Testing Knows No Disabilities: Special Individuals Find a Niche
I recently had the opportunity to learn about MindSpark, an organization that provides cost-effective, high-quality testing services by leveraging individuals with specialized autistic abilities.
This is the brainchild of Chad Hahn, whose wife is trained in working with autistic people. The corporation is built on the fundamental principal that software testing is a learned skill and can be mastered by individuals with developmental disabilities who possess an average to high IQ and, more importantly, have the desire to prove their independence in the enterprise world.
These people hold many competencies that make them uniquely qualified for the testing profession:
- Strong analytical skills
- Attention to detail
- Ability to perform repetitive tasks with precision
- Strong sense of loyalty
- Ability to spot patterns and irregularities
- Interest in technology
Individuals with special skills selected by MindSpark go through six weeks of classroom training and two weeks of on-the job training. This is then followed by a three-month apprenticeship. Training is uniquely customized to build expertise to execute test cases efficiently, notice patterns, identify anomalies, and ensure that customers will get the highest quality software possible. Ongoing continuous education programs also are provided periodically.
After training through MindSpark, graduates can perform many types of testing, including functional, exploratory, regression, integration, mobile, and even automation, using tools such as Selenium. Domain is not a constraint, and these special testers have successfully executed projects across entertainment, media, insurance, and educational services.
An integrated learning environment is best for these autistic individuals. They work alongside neurotypical (not autistic) employees, who function as QA leads and interface with the client in requirements gathering, providing management, and oversight. The QA testers work in pairs, designing and executing test cases as well as performing regression testing, integration testing, exploratory testing, and defect management.
The testing industry stands to gain tremendously by harnessing the power of a huge pool of untapped abilities. Likewise, these special individuals also benefit because they have a chance to increase their independence, participate in the free enterprise system, and learn new skills and talents. This idea is truly a win-win situation.
For more information on MindSpark testing services, contact Chad Hahn at [email protected].