Duke. Stanford. Rice.
When you hear those names, what do you think of? You’re probably thinking of some of the top universities in the US – or more likely their sports teams.
However, if you lived a century ago (give or take) you’d be thinking Robber Barons. That’s because these prestigious institutions and many like them were actually founded by various titans of industry in the late 1800s and early 1900s:
- James Buchanan “Buck” Duke made his fortune in tobacco, endowing Trinity College with $40 million in 1924. Trinity College became Duke University.
- Leland Stanford was a Gold Rush-era businessman, railroad executive, and politician who founded Stanford University in 1885 with about $40 million (worth about $1 billion in today’s dollars)
- When William Marsh Rice died in 1900, he bequeathed the money he made through various investments and businesses over his life to the establishment of Rice University in 1912.
These successful businessmen – and many others including Andrew Carnegie, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and John D. Rockefeller – put their fortunes towards education. Their experiences showed them that the labor pool needed advanced skills in areas like Business, Economics, and Engineering, and they put their money to work creating universities for the new industrialized age.
And boy – did they succeed! We’re not talking about two-bit certificates from a mail-in correspondence course. The institutions they founded remain some of the most respected and esteemed around.
Getting an Education in Software
Yesterday’s millionaires reshaped higher education in America, laying the foundation for the world-leading system we have today. That system includes not only private and public universities, but also community colleges, vocational schools, professional training programs, and now online universities (which may end up having an incredibly enormous impact on learning). There are educational options available for nearly anyone interested in learning a new skill or changing their career altogether. And it’s only getting better.
So what if you want to get an education in software testing? Fortunately, you have a few options:
Industry associations. If you are looking for a practical education that’s borne out of real-world experiences, industry associations like ISTQB are a good bet.
Alternative Education. Finally, look out for intensive courses offered by organizations like the Udacity.
Notice, however, that nothing in the above list really rises to the level of a traditional 4-year degree. Typically, if you want to get into testing, you get a software engineering degree and take a class or two in testing.
But what if there was more? What if you could get a 4-year degree with deep experience in software testing methodologies, theory, and practice?
Furthermore, what if today’s tech Robber Barons went about redefining our educational system in the same way that their counterparts of a century ago did?
The Future of Higher Education… Maybe?
Our billionaires aren’t building their own universities – but at least they are philanthropists. That’s why we have the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and more recently Mark Zuckerberg made a pledged 99% of his Facebook shares to charity, as a statement to his newborn daughter.
Would they or their peers ever be so bold as to create a new type of university for this century and beyond? Perhaps one that could truly keep up with the rapid pace of technology development, teaching students to be fluid and adaptive as the environment around them changes every couple of years?
What would the degrees offered by such an institution look like?
- Testing (with concentrations in performance, usability, automation)?
- Digital Systems Operations?
- Robotics Engineering?
- Human-Computer Interaction?
- Online Psychology and Sociology?
The point is that computing is driving modern business, industry, and even society in ways that we never imagined even a couple of decades ago. Pretty soon we’ll be relying on software to run nearly every aspect of what we do every day. Having your phone crash is one thing – but having your transportation system crash is quite another.
Maybe it’s time to start thinking about testing and other aspects of computational culture as more than just a course or a certificate. Maybe it’s time to dedicate entire fields of study to these endeavors and the honorable careers that are becoming increasingly important.
Googliversity, Zuck U
It’s hard to think of it, but when the 1900s-era Robber Baron universities were established, they were startups. They gave incumbents like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton a real run for their money. They didn’t just redefine higher education – they pushed the entire system to improve.
Imagine how far we could advance if we took the same approach to today’s educational system. Maybe a Googliversity or Zuck U isn’t too far off, after all.
Until then, you can educate yourself about load testing and performance monitoring right here with Neotys resources.
Photo Credit: Md saad andalib