Turnbull High School Visit
On Thursday 11th May, Cécile Robb and I visited Turnbull High School in Bishopbriggs to talk to their incoming 3rd year computing class about Software Testing as a career option.
We ran three sessions for 15-20 students each through the day with a presentation, an observation test which won the most observant an Edge Testing mug (hotly contested!), and a number of group exercises for the students to work on at their computers. A quick straw poll at the start of each session confirmed that no one really knew that Software Testing was a career (although one or two students pointed out that it was logical that some testing had to happen before things were released to live!).
The presentation covered what software testing is, why it’s important, what the different levels of objectivity are (and why it’s more valid to have the teacher mark your homework than to mark it yourself!), and what sort of things software testers do day-to-day. The students were quite interested in how many computer games I’ve tested over my career (sadly none, unless you count checking how group policy affected Spider Solitaire save locations) and started realising that quite often programmes, apps and websites are released to the public without much testing first.
The students were quick to understand why it’s important that an app or website is tested before it goes out to the end users – that a bad website can cause a brand damage and a bad app will just be uninstalled and the money spent developing it will be lost – and they asked some very smart questions about why a company would not want to ensure the quality of their product was as high as it could be.
We worked through a number of group exercises that got the students to act as software testers, looking at some specific websites, comparing their usability, look and feel, and looking for bugs. Several of the students were natural born testers – pointing out what they felt were very obvious problems with the sites as soon as they clicked on them, and asking “but why?” about the way the sites were designed.
At the end of the day the white board was covered in posters listing all the observations and defects the students found on the websites – from broken links to mis-sized images and unreadable text - and the students made some strong recommendations that the majority of the sites they’d tested shouldn’t be released as they are!
We asked again at the end of each session how many of the students were maybe considering a career in software testing, and quite a few of the students are now thinking that it could maybe be the career for them.
By Claire Anderson, Senior Test Analyst at Edge Testing