Russian School Passes Test
August 1, 2004 —
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News item: The first 15 students have graduated from the American Software Quality Assurance School in Moscow.
The graduates, presumably, will go to work for Russia-based technology companies, or contract themselves out to firms looking to get QA work done on the cheap-or at all.
In the United States, QA and software testing is not seen as a career path, according to the excellent article written by Edward J. Correia in this newspaper ("Testing 101: AWOL on the College Campus," April 15, page 1). In that article, the point was made that only a handful of American colleges and universities include software testing in their computer science curricula. Part of the reason was revealed in a telling quote from Azer Bestavros, chairman of Boston University's computer science department: "We do not consider software testing to be a career. Testing positions are the least desired job of undergraduates."
The Moscow school was opened in February of this year by Silicon Valley-based XIM Inc., a systems integration and consulting firm with some founders of Russian descent. The company has around 150 employees, with a little more than 50 in the U.S. and the rest in Russia. So the idea of creating a talent pool overseas to handle testing was important to XIM, and other companies will benefit as well, since not all the school graduates will go to work for XIM.
"We're different from companies that hire contractors to complete projects offshore," said Eugene Poznikov, vice president of professional services for XIM. "These all are our own employees."
Poznikov said XIM does not position itself as a pure offshore company. "We're U.S.-based," he said. "When companies don't want to go offshore, we do all the work here." He went on to say that 99 percent of the company's clients at first are cautious about the concept of offshoring, wondering what it will do to their U.S. workforce in terms of morale. After gaining a little experience, though, most companies just say that as long as the project is completed by a certain deadline and under a certain budget, they don't care how-or where-the work gets done, he said.