Is what is being taught in the Cape Peninsula University of Technology relevant in the testing industry?
The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) is a tertiary institution of higher learning and technology. The institution’s main goal is towards education and innovation in the technology sector. CPUT’s mission is to become the best tertiary institution of technology in Africa.
On the other side, “Testing is a systematic exploration of a component or system with the main aim of finding and reporting defects.” (Hambling B., 2016) Testing does not include the correction of defects; instead, errors and defects are passed on to the developer to correct. Testing ensures that changes and corrections are checked for their effect on other parts of a component or system. This literature review serves to answer the following question, ‘Is what is being taught in the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) relevant in the testing industry?
The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) offers various undergraduate and post-graduate courses in the Engineering, and the Information and Communication Technology fields. The sole course in CPUT’s Engineering field which involves some form of testing is Computer Systems. Computer Systems is an engineering based course where computer systems are engineered, considering all necessary components that make up a computer system such as the hardware, firmware, operating system, software, utilities, and databases.
Testing in this course is not handled on its own but is integrated with some aspects of computer systems. As an example; when students in computer systems engineer software and software utilities, testing comes into play right before the computer system is about to be deployed. The testing activity in this field serves to make sure that the system behaves according when integrated with other computer system components and does not crash unexpectedly during operation.
In the Information and Communication Technology field; the Higher Certificate in Information and Communication Technology, the National Diploma, Bachelor’s Degree, Masters, and Honours in; Application/Software Development, Communication Networks, Multimedia, as well as Information Technology Management involve to the minimum some form of testing as well. Testing alongside its different kinds, as a course on its own is not offered CPUT. Testing is merely offered as a topic in each of the courses.
The Information and Communication Technology’s Application/Software Development course is mainly focused towards application development using industry recognized practices, programming languages and frameworks. The course has analysis attached to it where business requirements are scrutinized and captured. Software that best meets the examined business requirements is then selected from a list of pre-existing software or developed bearing in mind that each stage of this process has to be tested for correctness.
Design also form a part of software development where software is developed in a certain kind of way, considering certain design rules. After creation, the design is tested for precision but then this testing process is only implemented right before the end. Software development, which is the main focus of the course, consists of some form of testing as to ensure that the applications which are being developed by students meet their purpose.
Similarly, the Information and Communication Technology’s Communication Networks, Multimedia, as well as Information Technology Management encompass minimal testing, which is mostly right at the end of their respective processes. Communication Networks primarily concentrates on network creation, network tools, maintenance, as well as being able to discern and employ diverse networks. Multimedia predominantly centres its course on design and different aspects of design.
Testing in multimedia projects and assessments is the last task. It usually manifests when considering whether certain design rules and principles have been met when designing audio and video advertisements, business cards, billboards etc. In Information Technology Management, testing manifests where the processes employed to manage and to produce the desired information from raw data. Testing in this course tests that students produce efficient, reliable, and quality information.
As of current, the major focus in the testing industry is centred on automation testing. This is brought by several progressions in the test automation field. The test automation field makes use of agile testing methodologies which allow for improved mobile testing, big data testing, as well as cloud testing. Software development and testing companies embrace automation testing using agile testing methodologies because of this reason.
Another popular trend in the testing industry is mobile testing. It is perceived by experts that mobile testing will remain at the test automation trends because of the remarkable shift in the adoption of mobile devices and technology in business. Mobile application testing has an undeniable influence in the testing industry which consists of functional, performance, compatibility, usability, and security testing as the major the major areas. Open source frameworks, mobile development operations, and mobile application markets help fuel the expansion in the mobile testing landscape.
Predictive analytics and the testing of big data is another relevant trend in the testing sphere. This is a result of the mere fact that device, applications, and networks create a huge amount of unstructured, broken data which ultimately leads to faulty and costly decisions if quality management is compromised. Predictive analytics and the testing of big data focus on quality assurance and quality management which remains one of the main goals of testing. As a result, businesses aim to develop means to predict whether certain application behaviour will generate customer demand or not.
Testing web services and SOA architectures is another relevant career path in the automation testing industry. This is so as to improve the end-to-end performance (from one computer node to another) of web applications. At present applications are complex, and are usually integrated with other systems which carry out equally important functionality to its clients and users. These complex integrations are today’s necessities that connect communities correctly and deliver the right, timely response. This is why many companies invest in SOA and web services test automation.
The automation of an entire Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is another relevant and still growing practice in the testing industry. Traditionally, the SDLC would be carried out in a manual fashion. Test developers, designers, and all relevant role players in the SDLC would carry out specific operations which saw to the completion of the stages in SDLC besides the maintenance stage which is continuous. With the presence of automation testing however, automating the SDLC means that unit tests, system tests, and integration tests all become automated operations. The advantage of this practice is that operations in the SDLC are being completed quicker. In addition, the solution is cost effective because the amount of money spend in hiring a teams of manual testers is reduced to a single team (depending on the size and complexity of the project), which is responsible for writing test scripts that will carry out the automation.
To conclude, 10% of what is taught in CPUT is relevant in the testing industry. The other 90% are practises and methodologies that have not yet been introduced in CPUT’s different course curriculums. This is because, the gap between what is currently offered to students and what is in the testing industry are worlds apart. At most, what is offered at CPUT is not relevant in the testing industry because CPUT is not test based. CPUT does not focus on testing as a subject/.module. This is a devastating fact considering that testing is the most important aspect of engineering, design, and development. Testing determines whether what has been engineered, designed, and developed is successful or not.
- B. Hambling 2016 Software Testing: An ISTQB-ISEB Foundation Guide