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Testing Parliament

Outsourcing Software Testing?

The task of  vetting  and assessing  candidates to join the software testing team is not as easy as many would like to think. After going through an enormous bulk of CVs the interviews starts. I have interviewed several candidates from India  and I was left with mixed feelings. Before many of you hand me over to South African Human Rights commission for xenophobic statements hear me out.

One of the interviewee that we came across was  definitely prepared for the interview but not for the position he was being interviewed for. He had a stellar CV with masters, experience , certifications and has worked for some reputable IT companies in South Africa. One would have thought this person was   created from the lab. After the first question was asked, the answer we got was so shocking, not only was it not related to the question but it was more like this is the first answer to a list of answers I have memorized irrespective of the question. To avoid being unfair because we know English is not  most people’s first language , we gave him the courtesy of reading the question. Needless to say that complicated the matter even worse, we resorted to repeating the question several time slowly. Some time you will mistake some of the candidates for stand-up comedians. They have no notion of saying I don’t know.Now here is the candidate with English literacy of a grade 2 kid  applying for senior technical position in software testing. The knowledge he has on the subject and what is  on his CV don’t match. He has been working in South Africa for four years for big IT companies(How did that happen?).

I know it would be extremely wrong of me to generalize a nation that is 23228 times bigger than South Africa’s population(taking into account the latest data breach that shows we are at 57 million)  based on 50 people I came a cross. There are excellent  Indian foreign Nationals  in software testing ,experts at that,  thousands of them. The observation I made is that we never seem to get those. We get rejects that use South Africa as a training ground to then  be deployed in the first world countries as soon as they are able. The  competent  Indian foreign Nationals  we encounter are good but not so good  that it will justify why they were outsourced here. One of the reasons for outsourcing IT skills from  India in general is to cut cost. I believe the cost cutting result exhibited by the boards   is temporary and the person responsible for messing up the entire department is given a pat on the back. when the chickens  comes home to roost after the effects of degraded quality are showing , that individual resigns, get a golden handshake and the next guy comes in and  re-hire the very same South Africans that where fired just two years ago. After the mess is fixed, few years later a new head of department comes up with a “brilliant” idea of cost cutting(déjà vu).

South Africa’s youth and graduate unemployment rate is alarmingly high. The primary   excuse is that they  don’t have experience.   There are outsourcing  acts and quotas governing procurement processes of state organs but those seem to be more of  ornaments to brag about but not  be implemented.Outsourcing IT jobs in state organs seems to be increasing , the number one excuse  is scarce skills are  been brought in South Africa to up-skill local resources and stimulate the growth of  economy. There is a critical skills list used to determine the skills the country needs and Quality Analysts are part  of that list here. I believe that South Africa has matured so much in software  testing such that skills related to software testing can be  fostered  locally. We have matriculants with more than five distinctions working the tills at retail stores. The minimum requirement to venture into software testing is IT related  Qualification but i believe a well structured programme of a period of 24 months should do the trick.

If anyone has benefited from this outsourcing transactions skills wise I would like to know the details and how can that be replicated across  other sectors. Currently only business is benefiting or believe they are considering they don’t have proper metrics to measure rework  that have to be done.South Africans are improving  themselves using online resources, attending formal training  learning from fellow South Africans. I am yet to come across an individual who owes their competency and skills to an Indian foreign national. As much as this is my isolated opinion or experience I have with outsourced foreign resources, there must be someone out there with a positive outlook on this depressing arrangement.



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