I’m sure you all know the dilemma; its summer, nice weather, your boss tells you to take a few weeks off and as a result you sit there without any good testing to fill your days. What to do?
Luckily, this year I had prepared up front by signing up for the Black Box Software Testing course by the Association for Software Testing (AST). So during July I had the pleasure of exercising my brain cell instead of just drowning it in beer and fatty things found on the grill. One step further on the path to tester greatness 😀
Now, If you haven’t been paying attention you might be asking yourself “WTF is AST?”… and that is somewhat understandable; As they are a non-profit organisation, they don’t have the same budget for lobbying and advertising as the better know purely-for-profit organisations providing certifications for testers.
From the web site of AST:
The Association for Software Testing is a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to advancing the understanding and practice of software testing. The AST serves a community of scholars, students, and software development practitioners by providing forums for discussion of all aspects of software testing through conferences, publications, web sites, and other services.
The strength of this course, in my opinion, is clearly the discussions, group assignments and peer reviews (we even reviewed and graded each others exams as part of the training). This accommodates for much better and deeper learning than say sitting for two days memorizing the correct answers for a multiple choice questionnaire.
Thanks to our helpful instructors Becky, Selena and Michael who gave us feedback and helped clarify any questions during the course I think most of the students had a good time. The information page at the AST website states that one should expect to spend at least 8 hours per week on the course. I think “at least” should be emphasized with even bolder font than it is because you can easily end up putting much more time in, especially if your fellow students enjoy a good discussion. Personally I think I spent at least 60 hours and then I was offline a lot during week 3.
I certainly enjoyed the course and even though it was a foundation course, and after testing for about nine years I woulda been a bit embarrassed if I found it to be full of surprises, it was stimulating experience with a lot of interesting discussions. It’s really healthy to hear others views and opinions now and again, and I seriously consider signing up for the next course in the series.
Thank you to the creators, instructors and fellow students who helped me keep that cell in shape over summer.