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Equipping students in software testing skills

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Training the trainer: College teachers from the disciplines of computer science and information technology getting hands-on training in software testing at Bharathiar University to equip students with software testing skills. — Photo: M. Periasamy
Training the trainer: College teachers from the disciplines of computer science and information technology getting hands-on training in software testing at Bharathiar University to equip students with software testing skills. — Photo: M. Periasamy

As per NASSCOM reports, the market for software services is growing at an average of 10 to 12 per cent per annum, while software testing is more than 50 per cent.

With the software testing industry showing great potential, the demand for software testers has shot up dramatically. This is evident from companies training fresh talent they recruit in software testing. Companies have started delineating functions like software support, functional testing, and operations management for the sake of cost efficiency.

This has led to a demand for non-engineering graduates from various disciplines.

Software testing as a subject is not offered by many institutions, both arts and science as well as technical. Those that offer do so at a very basic level with almost nil practical exposure to real-life testing. Realising the need to bridge the gap, Prakat Solutions Private Limited, Bangalore, has come up with a pilot project of offering a 20-hour capsule training to students from any discipline who wish to take it up in the ‘apprenticeship' mode.

This, it has decided, will not be directly done by the company, but by teachers. With such a motive, it has started its first training programme for nearly 60 teachers of affiliated colleges of Bharathiar University in Coimbatore and Erode.

The teachers, on completion of the four-day course, will become trainers in their respective colleges. Prakat plans to take the initiative forward by conducting such training progammes in other universities in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Abhik Biswas, one of the founders of Prakat, says that the programme is devised with the objective of making industry-ready software testers. Teachers from disciplines of computer science and information technology will train students who volunteer for the training. Once the students are trained, Prakat gives them real-life projects to work on for a monthly stipend.

The teachers become project leaders. A pool of students, drawn from various disciplines, will be created and each of them will be given projects based on their domain knowledge. For instance, a commerce student will be assigned to test a software related to accounts or banking, for testing his / her comprehension skills.

Once the students are able to do the basic testing, Prakat will offer them an advanced training online. This way, the students can continue enhancing his / her skills based on the level of comprehension. Accordingly, his / her projects too will become complex.

Students can work part-time on the project till they complete their course. Later on, they can decide to continue part-time or take it up full-time from wherever they are based.

“Developers do not test the software. They give it to companies for testing. Hence, the concept of ‘independent testing' is in vogue. Since, most of the IT-qualified persons want to be involved in developing; testing has always taken a back seat and has no takers. Now with greater demand, equipping students from all disciplines is an urgent need. Here, domain does not come into play. Only the techniques for testing are important,” asserts Mr. Biswas.

According to M. Jayakumar, Director, Department of Extension and Career Guidance, Bharathiar University, and convenor of the training, there is a conventional estimate that each teacher will train 50 students by the end of the year.

This is expected to enhance their employability and industry-readiness.


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