March 2, 2008

Retraining the unskilled to code software

Posted by Ben Simo


I stumbled across a 46 year old newspaper article about how automation is changing business. The following statement caught my attention.


"Unskilled workers can then be retrained to handle peripheral jobs in the EDP system such as coding, card punching and so on."
Computor Invasion Scares The Unskilled,
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 1962



Times sure have changed. If retraining unskilled workers to code software was a viable option, then they must have been coding some pretty simple software. Maybe "coding" really refers to the process of entering code designed by someone else. Maybe "coding" meant data entry.

Regardless of what "coding" meant in 1962, computers and the software we create today are more complex than they were 46 years ago. It is too bad that some who would never think of coding as unskilled work still seem to think of testing as work for the not-so-well-skilled. Good developers and testers are good thinkers.

"You've got to be smarter to run a company with a computor than without one. The information on which you will base your decisions comes at you faster. If you're going to take advantage of this, you have to think faster, more decisively and more clearly."
- George Aitken, Vice-President and Comptroller,
Great West Life Assurance Co, 1962
Computor Invasion Scares The Unskilled

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1 Comment:

March 12, 2008  
Howard Clark wrote:

Since the time you initiated my blog with it's first comment Ben I've given a lot of thought to our little debate on the background a tester should have to be effective. I've worked with a lot of people from various backgrounds leaving me to come to a very similar conclusion about just being a good thinker. The elitist scientist in me was thinking too narrowly. While the sciences, mathematics, and the like attract good thinkers they do in fact exist outside of those areas and yet still are of great value to those areas, especially testing.

My mom used to tell me often T-H-I-N-K and you'll always have options and solutions at your disposal. So if it's good enough as a life lesson it's good enough for testing.