A quick blog on a thought I have had.
I read an article today about how we could try and fix the IT skills gap that exists within the UK, this may also apply around the world, by getting young adults into apprenticeships. I have a view that for some people academia study is not for them and they would better suited to a vocational training course instead of a university degree. I never went to university and as such I do not have a degree. Do I feel as if I have missed out? I do not think so but I have not experienced university life so cannot be sure if I missed out something I may have liked.
I think within our profession of testing we have an opportunity to mentor and help create the next generation of testers (not discounting coders, architects) and allowing them to build their skills and knowledge up by learning from experience rather than studying non relevant subjects at university (How many universities do testing as a degree?) As Nassim Nicholas Taleb has said we as human beings are far better at learning from doing rather than from books. I have over the past year been mentoring two people in our craft of testing one is still on-going the other has managed to secure a tester role within a company, neither have been involved in testing beforehand. I feel we within our community should be trying to do this and encourage young adults by maybe taking them under our tutorage, it does not require a large amount of personal investment, a few hours per week. Or maybe within our companies we should all start looking at trying to introduce apprenticeship schemes, let’s try to tap into this vast resource who in my opinion feels they have been abandoned by the educational system.
On the other side I want to call out to those who run conferences, EuroSTAR, CAST, Lets test, UNICOM and say let’s advertise for young adults who may have an interest to come along as an apprentice for the length of the conference. They would not pay a fee but would be expected to produce a report on their thoughts and what actions they intend to take away for the future. I am have not finalized these thoughts but it would give these young adults to get engagement in a craft which I myself feel very passionate about.
Maybe the organizations that run the conferences could look at running an apprenticeship competition, vetting process. I am sure there are many vocational colleges (Both UK and around the world) who would be willing to get involved in this. It has the added effect that it will start to raise in the minds of the next generation of influential people the value of testing and put testing out there as a forwarding thinking craft that people want to get involved with.
What do others think?
I would especially love some feedback from conference organizers to see how feasible these ideas are.