Earlier this week I ran this poll on Twitter:
I'm curious about the current opinion on this: should all testers be learning to code?
— Trish Khoo (@hogfish) July 31, 2017
Out of 137 respondents, 55% think testers should learn to code and 45% think all testers should not learn how to code. My Twitter replies feed had a steady stream of maybes. So why do I disagree with 62 testers?
Last year I spent a few months doing research into the education technology space. I had heard something interesting – from this year, all Australian children as young as prep (5 years old) will start to be taught programming as a core subject at school. That means it is given as much importance in the school curriculum as other core subjects, like Mathematics and Science. This education in programming will continue all the way through to high school.
When I researched further, I found that the same was true of the UK and the US – programming is entering the core curriculum for all schools in these countries. Programming is seen as a skill that is essential for future employment for school leavers, regardless of industry.
Putting this into present-day context, it’s baffling to me that anyone working in the software development industry would consider programming as a skill that is NOT essential for their future employment. In just ten years, the first full graduates of this training system will be entering the workforce and they will all know basic programming. Ten years after that, it will be a skill in the workforce regarded as basic as Maths and Science.
So my stance on this issue is not opinion but earnest advice based on what I know. If software testers are interested in future-proofing their careers, they should learn how to code. If kids can do it, why can’t you?