CompTIA Expands IT-Ready Training Portfolio
Tech industry association CompTIA has been piloting a series of IT-Ready classes for aspiring IT professionals in the Twin Cities of Minnesota since 2013. Their continuing goal remains to prepare new workers for help desk positions, and to groom them for later work in the areas of networking and cybersecurity.
CompTIA's pet 501(c)(3) charity, Creating IT Futures, has been driving this bus since it first got on the road five years ago. Starting in April, 2018, the group will be launching a new free training class called IT-Ready QA.
What's Up with IT-Ready QA?
The new class sits students down for eight weeks of full-time classroom instruction. The idea is to equip those students with the basic skills needed to work as a software tester. By the time June rolls around, and the class concludes, those students should possess a basic grasp of what's involved in testing and supporting software throughout its life cycle.
Those same students will also become better-versed in principles of test design, risk management, agile development, and best practices for testing mobile software.
Creating IT Futures CEO Charles Eaton provided some thought-provoking statements in his contribution to the CompTIA Press Release announcing this new offering. Here's what he had to say:
"We've launched the tech careers of more than 400 students in the Twin Cities alone through our IT-Ready program. Now we're expanding upon that training and offering a new class for software testers." He went on to explain the potential significance of this expansion of the Creating IT Future curriculum, which has hitherto focused exclusively on basic skills and knowledge for entry-level help or support desk personnel.
"Software testing is a critical part of today's software development industry. Careful destruction of software can be just as valuable as brilliant creation, and in our software testing curriculum, students will learn the best practices for breaking software and squashing bugs."
What's So Great About Software Testing?
Once they leave the classroom, Creating IT Futures works with graduates to connect them with local employers. So far, their track record is pretty impressive: 88 percent of IT-Ready students complete the programs they start, and 86 percent are placed into full-time jobs. Here's where things get interesting, when software testing jobs come into the picture.
Students who complete this class should be, in the words of the press release, "uniquely prepared to take on an entry-level position as a Software QA analyst or automation engineer." Turns out that salaries for such jobs with 0-2 years of on-the-job experience average more than $65,000 annually nationwide.
Students in the new IT-Ready class train for a test to earn three certs from the American Software Testing Qualifications Board (ASTQB.org):
Thankfully, students in these classes also get important soft skills training, too. These include coverage of professional communication and presentation skills, teamwork and collaboration, plus critical thinking and problem solving skills.
I'm grateful to see such coverage included, because I believe soft skills to be as important as hard, technical skills for all IT pros. Perhaps nowhere is that more true, however, than for entry-level workers trying to figure out how to cope in the workplace as well as grappling with the nuts-and-bolts of "doing the job."
The Twin Cities IT-Ready QA class will probably be the first of many. Other IT-Ready locations currently include (in alphabetical order): Atlanta, Charlotte, Cincinatti, Columbus, Dallas, NYC, Portland, and Washington, DC.
Students in or near other IT-Ready cities should keep an eye on their website for information about future expansion of this offering.