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Perth prodigy among youngest to ace global software testing exam

Wednesday 20 December 2023 | By 290081a
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PERTH, Australia – In a remarkable achievement, 14-year-old Kai, a student with autism, has passed the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) exam. This is a feat usually accomplished by university graduates.

The undertaking of the exam was facilitated and supported by Curtin’s Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance, a pioneering program aimed at harnessing the unique talents of individuals with autism, and providing them with training, support and work placements in the information and communications technology industry.

Program mentor Jan Kornweibel says that Kai may very well be one of the youngest people in the world to ever pass the exam.

“He is certainly the youngest we’ve ever had … the exam is challenging and usually those attempting it are IT graduates above the age of 21.”

Kai’s achievement illustrates a significant milestone in inclusive education and career development. He not only had to grasp the complex concepts behind software testing but also navigate the challenges posed by the ISTQB exam, known for its rigorous standards.

As one of five candidates to pass the exam this year, Kai’s success story is not just his own. It’s a testament to the supportive ecosystem built around these young talents, including their families. Kai’s mother played a critical role in helping Kai to prepare for the exam – an example of the holistic involvement of each family associated with the autism academy.

Director of the program, John Curtin Distinguished Professor Tele Tan AM, says the autism academy not only benefits students on the autism spectrum, but also the industry itself.

“The aim of the autism academy is to empower young individuals within the autism spectrum by offering training, education, and mentoring programs. This initiative focuses on unlocking their exceptional abilities, fostering pathways towards successes in education and employment.

“Simultaneously, it addresses the challenges faced by the Australian information and communications industry in recruiting and retaining software professionals.”

While Kai hasn’t pinpointed his exact career path yet, he says the skills and confidence he has gained through the autism academy have prepared him well for numerous opportunities in the IT sector.

Likewise, Kai’s achievements are a resounding affirmation of the autism academy’s mission to open doors and create meaningful opportunities for young individuals on the autism spectrum.

If you would like to get in touch with Curtin’s Autism Academy, visit our website.