Monday, April 19, 2010
DEBUG THOSE PROGRAMS!
One of the agonies of programming whether in college computer labs late into the night or working on software development at work, is debugging. Programming is mathematical and methodical as any code-writer will tell you. But even semantics can drive you nuts. Take C programming for example. One of the commonest errors you'll inevitably face working with this iconic language is pointers where particularly in iterations, referencing goes beyond the bound of the array so that on the next iteration it returns an error and it can drive you nuts before you figure it out. But so can a missing semi-colon. All C commands are supposed to end with a semi-colon but it is quite common to forget it and write lines and lines of codes but when the program is compiled it returns errors.
These are some of the basic but very frustrating aspects of writing code but they get more complex particularly when you lose touch with what the library files that you include in your program or even super classes from which you inherit provided for or even variables change in one function affecting the operations of another separate but related function and so on and so forth.
So when somebody asks you to examine a program for errors as a career, those of us who turned away from writing code would shudder. But apparently, this is a lucrative career and more so now that multinationals are outsourcing software testing to places like India.
The Kenya Software Quality Testing Board (KSQTB) is a nascent group that has just been constituted and it is seeking to train Kenyan developers to become certified software testers.
This area, they reckon has jobs. Jobs that are currently being handled in India. By their reckoning if we have enough internationally certified testers, we could begin to bid for big contracts and could eventually see this area surpass business process outsourcing.
The board will work in a not-for-profit basis with membership free to all those interested but there will be charges for exams and training.
Because it will constitute software developers, nerds essentially, who care little for petty politics, luminaries like Agosta Liko of PesaPal see it taking off.
A number of guys attended a training last week at Jacaranda Hotel in Westlands and drew from such entities as KQ, Kenya Ports Authority, Virtual City, Kenya Revenue Authority etc.
Nairobitech will keep an eye on the nascent group to see how it navigates the terrain.