Sunday, March 28, 2004

More Testing in College!

Molly Campbell's entry on testing makes a great suggestion for how we can improve our Computer Science classes that emphasize coding. She asserts that testing is not emphasized in these classes and makes this observation: "Testing was something the professor did to grade your program, not something you had to focus on."

Molly is right on the mark with her observations. Software engineering practices should be used not only in industry but also in academics. Good software engineering practices should begin in school, if we have any hope of using them in history. Do you agreee? What other software engineering practices were ignored in your computer science education? Later!

Molly Campbell's entry:

As we discussed the importance of testing during lecture, I was reminded of the lack of project testing that occurred during my undergraduate studies. The absence of testing is ironic after reading how Brooks says that testing is the most important part of a project.

In school I experienced the opposite, spending almost all my time on coding. Some professors did stress the importance of planning, but I don’t ever remember anyone emphasizing testing. Granted our school projects were of a smaller magnitude where it was easier to get away with a lack of testing, but you’d think if half of your time should be spent on testing as Brooks suggests, that it would bare more weight in an academic setting.

School projects usually ended up being finished during crunch time so you were just so excited to get it done that you hardly tested it at all. Testing was something the professor did to grade your program, not something you had to focus on.

The importance of testing early and often could easily be stressed more even on the more simple projects done in school. Perhaps if it was emphasized there, it would transition to the workplace easier and we’d have more successful projects. It’s an interesting concept.

Now that I’m in the workplace, I realize that more people understand the importance of testing, but there are still similarities to my school experiences, especially when a project gets behind schedule. There is definitely still a crunch time and it seems like testing is what gets sacrificed. Even on my current project, it looks like regression testing is going to be cut in order to meet the schedule.

I think by testing early and often we will help make sure that more of our effort is spent on testing and hopefully we will benefit from getting early feedback. We should also remember the importance of testing when planning the schedule so we allot sufficient time for testing. Well tested programs will definitely provide the best results.

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