A new initiative coming from the White House’s Summer Jobs+ program has been developed to train a new workforce in high-tech skills and create tech jobs for American youth between the ages of 16 and 24. The goal of SummerQAmp is to introduce software testing as a potential career path to American youth who are unaware of the opportunity by allowing them to gain valuable work experience as summer interns at software companies.

The goal as framed from the organizers early on was to offer apprenticeships in QA to those who might never get opportunities to work in various Technology fields. The program organizers envisioned that this internship would act as a gateway to other careers like software development. However, the software testing community responded and most questioned the way the program was framed and asked, “why not present software testing as a career path in its own right?”

The organizers of SummerQAmp listened and said that they too wanted to see software testing as its own career path, and asked if AST would be willing to lead the educational portion of the program. AST’s board of directors discussed this opportunity and felt it was within AST’s mission and vision and was important to the future of testing. The board of directors asked the Education SIG (EdSig) to lead this effort and create an educational and training program for SummerQAmp.

Even thought we have a lot of great material from BBST it may be above the abilities of the target age group. So much of this programs content will be created from scratch. The areas of the most benefit for this program will be those that help frame testing as an important part of the software development process, one that encourages exploration, collaboration with stakeholders, and critical thinking. We also want to instill the importance of the context-driven principles and make the distinction between best practices and good practices in context. We want to highlight the importance of being an advocate for the customer, and provide insight into the true value of testing. Finally, we want to focus on skill building and how this leads to great testing. Ultimately, we want the students in this program to enjoy and embrace the creative and dynamic world of software testing and see it as a career for them in the future.

If this sounds like a monster initiative, it is! There is no way we could do it on our own, but we know there are members and thought leaders out there with experiences they might want to share and are willing to help with this program. So what do you say? Are you interested in helping the next generation of software testers? What do you would wish people told you when you first started testing? What skills do you think a new tester needs? Would you be willing to talk about and demonstrate these concepts?

This is your chance to make a difference! Help us show off the value and fun of software testing to the next generation by joining the EdSig and the SummerQAmp movement. They need us, and frankly, we need them!

If you are a member you can get involved by joining our forums or by contacting our EdSig chair at larsenmsk@gmail.com.