The post derived out of a frustrating discussion with a tester who thought that formal education was not required for testing. In other words, his views were, that anyone can test. Just so you are aware, this tester was ISTQB certified.
I am not sure whether that mindset has completely changed or not in general. I reckon that in the wider IT perspective this particular way of thinking has not changed yet. Last week when Michael Bolton was in Hong Kong; we got few hours discussing all that and it was also one of the points that we spoke about. However, the thinking within testing communities has started changing. I think the seed was sown long time ago when people like Cem Kaner & James Bach began spreading the word about testing education through their excellent work. We can surely feel the wind of change now.
It’s almost three years since I wrote this after the discussion that I mentioned above:
“Testing education is still considered as a non-essential item by the academics and the industry. Except from CSTER, which had support from Florida Tech, I never heard of any other institute having testing in their course curriculum. Please correct me if I am wrong.
You may refer me to some of the companies which provide software testing training and certifications. Do you think those are dedicated to training & education, or they are doing it for making profits? I am not against making money, but the objective of education simply gets lost as soon as you focus on money matters.”
The Extinction of Dinosaurs
For some reason, I still meet people who consider testing as a boring & repetitive task which does not require skills. Many of these people reside outside of testing’s sphere of influence, but there are people within testing community who also have the same belief as other ignoramuses. Do you count that they will become dinosaurs soon? Dinos not in terms of size, in terms of extinction.
I believe so!
Things are changing in testing world very quickly. Skilled testers are in demand. Companies have started hiring testers who are literate and have access to outer testing world. They have also started realizing the importance of testing education and training.
The spread of CDT in Australasia
Until few years ago, hardly any of my Australian & NZ friends knew about Context Driven testing. It was all about ISTQB certification. There is a major shift in focus about testing learning in couple years. There is solid work being done by testing evangelists like Anne-Marie Charrett, Erik Petersen (who is also a great friend), David Greenlees, Brian Osman and others. I am sure you are aware of Tasting Let’s Test conference (http://lets-test.com/?page_id=1853) and OZWST (http://ozwst.wordpress.com/).
In the first week of June, I was one of the speakers at Australasian Software Engineering Conference (ASWEC2013) where I talked about practicality of test estimation process. Again, I see it as part of CDT community’s effort of advancing the knowledge of testing that makes sense.
My arrival in Hong Kong
When I first arrived in Hong Kong few years ago, I was disappointed to see the state of testing here. With AST’s support, I was able to bring other test professionals together and in the last two years, there have already been over four or five testing workshops and conferences. Hong Kong government has even included promotion of Software Testing Industry as one of the agenda items in their development plans for IT industry. There are also talks about including testing in University curriculum. And I have had personal discussions with people accountable for setting up those curriculum at universities. There is an air of optimism!
Singapore CDT team
Another prominent place is Singapore where Keith Klain started awareness about CDT and now Leah Stockley is taking it forward. They just had a very successful testing conference on June 18. Not to forget PerScholas!
I will not mention India where my friends like Pradeep have already taken testing to another level.
Outlook is Positive! There is a wind of change in testing world in the recent time. I remember my early days when testers were considered children of a lesser God. Testers are no longer lower paid resources. Many of us make more money than our counterparts in other IT departments including development. Now testers are seen as doing meaningful work, not boring & repetitive tasks. This paradigm shift is not a resultant of change in technology world, it’s a cause of awakening within testing community. We have started respecting ourselves and valuing the education more than we did before.
I am sure ‘formal testing education’ and ‘skilled tester’ will not be unknown or uncommon phrases soon. The reality is that the collective effort by CDT community has started bearing fruit.