Software testing which has largely been seen as a horizontal thus far is beginning to be seen as a vertical too, off late. What this means is in addition to the disciplinary knowledge of the testing space, testers need to build core domain skills as well to understand and test for the workflows that are specific to the discipline. Let’s take educational software as an example here. We, at QA InfoTech, have been in the testing business for over 12 years now and have been specializing in the testing for educational technologies and products. At the core, understand how Learning Management and Content Management Systems (LMS, CMS) function is very important. These form the backbone of educational products. The protocols and workflows defined by these systems are what feed into the software developed. While these could be commercial or open source systems, understand how they work for one product is good enough to extend the knowledge to a specific LMS/CMS down the line.
Functional testing as always is important for educational software too, but beyond this, there are several other attributes which are core – these include, usability (what is usable for a 5th grader, may not be usable for a 10th grader while it may be completely off for a corporate learner), accessibility (keeping in mind that the disabled are also avid learners), performance (to facilitate remote anywhere, anytime learning), security (to ensure strict teacher-student confidentiality), localization (to be able to port the content for global markets), to name the core ones. Also, content digitization to port physical content from varied sources into digitized content for global consumption is an active business in the educational field. Herein content driven verification is an area testers are actively involved in – these need not mean verification after the content is ported fully – verifying interim XMLs, per defined specifications, is a very important activity that is often taken up part manually and part automated, to bring in quality efficiencies early on.
And the good news is that the learnings from education technology testing are transferable across domains. Every domain today insists on learning programs for its employees. Ongoing continuous learning is something organizations are increasingly insisting upon globally. What this means is that educational technology and software testing certainly has a very bright future and is a great space for a tester who is looking for some core specialization.