Ajoy Kumar Singha
I have been planning this post for a long time. For those who do not know – I teach software testing on weekends. I have reserved a room at my home for training purpose. In the beginning of 2009, I met a guy online. He was looking for training institute in Delhi. He was fresh out of B.Tech College and was interested in software testing. He asked me if I could suggest a good institute in Delhi. I knew lots of institutes which trained people on software testing. I suggested few institutes near his locality. After few days, he contracted me back and informed that one particular institute was asking for Rs. 40,000/- for a three months training. I enquired about the course content and found that it was nothing but some theory classes with session on 2-3 branded automation tools. I offered to teach him the same content free of cost and he would pay me only Rs. 3000/- when he landed in a testing job. That’s how he became my first student. He is now working in a reputed organization and performing very well there. I did not take any fee from him because that’s how I started teaching software testing on weekends.

There are 100s of institutes in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida offering software testing. I do not mind more institutes offering software testing or any other courses. But I want to highlight few basic problems that these institutes have –

1. Trainers – The trainers teaching software testing in these institutes are less experienced or have never tested software in real life. It is also unlikely that they left their full time software testing job and started teaching. I sometimes doubt that they are teaching in institutes because they are not able to clear software testing interviews to get into a full time testing job. How much do you expect to learn from these guys?

2. High Fee – The fee charged by these institutes are very high compared the quality of training they provide to the trainees. Remember the fee includes their high advertisement cost, air conditioned class rooms, and salary for that good looking receptionist at the front desk.

3. Quality of Content – I really don’t want to comment on this. What they (most of them) teach is few definition based/theoretical concepts and few lectures on record and playback features of branded automation tools. They never put trainees on actual projects or ask them to do hands on testing. How will student learn to test actual software if they do not get any real project to work on?

4. Fake Experience Certificate – I can bet most of the training institutes that I know provides fake experience certificates to their students with few extra thousand rupees. They help background verification process; provide appointment letters, visiting cards, fake official email id, salary slips and even identity cards. The training institutes are not entirely responsible for this. This process of faking experience is also fuelled by bad hiring methods that we have in our industry. Some how these institutes are polluting our testing community by providing fake experience certificates to badly trained software testers.

5. Placement Assurance (Assistance) – Few institutes claim to provide 100% guarantee (or in a legally correct nomenclature 100% placement assurance). LOL. No institutes in this world can guarantee 100% placements for their students. How come these institutes are promising 100% placement assurance? Do not believe in their fake promise.

Then how is my class different from other institutes?

1. We are a group of testers who are working in organizations, doing testing from the day we joined those organizations. We are testers by choice. We attend testing conferences and interact with lots of testers and try to learn from them. We have tested various software, applications and products. We write blogs and follow other testers’ blogs. We are the people behind a monthly software testing magazine called Testing Circus. We have a full time testing jobs and if we want to change jobs we believe it will not be a tough job for us. We are fully committed to our Monday to Friday jobs and we teach only on Weekends.

2. Our fee is nominal and we even teach for free. We do not have decorated class rooms and air conditions. We have our laptops and a white board and lots of hands on exercise for you to practice. No receptionist and no sign boards. Our classes are in drawing rooms/basements of abandoned shops etc.

3. Content is mostly practical oriented. Less definitions, more hands on exercise. Practical projects and bug hunting sessions. We encourage our students to join Weekend Testing and uTest.com etc. As a bonus we also train students to improve communications skills – both verbal and non-verbal. We have trained students, who once attended other institutes with huge course fee and did not find satisfactory learning, joined our training. They are now placed in India’s top 5 software services companies.

4. A big NO to fake experience certificate. We do not and we cannot provide any document which may prove that our students are experienced in testing. We do not provide even course completion certificate. However, we ask students to mention in their resumes that they have learnt testing from us.

5. We do not promise 100% placement. It is entirely the responsibility of students to hunt for a job. We do inform students where vacancy exists and where they should or should not apply (yes, there are few companies where do not want our students to work). Fortunately or because of our teaching style, most of our students get placed before they even finish their course. Few organizations even contact us if we have students ready who can work for their organizations. I am not lying.

I have emphasized this earlier also. We, the experienced testers, should start teaching students. There is huge demand for testing trainings. The fake teachers and fake institutes are spoiling this market. They are helping injecting more fake testers into testing industry. We must stop this.

Teaching testing along with your full time job means screwing your weekends. If you are reading this blog, the chances are that you might be the one who can spend an hour in weekend for teaching. The fake teachers in fake institutes anyway do not read blogs.