I came across an old blog post on the uTest blog Do Software Testers Need a College Education. The author says:
Depending on who you ask this question to, you’re likely to receive various degrees (pardon the pun) of yes and no. Or you may find many others who answer in a noncommittal way: “it depends.”
Having worked closely with thousands of software testers in the uTest community, I can attest to the fact that many testers do in fact have impressive resumes with regard to higher education (master’s degrees, PhD.s, etc.). However, there is also convincing evidence that demonstrates quite the opposite. So if you let the data speak for itself, what is one to believe?
The article goes on to list a few explanations from the For, Against and It depends camps. I was trying to comment on the article but it wasn’t working. If they turned off the comments for this article then why is the comment box still available? I must have found a bug!
Here is my input:
You don’t need a college education to learn technical knowledge / skill, just time and desire. You might be able to make the argument a college education makes Testers and Developers better but it would depend on the school, the person’s learning habits and how much they learned. I’ve seen quite a few reports that indicate Software Engineering (which includes Testers) has the highest concentration of non-college educated engineers in all of the engineering disciplines. This might to suggest the industry is more open to taking chances. It might also suggest if you are qualified it, have the technical skills, it doesn’t really matter how you learned as long as you can do the work.
Those hiring might prefer employees to be college educated because it’s a safe bet. Especially for those who don’t know how to hire, have an HR dept who screens candidates, etc. Rather I believe most companies are better off with someone with relevant experience and the desire to learn more. I learned everything I know about Software Testing after I graduated from college. Today there are hardly any colleges that offer classes or degrees in software testing and plenty of scammers trying to offer Certification as a replacement for learning to test.
Luckily there are people like James Bach and Cem Kaner who try to help train testers.
Check out what James thinks software testers need to learn.