer, they mostly need to understand:

      • Business requirements: How to translate these to testing scenarios;
      • How to identify what's a show-stopper, something major, and something that's an error but doesn't hinder functionality as defined in business requirements;
      • How to go head-to-head with a developer face-to-face, via email, or via telephone and motivate the developer to prioritise their fixes; and as testing is typically at the end of the development cycle
      • How to project manage a lot of conflict. Communications are more important than knowing how to set up a development environment, though both are useful.

      A developer, seeking to do the above, while still in their heart a developer, is not going to enjoy their job or be as good at it as a tester, unless they really like punishing themselves. They'll also be a lot less respected by the actual developers than a sassy tester who just loves doing the above.

      The best testing teams I've seen are those with a big mix of varied technical and arts skill. A lot have been in emerging economies: English language majors are increasingly important.

      • by DrGamez (1134281)

        Developers unit test their code, and smoke test the product, surely? That's the job of a developer.

        While it's the /job/ the developer, I can say that once you're in the real-world - not all developers decide to go this route.

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      Testing is easier, meaning you don't have to be as good. It also means it's easier to go up the hierarchy and get a better income.
      A tester has more opportunities to shine because he makes the links between various divisions.
      The lony developer might have a higher start salary, but unless he can chance upon leading a new project, he won't get to evolve much.

      • Testing can be as hard as development: it's not easy, for example, to develop and execute a test plan for a complex failover in a distributed system, and to be able to give to the developer a good repro case/setup so they can debug things if something went wrong.

        Just like there is 'drudge work' QA there is also 'drudge work' development, but the skill ceiling can be as high in QA as in Dev, because in the end you can think of a strong QA engineer as a developer trying to produce software that will validate

        • by loufoque (1400831)

          Testing can be as hard as development: it's not easy, for example, to develop and execute a test plan for a complex failover in a distributed system, and to be able to give to the developer a good repro case/setup so they can debug things if something went wrong.

          The fact that many developers wouldn't be able to do this (mostly due to not understanding how important those issues are and refusing to focus on them) doesn't make it complicated.

          Setting up infrastucture, writing validation, building and deploymen

      • by idontgno (624372)

        I don't think it's necessarily easier. After all, the tester has to put up with smug douchebag developers that think that testing is easier than developing.

        I'm sensing a lot of PHB thinking [dilbert.com] here: "Anything I don't understand is easy."

    • It is a common misconception that testers are failed developers.
    • by Machtyn (759119)
      As a person who can do all that, and a lot more involving computer maintenance, business analysis and tech writing, I chose being in the Software QA environment. Why? It's an easy job. I don't get burned out on dev or tech support (which I do after hours on other projects). I get to utilize my creativity in trying to break software in unexpected ways. I utilize my understanding of computer systems from a user's standpoint to analyze the system and can relate the results to a developer or a business analyst
    • Perhaps because they have been or already are developers. Any good developer is already a tester, engaged in Test Driven Development, using xUnit family of tools, running their tests continuously with CI.

      If he's on the ball he's using Behaviour Driven Development to script complex scenarios that function as both his development and test harness.

      He's testing his Web Services integration with tools like SOAPUI + Groovy from Smartbear from the article and using it to do dynamic mocking for both the client a

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Monday May 06, 2013 @12:44PM (#43643883) Journal

    It's time to give employers a testing workforce that is competitive and trained so they can stand toe-to-toe with the development team.

    But then you'd actually have to pay them like developers.

    Also, I think this is a good example of 'career training' VS 'education.' Do you really want to graduate from college, after paying all that money, and have your primary skill set be "to develop system diagrams, build complex SQL, run log analysis, set up a cloud test environment, and write automation scripts?" That sounds like a couple semesters at DeVry.

    • But then you'd actually have to pay them like developers.

      Many testers are. Correction - many good testers are.

      Do you really want to graduate from college, after paying all that money, and have your primary skill set be "to develop system diagrams, build complex SQL, run log analysis, set up a cloud test environment, and write automation scripts?" That sounds like a couple semesters at DeVry.

      Agreed. Computer Science is what you learn in university, programming and use of products (such as SQL) is
    • by gangien (151940)

      Probably the best developer I ever worked with graduated from DeVry.

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        I knew people who went to devry who hated it and felt that they got zero education from it, but also others who did get a lot from it. Ie, a very good student in high school ends up complaining about spending the first year being taught stuff he already knew, such as trigonometry, as if he was in a remedial education program.

        DeVry did have a very hard sell approach, putting on the guilt trip to parents, don't know if they still do that. The guy who talked to my parents at least was very sleazy.

    • by Machtyn (759119)
      Surprise! Testers, or Software QA, *are* paid like developers. Well, unless you work for a small business or a company that does not respect the development process and thinks that "If it works on the Dev's machine, it must work for everyone!" QA is part of the process as much as defining the requirements, building to the requirements and releasing the product to the customer. QA is there to make sure the expense of fixing a screw-up is minimal and taken care of before release, than very expensive and, d
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 06, 2013 @12:45PM (#43643891)

    It's about starting kids on a path that will take them through the remaining 70 years of their lives, not a jumpstart on the job market for the next 5 years (after which a lot of what they learned will be obsolete and not very interesting to employers). Of course, there are professional schools and technical schools that focus on the latter.

    • It's about starting kids on a path that will take them through the remaining 70 years of their lives

      No that is what grade school is for. By the time your 18 your a little to old to learn life leasons.

  • by langelgjm (860756) on Monday May 06, 2013 @12:47PM (#43643905) Journal

    No more crossing your fingers that this eager young face in front of you can really pick up those skills, and no more investing so much time and money in training them on the job.

    So, basically, you think it's time for someone else to conduct your on-the-job training at no cost or risk to you.

  • by phizi0n (1237812) on Monday May 06, 2013 @12:47PM (#43643909)

    The best QA testers are usually the people overqualified for it. They're not doing it because they want to, they do it for a paycheck while waiting to land a dev job. If QA testers start needing degrees then why would anyone choose studying QA over CS when the skills overlap but most of the fun and pay is in CS?

    • by perpenso (1613749) on Monday May 06, 2013 @01:03PM (#43644163)
      Blizzard Entertainment's QA department is widely reported to be the gateway to entry level developer, artist and producer positions. Low level dev and art tasks are occasionally given to aspiring programmers and artists in QA. All with QA management's blessings and cooperation. This is embedded in the company culture. Some very high ranking folks started in QA as a tester.
      • But a tester at Blizzard is someone who plays the game for 8 hours and logs bug tickets.

        A test engineer, the sort that would have a "software testing" degree, would spend 2 hours writing test scripts so that you don't have to pay someone a full day to open all the door in doortopia. You know: automated regression testing, unit testing, fuzzing, input validation, all that shit that real code-shops should be doing, but the developers are too busy to do themselves.

        Tester: Shit job a monkey can do. They are the

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      That's because testing requires a fair bit of writing and understanding code. Even if you just do black box testing, you still have to be able to write a script that will run the tests for you. If you're testing by clicking on the interface and typing into text fields by hand, you're doing it wrong. Even something as simple as writing up the instructions for recreating the bug is a skill that is somewhat uncommon in the general populace. A decent software tester will have to write quite a bit of code thr
  • and the rest of the non-tech business infrastructure is probably the bigger question.

    In my experience, the business wing of most companies has little interest in testing. Works/doesn't work is far less important than building brand, driving sales, and so on. I haven't seen many cases in which a "show stopper" was really a show stopper that held up a launch or a release, or in which anything that was broken at launch or release was ever worked on again.

    Before launch/release it's "we can't hold anything up, j

    • Cem Kaner makes the argument that the most important person in the QA department for a company is the CEO. If the CEO sets reasonable expectations, then constructive conversations about investments in quality are possible.

      The majority of CEOs are sales guy who are inclined to kowtow to the sales and marketing side, but are want someone else to take the heat if things go badly. Thus they carefully avoid making commitments about quality. Without expectations set, it does not really matter what a QA enginee

  • Irony (Score:5, Interesting)

    by langelgjm (860756) on Monday May 06, 2013 @12:49PM (#43643951) Journal

    About the author:

    For more than 25 years, Lorinda Brandonhas worked in various management roles in the high-tech industry, including customer service, quality assurance and engineering. She is currently Director of Solutions Strategy at SmartBear Software, a leading supplier of software quality tools. She has built and led numerous successful technical teams at various companies, including RR Donnelley, EMC, Kayak Software, Exit41 and Intuit, among others. She specializes in rejuvenating product management, quality assurance and engineering teams by re-organizing and expanding staff and refining processes used within organizations. She has a bachelor’s degree in art history from Arizona State University.

  • The primary purpose of higher education is to develop individuals who are capable problem solvers, who are capable of understanding complex ideas, and who have a broad base of knowledge for the context of those ideas. We need such individuals to have a thriving society and robust democracy. Few people seem to realize this.

    Developing skill sets for the workplace is a decidedly secondary task of higher education. This isn't unimportant, but it isn't the primary purpose. This is why we don't have classes in plumbing or home finance, although those subjects could easily be taught at a university. Purely technical skills are valuable, but only to the degree to which they are generally applicable to a wide field.

    • by femtobyte (710429) on Monday May 06, 2013 @12:59PM (#43644095)

      ^^^ THIS. ^^^

      No more crossing your fingers that this eager young face in front of you can really pick up those skills

      On the contrary, this is exactly what a college level education *should* mean:

      We threw fifty different areas of subject matter at the graduate, and she managed to think her way through figuring out all of them. Literature courses, history courses, math courses, physics courses, art courses, chemistry courses, sociology courses --- by now, she's figured out how to take any problem thrown at her, and become highly proficient in four months, and an expert in a year. Whatever specific new skills your job requires, this graduate will pick them up and be pushing the boundaries in no time flat.

      • Except that most of the people that can handle college could probably take any problem thrown at them and and get proficient at it before going to college. I respect the whole "learning how to learn" mantra, but the smart kids in highschool get knowledgeable in college, I don't think they get smarter.

        • by femtobyte (710429)

          There's certainly some of both; however, I'd say even the specific knowledge learned in college should be done to provide a broader basis for figuring other things out, rather than learning how to use Corporate Software Tool v.3.8.71 (that will be completely obsoleted by Corporate Software Tool v.4.1.18 by the time you graduate). And, speaking as a person who was at the top of smart highschool kids --- learned calculus by seventh grade, worked in physics labs as a summer job, valedictorian at the city's top

    • Mod parent up, please.

      Perhaps there should be courses for various specialized workplace skill sets available at university, but that is a really lousy model for designing a major.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Developing skill sets for the workplace is a decidedly secondary task of higher education. This isn't unimportant, but it isn't the primary purpose.

      Here's the problem:
      - From the point of view of most colleges and universities, an ideal college graduate has a basic grounding in economics, contracts, labor law, English literature, history, a foreign language or two, mathematics, and some practical skills somewhere in there.

      - From the point of view of business management, an ideal college graduate has an excellent understanding of the particular practical skill they're trying to hire for, and no understanding whatsoever of economics (could understand what

    • EXACTLY. These MBA types (like the author) all over these days don't want to actually do anything for their inflated salaries. Cost externalization is their main dogma. Short term planning is also a big problem. They don't care if education is destroyed or if their whole company goes under as long as they maximize the benefits during their tenure. (I know MBAs, they develop a talent for shifting responsibility. They'll blame the market when an economic hiccup puts their over-leveraged business into bank

    • by mveloso (325617)

      Well actually, higher education is for job skills - unless you don't consider thinking a job skill.

      This is the snobification of higher education - and a pathetic way to justify the higher costs and (sometimes) higher pay of university graduates.

      You can use that education to ponder this: if college really trained people to think critically, would the government really allow it to exist?

  • A few years ago I was talking with a Prof at Univ of Memphis and he was talking about starting a program, because FedEx was in looking to to help. They were looking for better quality control. I do not know if it was started, since I have moved 3 years ago away from area.

    In my past, though, the best QA person was a gentalman that had a degree in Anthropology. He could find bugs that no one could find, by taking every single keystroke and option. Plus he had great stories to tell of different locations a

  • While I will not debate the fact that Software Testing is an important job (protecting my own job here), it's also not the hardest job you can do. Sure you can make it complex when you get into running test labs and automating your approaches, but it's nothing that you shouldn't be able to pick up on within a year. The problem with teaching testing methodology is most often you resort to having to teach the theory behind testing. What goes does knowing how to best tackle things like equivalence partitionin
    • by DrGamez (1134281)
      Holy poop I forgot any sense of linebreaks. Please be gentle :( I promise I meant to put them in.
  • by Yold (473518) on Monday May 06, 2013 @01:09PM (#43644217)

    Universities are not technical schools. Ideally, they provide a broad theoretical framework that allows people to develop a career over the next few decades following their graduation. What the article is suggesting is that people be forced to pay for narrow training, pigeonholing them into a career path which may or may not exist (or be practical) in 20 years.

    University education is meta-education. It enables life-long learning. Businesses expecting fresh graduates to have received (and paid for) training in technology-dejour is a disturbing trend in the software industry.

    • by DrGamez (1134281)

      Businesses expecting fresh graduates to have received (and paid for) training in technology-dejour is a disturbing trend in the software industry.

      As someone who has just escaped the worst of this (about to hit 30), I have noticed a lot of my younger friends are running into this very problem. They completed 5 years of University and are expected to come out having 5+ years of relevant C#/Lang_of_Choice working experience, oh and also a Bachelor's, oh and ALSO lets not consider people after 30.

  • Why are their poor hiring practices indicative of a problem with the available degree programs to students? Of course, all in-between type jobs would be easier to train for if there was a degree specific to those jobs... but do you really think that anyone went into journalism or art history because there was no software testing degree program available? If they were interested in working with computers, why in the world would they not major (or even minor) in computer science? At best, I could see software

  • Sorry, but this is just another in a long line of corporate pushes to strip away "real education" about science, math, the liberal arts, and culture from high schools and colleges and replace it with "vocational training" about narrow specialties so that they no longer have to pay for it. Fuck that; we need a well-educated populace. If we want a nation composed of poorly educated people working in virtual sweatshops to compete with an unlimited supply of both skilled and unskilled immigrants who drive dow

  • Methinks perhaps that the author of TFRA (the effin' referenced article) is very confused about the difference between vocational training (like refrigeration technology and automotive repair) and college education (like computer science and anthropology).
    .
    Vocation training entails learning the specifics about one technology as a depth-first traversal of that one particular topic.
    .
    A college education, whether you major in a liberal arts field or an engineering field or a hard science field, requires lea
    • by idontgno (624372)

      Meh. That argument was lost ages ago, and not just in technology fields.

      It's the difference between a degree in economics and a degree in accounting.

      And engineering has always leaned in the direction of vocation. Otherwise, engineering specializations like electrical engineering and civil engineering makes a lot less sense. And believe me. In no way am I trusting an electrical engineer to repair the levees a few miles from here.

  • I don't see the basis for a B.S. in Software Testing... it's not a broad enough discipline or practice

    Within a C.S. Curriculum, you would need to take the core courses - applicable pretty much anywhere...including
    - Data Structures
    - Compilers

    and a number of electives. All the relevant math courses... including Calc. I, Calc II, Discrete Math, Linear Algebra, probability, statistics, and others...

    I see software testing fitting in a as a possible elective after all 2nd and probably most 3rd year/required cours

  • I'm guessing that a fair part of the readership here are creative developers, who specialize in finding solutions, elegant code, clever hacks, etc.
    For those of us, testing sucks. The "fun" is in finding that it can be solved, actually solving the problems to the satisfaction of happy users is deadly dull.

    What a degree or certificate in Software Testing would do is help properly select for the type of nit-picking douchebags that are capable of sinking their teeth into an intractable bug, and making sure it

    • I've worked with people like you. You think you're 'so creative', we should thank you when you drop a steaming pile into source control.

      Hint: It has to work in all cases. Not just the single one you were working on when you found your 'clever hack'. Coding is always going to be a little 'nit pickey', nature of the job. Get used to it or get used to your changes getting backed out.

  • pushing human culture forward; fostering the next new thing; getting humans out of the stone age; ensuring that the next generation of humans knows more than the previous one. It's not about job training.

  • I'm getting pretty sick of everyone shoving specific job stuff into undergraduate programs (this has gone out of control lately in my home state, to the extent that the new Governor has been caught agreeing with some local nutcases that some liberal arts programs should not be part of the state university system just because they don't obviously lead to jobs). We have a place for job-related courses. It's called Community College. I've noticed that some folks with bachelor's degrees have been taking very sp
  • I'd say a course specializing in testing procedures would be excellent. I'd even go so far as to say it should be part of the required curriculum. But I'd say an entire major in this would be overkill. It might even limit future career growth.
  • That is what they are there for among other things. I was one quite some time ago and even then much of that was included.

    However, I get where you are coming from, some of the advanced testing might be missing. This is gained from work experience.

    The main problem isn't education, it is a corporate culture that has testing as an after thought. Usually rushed, and basically garbage. So yeah, if you hire a bunch of inexperienced low paid labor to do all your testing, then look out. Additionally project lengths

  • Software testing is a component of Software Engineering and need not be a separate major. Fragmenting Computer Science into too many sections is not an advantage. I see Software Engineering as the applied science arm of Computer Science and therefore encompass Software Testing.

  • Come on.

    Software engineers seldom get the chicks.

    You think software TESTERs are going to do any better?

    Colleges offer majors to address a market. How big is the market of high school juniors slavering to become testers?

    How about ZERO?

    • Most of the QA engineers I know (even the good ones) got into QA through tech support. It's simply a natural step up if you succeed in tech support and are looking for a better job. It's not a job that anyone really aspires to, it's just a decent job that you might enjoy doing if it's already in your career path.
  • From TFS:

    No more crossing your fingers that this eager young face in front of you can really pick up those skills

    Sorry, but that's the case with any inexperienced new graduate, regardless of the major. You simply can't tell from a diploma alone whether or not someone is going to succeed.

  • and there are no majors for that in college, either. Quality has always been assumed in engineering. CS, if its associated with the College of Engineering, has simply adopted this blind eye to Quality. I dunno why.

    andy

  • we need to rethink the old college system and not stack more on to it with out changing some stuff at the base level.

    IT / TECH needs to have some kind of apprenticeship system and at least some kind of tech / trades school / badges system that is not a fixed 4+ years plan loaded without all the filler and fluff that comes with the old college system.

    also the curriculum and the teachers in college can be far from real work settings with lots of theory that can be very top level or very low level (in places

  • One of the concerns I had as a hiring manager was the narrow overspecialization of the candidates I interviewed. I cannot guarantee that the work assignments six months from now will match the criteria on a candidate's resume today. Hiring them solely on the needs I have today would be a mistake.

    I disagree with the conclusion of the article that we need yet more specialization. That said, I do agree with an issue hinted in the text: hiring managers can be lazy and cowardly. Instead of seeking candidates t

  • I own a (very small) company specialised in testing. The thing is, the craft itself is very much in development. There are methods such as ISTQB and TMAP. These are however under heavy debate by the concept driven test 'school' as too commercial and outdated. So what would you teach them? Perhaps BBST? [testingeducation.org]

    Regardless, the motto of my company is that you can teach a technically trained/educated person how to test. But it is much harder to teach someone trained in testing to be a technician. And there is a big dem

  • by oneiros27 (46144) on Monday May 06, 2013 @07:15PM (#43648741) Homepage

    About 9 years ago, I applied for a job at a community college -- I even got a haircut, as it was a management type position. My reason -- the position would have some say over curriculum development.

    Just like there's no structured job training for 'software tester' there's also none for 'system admin'. Yes, there are certificate courses, but how do you know if someone breezed through it, or just managed to pass it after taking it 12 times? Some of the best sysadmins I know had degrees that had nothing to do with IT. Some were problem solving (engineering, sciences), others were drop outs (one worked construction for years).

    The only ones I know who have certifications are either (1) completely useless; (2) do consulting work or (3) did it because their job required it or promised them a promotion for it. For Oracle DBAs, class #1 wins.

    Some of the best sysadmins I know worked progressively more difficult jobs, more like you'd expect in the trades than in university education, but don't have some piece of paper from some institution claiming they actually know anything.

    My hope was to pull those taking comp.sci courses, recruit those that had the right personalities for the work, and build up an internal pool of candidates, have 'em work various jobs maintaining the local systems, then place 'em in the various businesses / government agencies in the area (DC metro).

    But I never called back for that interview ... oh well ... maybe it's for the best. I still think that community colleges and the like are better for this sort of thing -- 2 years to completion vs. 4 means that you can better respond to the needs of the prospective employers. And some of these tasks are just better taught on the job rather than than sitting in a class reading books about the perfect implementation (that will take forever to build or be too expensive).

You have a tendency to feel you are superior to most computers.

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