How we launched a QA course
Summer 2022 was difficult for many reasons but there is at least one reason why it was cool — we launched a QA course in Startup Summer!
We’ve had a full-stack JS developer course for quite some time in Paralect and the idea of adding new roles was in the air. A combination of QA and Dev feels natural so this year I committed to giving it a try. And the story began…
There were many challenges to get through:
- organize applicants selection & manually review each CV & test assignment,
- compile the lecture program and prepare practical tasks,
- find speakers and mentors,
- organize student work on real projects.
And all that in the situation where none of us is a professional course-maker.
Well… We nailed it! And here are some lessons learned from launching the QA course.
Nothing is perfect
Of course, we wanted to make the best course ever (ha-ha) — prepare perfect lectures, tasks, presentations, etc. But if we did we would be stuck in the organizational process forever! We made our best on our first attempt and that’s OK.
Maybe our presentations were formatted with different styles but that’s an insignificant thing compared to ‘not having a course’.
It was a bit challenging to prepare practical assignments for the course as it was hard to predict what level of knowledge and experience our students would have. Even when we had the final list of students, there were still many doubts:
- how fast will they handle the tasks?
- what level of complexity is appropriate?
- which topics should we add?
The solution was pretty straightforward — adapt on the go. We made a rough roadmap based on what we saw as the most possible scenario but prepared extra tasks in case our assumptions were wrong. We were ready to accept change.
Find partner(s) in crime
Even if you could make everything on your own, it’s a bad idea — it would be biased towards your personal views and consume all your time.
In our case, a lot of people were involved: many QA engineers were lectors and each of them brought their personal touch and life experience to their lesson. With mentors we brainstormed the program and they did a big chunk of work on test assignments and the education process.
We had 40+ interviews in about 2 weeks which would’ve been impossible without our colleagues from the HR & QA department. And many many other things were done by people from marketing, legal, development and other departments. Connecting with people is what made the whole idea come to life.
Meet and greet
We held a teambuilding at the start of the course and our students loved it. Although we didn’t make a proper introduction of people from the company (oops!), the students had a chance to get acquainted with each other and build a connection. It is definitely worth doing a team party with future co-workers and sharing your team culture.
Collecting feedback can’t be overappreciated. We tried to cover with feedback as many aspects as we could, held a retrospective after lectures, and gathered final reviews.
It helped us to find drawbacks and areas for improvement. And of course, it was pleasure to read all of the kind words and kudos.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, we’ve been running a full-stack JS course for few years and in 2022 we gave a shot at QA as well. The Developers and QAs were studying and working mostly in parallel, QA students started the course a bit later so that they could join projects when the first feature tickets were ready.
Students from both cohorts worked closely together on the same projects, just like in real life. They were discussing features, investigating bugs, participating in daily meetings and demos, arguing and helping each other.
They truly became a team aimed at the success of their products.
Are we happy with the QA course?
For sure! Was it ideal? Hell no.
We have a list of well-done things and things to be improved. The atmosphere on the lectures was so cozy that our students struggled not to fall asleep.
The lesson program can be improved. And other things we can work on and we will. In the end, having welcomed and trained 6 smart, enthusiastic QA engineers into our team is what really matters.
The journey of Startup Summer 2022 was wonderful. Would you join it in 2023?