Software Testing Industry Session and Masterclass – Runshaw College and ROQ

Ian Bruce
Course Leader, Advanced Vocational IT

With a varied range of backgrounds and experience within my own teaching team, the need for upskilling and collaboration with industry is apparent.  T Levels bring with them a new challenge with practitioners needing to be ready to approach current and upcoming technologies in an industry that embraces change like no other.

When the opportunity arose to work with hugely successful local employer ROQ, Runshaw College saw it as an unmissable opportunity to work with an organisation at the cutting edge of industry.  For ROQ, the need to recruit new talent as they grow from strength to strength is clear and they are already working with universities to attract graduates and raise the profile of software testing as a career.  It is therefore a natural extension to expand this work to colleges through the Teach Too project.

ROQ is a key player in the software testing arena and we were privileged to be able to hear from one of the company’s founding directors on the day, Stephen Johnson, who took us through ROQ’s journey and where it sits in the digital marketplace.  This was both informative and inspirational demonstrating how ROQ is positioned to respond quickly to industry demands; but also how instrumental testing is in any industry in any setting.  We heard from ROQ’s Head of Talent who gave an insight into ROQs values and what it is that ROQ looks for in graduates.  It is always good to hear from industry the importance of those softer skills that we as educators constantly try to raise the awareness of in students.  It is also this area that T Levels are likely to have the biggest developmental impact – learners NEED to develop strong interpersonal skills to be noticed and ultimately succeed in today’s ever changing industry.

The afternoon session was led by ROQ’s Test Manager, Peter Allen, who had a background in teaching before he entered the testing industry.   Peter took us through the test journey and provided an informative session about the mechanics and need for testing.  With a tough audience of varying backgrounds, Peter described the theory behind testing and where testing sits in the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC).

Peter brought to life the theory using examples he has worked with during his career at ROQ and for myself he opened my eyes as to what wide and varied pathways there are just within this one field of our industry.  We’ve all heard of testing, and no doubt we’ve talked students through testing as part of the SDLC.  Produced test plans and superfluous screenshots to evidence it’s completion.  Now it is much more apparent how much more involved testing is, the investment from huge organisations into testing their products and services only serves to demonstrate the importance.  We’ve all experienced websites falling over at key times such as Cyber Monday – it is these events that can make or break a retailer and it is this that organisations like ROQ test to avoid.

For me, the Teach Too masterclasses are instrumental as we prepare as early adopters for T Levels.  Our industry more than most is fast changing as are the expectations and requirements of industry.  If we are to truly prepare learners for extensive work placements and deliver content aligned with industry practice then it is essential that we find out what it is that we don’t know.  This has certainly helped me develop an understanding of how things have changed in the 15 years I have been out of industry and the continued involvement of industry partners in both planning, delivery and placements is key to prepare our young people for a workplace that changes daily.