Newly minted college grads aspire to be Web developers, mobile app programmers, even business intelligence (BI) analysts. Yet one IT job not on their radar screen is QA engineer, a scenario a group called SummerQAmp aims to fix.
Sparked by a conversation about job creation between IT luminaries and rock icon-turned-jobs advocate Jon Bon Jovi, SummerQAmp was created in 2012 as part of the White House's Summer Jobs+ initiative.
The nationwide venture aims to place students in quality assurance internships at major technology companies such as Gilte Group, eBay, Foursquare and Airbnb. After the success of the first year's pilot program, SummerQAmp branched out this year to eight U.S. cities, including Boston, Austin, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Atlanta.
SummerQAmp introduces high school and college students to the QA role while teaching them core QA skills and aiding in job placement. "In the United States, we don't do a lot to teach people about testing -- it's never mentioned [before] someone starts their career and they don't know it's a viable job opportunity," says Kevin Haggard, a co-founder of the program. In addition to Haggard and Bon Jovi, Steve Martocci, co-founder of GroupMe, and Aneesh Chopra, the former White House CTO, were the brains behind SummerQAmp.
Since its founding, about 100 students have gone through SummerQAmp, and Haggard says it's helped raise the profile of the QA role as a viable career option. "It's pretty hard to find qualified QA candidates," Haggard says. "Countries like India and China do a much better job training people in testing, so it makes it easy to outsource the role there. We wanted to make sure this is an opportunity for people to have a well-paying job here."
-- Beth Stackpole