How to Build an Effective Training Program for Software Testers

Recently, members of the software testing discipline at Fusion Alliance put together some software testing training material for new hires and existing employees in the discipline. This training is rather flexible and allows each individiual to go through the training at their own pace or while they are on the bench in between projects. This keeps the skills of our test consultants sharp and fresh. However, I personally think this training is most valuable for the new hires who might not be familiar with software testing techniques or the testing concepts that we believe have been proven to be successful. Most of all, this program allows us to grow our Sofware Testing discipline without waiting for the “perfect” candidate to walk through the door or to be found by our recruiters.

What should this training program look like?

1. Content should be easy to understand.

This allows those new to the testing discipline to easily understand the basic concepts. However, the content should build upon itself and become more advanced and complex as the trainee advances through the program. 

2. Make the program accessible (preferrably via the Internet or company’s intranet).

This allows the trainee to access the program from anywhere and work at their own pace.

3. Make sure the content is diverse. 
 

The content should not only include technical material (e.g., testing techniques) but also soft skill material (e.g., consulting skills, including interviewing skills, communication skills, and etiquette).

4. Ensure that the content is relevant.

Including “tried-and-true” techniques that are still useful is OK, but make sure you include some material that applies to cutting-edge technologies as well.

5. Make sure the program forces the trainee to apply the knowledge they are gaining in some way (e.g., quizzes and exercises).

Reading about a particular topic is never enough. Give the trainee an opportunity to apply the concepts they are learning. You must walk before you can run and falling is envitable. Just remember: Failure in training is a lot less damaging than failure at the client site.

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