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March 1, 2017

Taylor High School Visit

Software testing is an ideal career for young people finishing school to envisage, as they have grown up using computers, mobile phones, tablets and game consoles. They will provide a wonderful workforce in the software industry, being experts in social networking, blogging, posting videos and looking for goods to purchase online. They are also very inquisitive.

Indeed, from the day we are born, we test everything that we can get our hands on, and we discover the world through cause and effect of the actions that we do: what happens if I drop this mug? What if I use my new felt tip pens on the wall? We are natural born testers. And so, the generation of young people coming out of school have grown up being testers.

 

Taylorhighschool

I used to be a High School French teacher, and one of my strategies for checking the pupils’ learning was to deliberately make mistakes on what I had just been teaching. The pupils absolutely loved to point out my errors, thereby proving that they had understood the lesson. Software testing would be a very rewarding profession for them to get into; they could have the pleasure of using their existing knowledge, as well as their immense capacity for absorbing more knowledge, to analyse a product, break it and give it back to its maker to get it fixed and working better. Quality is something that we all enjoy, so to be given the opportunity to partake in quality assurance is exciting. If only we could think of possible jobs that would just do that at the time when we have to start thinking about careers in high school.

This is why a group of twelve S5 pupils from Taylor High School were invited to visit the Edge Testing head office last week with their Information Technology teacher, who is already teaching them a unit on software testing in their computing class. As a former high school teacher I was designated to prepare and help deliver the session which included a presentation and a workshop. It was a strangely familiar, yet very enjoyable experience, and the pupils from Taylor High School certainly demonstrated great enthusiasm during our workshop. The presentation gave an overview of the wide variety of clients that Edge does testing for, of how software is tested before going live in the 'real world' and of the qualities required to work as a software tester. We had a range of activities that they all readily engaged into, starting with a spot-the-difference exercise to practise their attention to detail. They were also asked to write a step-by-step guide on how to put on a jacket, to illustrate the challenges faced by a tester when writing a series of instructions designed to report on an anomaly. Finally, they also analysed a website using an exploratory technique and had a practice of writing a defect report with instructions.

Time passed very quickly for both Edge staff delivering the workshop and for the pupils involved, with a very brief question time initiated by CEO Brian Ferrie, and ending in one of the pupils piping up from the back of the room “What’s for dinner?”. It puzzled me somewhat, coming from such a well-mannered group of youngsters. However, I discovered later that the unexpected question had been fired by the question master’s son. I might have missed a few details along the way – shame for a tester!

 

By Cecile Robb - Test Analyst, Edge Testing

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