I’ve already reviewed 2016 in a previous blog post and it’s now time to look forward to a new year.
I expect I’ll make it to a few testing conferences (as usual) during the year, kicking off quite soon with the first CAST to be held outside of North America, the CASTx conference in Sydney. I’m looking forward to seeing some AST folks there as well as catching up with familiar faces from the Australia/New Zealand testing community – and hopefully making some new connections too. I have no conference speaking commitments lined up for 2017 yet, but that’ll probably change.
There will also inevitably be various work trips to cover the major offices to which my responsibilities extend, so at least West Coast US, China and Czech Republic are likely stamps in the diminishing free pages of my passport.
I’m most excited about a new community project I’m working on in 2017 with Paul Seaman. We had both been looking for an opportunity to give back to the community in some way and a lucky meeting with the good folks from the not-for-profit EPIC Assist organization has provided us with just that. EPIC Assist has a division called Recruit Assist, which does great work in matching candidates with employers, specifically candidates with disabilities who cannot or chose not to utilize Disability Employment Services.
We approached EPIC with the idea of running a software testing course so that they could potentially find new client companies in the IT sector who would have access to good candidates with a solid software testing training already behind them. It was pleasing to see how open EPIC were to the idea and, long story short, we expect to start the first run of our software testing training programme – to be known as the EPIC TestAbility Academy – very soon. (Note that EPIC Recruit Assist will be funding the costs of the programme, such as venue hire, etc., while Paul and I are offering our professional services on a voluntary basis.)
EPIC will source candidates on the autism spectrum to participate in the programme. Putting together the course and delivering it will be a huge challenge for both Paul and me, requiring us to build an understanding of the best ways to interact with the candidates and being sympathetic to their distinct learning style. While we both have considerable experience in presenting training to groups (Paul as a teacher in a past life), we expect there to be humps in the road with these groups and we both expect to learn a lot along the way.
I’m not setting success criteria around the work with EPIC Recruit Assist at this stage. It’ll be great if most of the students who start the first course make it through to the end, if there’s some engagement and maybe we inspire a few students to want to consider a career in testing or IT in general. If we manage to find genuine software testing employment for one or more of the students, that would be a fantastic achievement both for the student and for us as teachers of the material. We couldn’t do any of this without the support of EPIC Recruit Assist, of course, and their positive attitude from day one and their belief that Paul & I could do this have been very humbling.
I’ll blog more on ETA as the programme kicks off and we have experiences to share. It’s time to give back and this challenge will no doubt be a highlight of 2017.
(My friend and testing partner in this initiative, Paul Seaman, has also blogged about this new venture.)