How Do We Engage Students with our Software Testing Technology?
There is no shortage of debate about the need for American education to focus on advances in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The conversation takes place at many levels: within academia, industry, and the government. High schools like Stuyvesant High School in New York City and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia, are trailblazers in these areas. Colleges and universities are turning out talented Computer Science majors and engineers who are in high demand. State and local governments support these institutions. However, it is important that the same industry which benefits from advances in STEM steps up its involvement. At Innovative Defense Technologies (IDT), we are trying to do our part.
The Automated Software Testing Challenge
For the past four years, IDT has hosted a programming contest, the Automated Software Testing Challenge. The event is an invitational contest for high school and college students in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC who are interested in industry-level problem solving and current trends in technology. Since our business and expertise is in the area of Automated Software Testing, the goal of our contest is to challenge students by introducing them to real problems surrounding this technology.
Past contests have addressed problems in the following areas:
- Image Recognition
- Window Identification and Tracking
- Message-based Testing
- System State Recognition and Modeling
We have found that our contest is a great way to expose STEM-minded students to a technology they may not have encountered previously. The competitive nature of the event, with the promise of some attractive prizes, seems to generate significant engagement. Most work is done in teams, although we have had individual contestants. In the past, some of our summer interns first heard about us through this effort. It’s a win-win.
When is IDT’s Next Software Contest?
We are busy gearing up for an exciting 2014 contest. The theme for this year is Built-In Automated Testing. On Monday, December 16, 2013 the contest problem will be released, with submissions due in February. Do you know a high school or college student who would benefit from involvement? If so, please forward this information or contact us in our Arlington, Virginia office.