We are living in a beautiful world. Especially when you love change. Yes, a lot of things are changing the last few years. In our private lives, in business and in our tools. A smartphone today is just as powerful as a PC two years ago. All the information you require is available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That is beautiful, but also sometimes a little bit dangerous. The dependency and complexity of IT is increasing every year, perhaps even every month. Companies and individuals cannot perform without IT anymore. That’s why the demand concerning the quality of IT is also increasing. We can’t allow information systems to be unavailable anymore.
So, this is not really new but what must we do about it as a test community? How are we to be prepared for the future and stay successful as we are? What are the opportunities to get our next generation testers ready for takeoff? One of the opportunities is to invest in higher education by integrating a program on quality and testing in the existing IT curricula. A program where all aspects of quality and testing are taught. That butterfly has started to fly in our beautiful world.
In 2012 a working group form TestNet, the Dutch Testing Society(www.testnet.org) started to work on specialized quality / testing education for universities and universities of applied science. The working group consists of experts from the higher education and the industry.
The objective of the working group is to investigate the opportunity and feasibility of a quality / testing course in the Netherlands. The following sub-goals were defined:
- Gathering insight into the current situation of test curricula in higher education in the Netherlands (supply and demand);
- Drafting a proposal for a new curriculum;
- Drafting an implementation- and marketing plan.
Results up till now
What is the current status of the working group?
The first sub-goal: gathering insight into the current situation is finished. Response rate is around 30%. Still there is information coming available. As you see some elements of software testing are conducted especially in the second and fourth year. In the second year some basic elements are taught, while in the fourth year some specialties are taught like model based testing. A complete overview of the inventory is available via the website of the Dutch Testing Society.
The second major goal of the working group was the design of a new curriculum. The curriculum was compiled around the architecture layers, following the system development life cycle. Within this structure three competence levels were defined. For example, within the architecture layer business processes, process simulation as a quality measure is required when operating at competence level 3 in the design phase. The chosen structure follows the work of the European e-Competence Framework. The curriculum is split up into a:
- Book mark
- Generic module
- Elaborated architecture layer
- Literature list
Figure 1 Example architecture layers quality items
Figure 1 shows an example of one of the architecture layers.
The curriculum is put together via several workshops. All the input was gathered, evaluated and incorporated into the curriculum. The result is the curriculum as presented. The total curriculum is available via the website of the Dutch Testing Society. The curriculum is validated through special review sessions and several conferences the last two years.
The third major sub-goal is the implementation and marketing of the curriculum. This is also the most difficult sub-goal. Implementation will require a long time period. The working group starts in June 2014 with implementation and marketing activities. However several universities of applied science are working on implementing a quality / test program based on the work of the working group. The marketing campaign will consist out of presentations, site visits, development of learning material, flyers and a lot of energy to convince the community about the next step in the maturity of the quality and test discipline. For the implementation the working party has chosen for a two-step approach. First we will start at the universities of applied science and shift focus to research universities at a later stage.
Developing and implementing test education is a step which is absolutely necessary to be prepared for the challenges which we are facing in society. Increasing demands, complexity and new development methods like Agile which requires very broad skilled people, are but a few. Not only programming skills but also quality and testing skills are concerned. The promising future of the tester 3.0 is ready for takeoff. A nice side effect for the next 5-7 years is that not only skilled testers are coming to the market but new innovations as well. And an even more important development will be that a lot of research will be done as a part of the education in the quality / testing area.
Curious about the details? Please contact the working group via [email protected]