Software testing requires much more than just playing video games or using pre-release versions of office applications. According to the American Society for Quality, quality assurance (QA) professionals must understand how to:
- develop complex use cases for software based on customer needs,
- schedule routine software audits over the course of a product's development,
- communicate complex issues and opportunities to both software engineers and marketing professionals,
- implement multiple testing methods to duplicate or clarify results, and
- resolve conflict between competing stakeholders during the QA process.
Software testing and quality assurance courses help IT professionals bridge the gaps in their professional development between development, communication, and project management. For experienced business veterans, the right training program can help bring Six Sigma and other quality measurement philosophies into the technology realm. Likewise, longtime IT workers can use quality assurance courses to understand the rigorous goals of industry and international business compliance programs.
Ideal Candidates for Software Testing Courses
Software testing courses can help business process managers from other industries break into the lucrative information technology market. According to research conducted by Foote Partners, the IT industry adds one to two new jobs for every ten positions eliminated in other parts of the economy. Familiarity with Six Sigma and ISO quality measurement protocols can prepare aspiring IT workers to apply their skills as technology auditors and project managers.
Quality assurance training can also help veteran software developers tasked with adapting to new programming environments. Agile programming and lean software development styles both integrate quality assurance into their shorter coding cycles. Instead of favoring long development periods punctuated by software testing, companies that have adopted agile and lean methodologies require developers to adjust features and functions on the fly, based on test results. Quality assurance courses help developers anticipate and avoid challenges among end users.
Employers Seeking Applicants with Quality Assurance Training
Major shifts in the software development profession have created new opportunities for graduates of quality assurance courses. Though many of the industry's jobs remain concentrated around Silicon Valley, large companies from a variety of industries have brought application development in-house to reduce reliance on outside vendors. Likewise, new distribution channels have given rise to a wave of small software development companies that build niche products for select clients. A backlash against offshoring development jobs contributes to the demand for software testing professionals from coast to coast.
Types of Software Testing Training
Most quality assurance courses use standards developed in conjunction with the ASQ and with other industry certification bodies who set guidelines for QA professionals. IT degree programs and training courses can count toward the years of industry experience required for candidates to qualify for the ASQ's Software Quality Engineer certification. However, most software testing professionals invest in ongoing professional development by enrolling in courses that complement their degrees and their experience.
Online software testing courses leverage the nature of the work by enabling students to complete assignments from work or from home, without disrupting personal or professional commitments. Students who respond better to classroom training can enroll in either campus-based degree programs or lab-oriented courses offered at convenient career centers. Some training programs mix both online learning with hands-on group assignments that expose students to real world scenarios. Regardless of the course delivery method, students can use formal training to affirm their skills with demanding hiring managers who see QA as the last line of defense against customer problems.