Wellington launches training institution to boost junior IT numbers

A new training institution in Wellington aims to increase the numbers of junior IT testers and to improve standards.

A new training institution in Wellington aims to increase the numbers of junior IT testers and to improve standards.

The iqacademy was set up last year by testing firm IntegrationQA with a focus on attitude and aptitude rather than a degree.

Managing director Chris Wellington, who founded the company five years ago, says there is a real shortage of testers in the market.

Also, he says, quality standards are low but the shortage means junior testers are commanding high rates.

“It's quite substandard and there is thus client dissatisfaction,” he says.

For example, a tester with perhaps two years experience is receiving upwards of $85 an hour - testing may make up as much as one-third of the cost of an IT project.

Wellington set up iqacademy last February and Paul Franey, who is the academy manager, worked for a similar organisation in the UK.

The intensive three-month training programme is a mixture of seminars, self-study and hands-on exercises with core subjects including SQL, web services and soft skills.

Also covered are the basics of practical manual testing, automated testing and testing/development methodologies.

Franey says the initial applicants ranged in age from 20 to 40, with some wanting to change their skill set.

According to Franey, applicants were put through a rigorous three-part selection process, narrowing down the initial intake to just 16 and in the second intake there were 180 applicants which begins training in July.

Upon successful completion of the programme, participants commence a two-year work placement as a junior test analyst.

The on-site placement option is a standard resource type where the person is contracted to work from the client site; a test lab placement means the person is hosted at out offices and accesses the client systems remotely.

Franey says placements are charged out, initially, at $45 an hour with the academy identifying potential clients looking for junior resource test analysts.

Franey says the main goal of the academy is to develop and introduce a new breed of tester into the IT industry.

“These testers will have an instrumental role in shaping the future for high quality software testing and solution delivery,” he adds.

IntegrationQA employs around 35 staff and its major clients include Vodafone and Kiwibank, it also sits on several all-of-government panels.

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