Finding By Amy E. Kelly
Roadblocks, errors and problems are just what Specialisterne employees strive to locate. And when they find them, they attempt to follow the same path to create the problem again. It might sound counterintuitive to most of us, but it is a day in the life of software quality assurance specialists who make it their goal to find bugs before the software goes to the consumer. It’s meticulous, difficult work and the specialized workforce of Specialisterne has an edge in this area simply because of who they are – people on the autism spectrum. “These employees are paid to find mistakes,” says Tim Hanson ’86, chair of the board of Specialisterne Midwest and the person who brought this specialized company to the United States from Denmark. While social interactions are challenging for most people on the
autism spectrum, an amazing memory and the ability to repeat a procedure over and over are positive attributes many have. “We have this resource of people with this skillset who are not working,” Hanson says. “At the same time we have a lack of people who are able to do these kinds of technical jobs. You have the demand and the supply and what is missing is the bridge between the two.” And for people on the autism spectrum, Hanson says the bridge is necessary. Hanson knows the need for this type of business from his own family experience. Tim and his wife, Stephanie ’89, have four children. Their oldest, Joe, now 21, was diagnosed with autism at age 3. “It was very strange because he seemed to have these really well-developed areas or pockets of
JP McBride and Zach Zaborny, employees at Specialisterne, test an application at Myriad Mobile.