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  • MindSpark Advantage

    MindSpark is an outsourced IT company, but instead of customers outsourcing to companies in India or China, they can outsource to a socially conscious company in America offering high quality services…

  • Organization

    Consistent with its socially responsible mission, MindSpark Inc. was incorporated as a benefit corporation in the state of California in May 2013. A benefit corporation, legal in California since January 1, 2012, …

  • Training Academy

    The MindSpark Training Academy was created to provide vocational training to talented and qualified individuals with specialized abilities, particularly young adults on the autism spectrum.


Specialties

posted Apr 28, 2016, 10:06 AM by Rj Talbot   [ updated Apr 28, 2016, 10:06 AM ]

  • Test Plan / Case Design

    Reviewing requirements and developing test plans and cases using industry standard techniques and conventions.

  • Functional Testing

    Executing test cases in a quality assurance environment using multiple devices and mediums.

  • Regression Testing

    Running repeated test cases on previously tested software after each release.

  • Issue Tracking

    Logging, tracking, and verifying the resolution of all defects found during test case execution.

Testers understand highly technical concepts including equivalence partitioning, boundary value analysis, state transition, branching logic and condition-matrix testing, as well as database and data-integrity testing. We can work within any type of product development framework including Lean, Agile, Waterfall and V-Model.

As a software testing organization, MindSpark provides comprehensive quality assurance services throughout the entire product life cycle including:

  • Translating requirements into test cases
  • Performing scripted and unscripted functional, regression, and user scenario tests
  • Documenting errors or flaws in the software found during testing

Workspace

posted Apr 28, 2016, 10:05 AM by Rj Talbot

  • A Comfortable and Accommodating Workplace

    Despite their strong cognitive abilities, many individuals with autism are challenged by the social and organizational requirements of a traditional workplace. At MindSpark, our employees enjoy the security of a familiar and supportive environment in which their social/emotional needs are monitored and addressed on an individualized basis. In addition, we are committed to the creation of a sense of community and belonging for our employees in a flexible work environment that allows employees to work from 25 – 45 hours per week based on their individual needs and abilities.  Headphones and quiet break rooms are available. Providing a nurturing, growth-oriented environment for all MindSpark employees is a guiding principle of our organization.

Advantage

posted Apr 28, 2016, 10:05 AM by Rj Talbot


The MindSpark Advantage

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  • Socially Responsible Outsourcing

    Many U.S companies outsource their software testing to offshore companies in India or China, which has many drawbacks due to the time zone and cultural differences. This leads to communication inefficiencies that may increase the effective cost of these services. The software industry is already entrenched in a model where the software testing services are not performed at the customer’s location. In effect, MindSpark will also be an outsourced IT company, but instead of customers outsourcing to companies in India or China, they can outsource to a socially conscious company in America offering high quality services at competitive rates. Any company that chooses to outsource their software testing work to MindSpark can feel satisfaction that they are employing people in America and providing opportunities for individuals with specialized abilities to be gainfully employed.

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Organization

posted Apr 28, 2016, 10:04 AM by Rj Talbot


How We Are Organized

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A Core Commitment to Social Purpose

Consistent with its socially responsible mission, MindSpark Inc. was incorporated as a benefit corporation in the state of California in May 2013. A benefit corporation, legal in California since January 1, 2012, allows entrepreneurs and investors to organize corporations that can pursue economic and social objectives simultaneously. The benefit corporation has a core commitment to social purpose embedded in its organizational structure, with an additional commitment to full transparency and accurate assessment and reporting of its social, environmental, and financial performance and impact.

The MindSpark Training Academy (MTA) was incorporated as a non-profit organization in June 2013.  In October 2014, MTA attained 501(c)(3) status and and became eligible for funding from foundations that support organizations with tax-exempt status. A higher level of funding allows MTA to offer more deserving young adults the opportunity to obtain the training required for employment as software testers.

The principal owners of MindSpark Inc. work without compensation to launch and manage the enterprise. Growing the business will enable MindSpark to train and hire increasing numbers of qualified and deserving employees. As a vital and socially conscious benefit corporation, MindSpark will provide profits to be distributed to its employees in the future.

MindSpark Difference Page

posted Apr 28, 2016, 10:04 AM by Rj Talbot

The MindSpark Difference

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MindSpark was created with the idea that everyone has uniquely valuable talents and skills.  When people with specialized abilities are provided with training and vocational opportunities, everyone benefits.

Our company enjoys some important advantages that help us succeed in the marketplace:

  • Our Special Relationship with Square One

    Square One is a well-established professional services firm consisting of social entrepreneurs who started and incubated MindSpark.  The company provides stewardship to MindSpark, as well as a steady pipeline of business.  In addition, MindSpark benefits from project oversight by industry veterans on the Square One team.  Most importantly, the two companies work side-by-side, giving MindSpark employees the opportunity to collaborate with Square One employees.  In September 2015, Square One was acquired by Optimity Advisors, a global operational consultancy providing information technology, strategic planning, business process re-engineering, organizational change management, and risk mitigation services.  This acquisition will result in new business opportunities for MindSpark.

  • Socially Responsible Outsourcing

    MindSpark is participating in the current wave of “on-shoring;” services frequently outsourced to developing countries are now coming back to the United States.  Most software testing is off-shored, but problems relating to communication and time-zone issues inevitably arise.  With MindSpark, companies can outsource to a socially conscious company in America offering high quality services at competitive rates, while simultaneously providing opportunities for individuals with specialized abilities to be gainfully employed.

  • The MindSpark Environment

    At MindSpark, we’re about more than just a job.  We believe in both the personal and the professional well-being of our team.  We emphasize social activities around our work schedule, providing outlets to nurture relationships that go beyond the workplace.  We’re creating a family atmosphere in and out of the office, building bonds we hope will last for a lifetime.

Spark Section

posted Apr 28, 2016, 10:03 AM by Rj Talbot

  • MindSpark was an idea two years in the making. The team at Square One Solutions initially became aware of the community of people living with autism spectrum disorder through Shannon Hahn (wife of Square One Solutions co-founder Chad Hahn). Shannon worked for Creative Support, a Southern California based non-profit that provides support services to individuals with developmental disabilities. Shannon previously managed the support services (Independent Living Services) provided by Creative Support at the UCLA Pathway program. Pathway offers a 2 year college experience to those with developmental disabilities, with the goal of finding employment for graduates to help foster independence. Unfortunately, few individuals coming out of this program are able to find meaningful employment commensurate with their talents and abilities.

  • During a visit to the Pathway program at UCLA Extension, Chad Hahn met one of the Pathway graduates, a bright young adult named Max, whose engaging manner and obvious intellect inspired Chad, a software services professional, to create a pilot program to train talented young adults like Max in the field of software testing. The pilot program was successful, and the funding necessary to enable MindSpark to offer increasing numbers of deserving individuals the opportunity for careers in software testing was secured in early 2013.

MTA Graduates

posted Apr 28, 2016, 10:02 AM by Rj Talbot


  • From MTA Graduates to MindSpark Employees

    The MindSpark Training Academy (MTA), a non-profit charitable organization, offers an eight week training program in software testing to qualified individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities.  Graduates of this program will be employed as software testing apprentices by MindSpark, a benefit corporation, which by definition has a core commitment to social purpose embedded in its organizational structure. After three months, qualified apprentices are promoted to software testing analysts.  In our model, four analysts will be directly supervised by one software testing lead.  With experience over time and and the achievement of ISTQB (International Software Testing Qualifications Board) certification, MindSpark analysts have the opportunity for promotion to senior analyst and software testing lead.

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Our Mission

posted Oct 23, 2009, 12:21 AM by Rj Talbot   [ updated Apr 28, 2016, 10:02 AM ]


Our Mission

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  • To use free market forces to drive social change by creating careers in high tech for people with specialized abilities, thereby increasing their independence and improving their quality of life.

    By training and employing individuals with specialized abilities as software testers, we will maximize their professional and social opportunities in an environment that allows them to thrive.

    Adults with autism spectrum disorder are an underserved and underemployed population based on estimates of unemployment as high as 90%. Those individuals who are employed often work in menial jobs that do not reflect their strengths or interests. Some individuals on the autism spectrum show an interest in computers and technology, with a keen eye for detail and an ability to sustain focus on detail-oriented tasks. These skills make them ideally suited for employment in the software industry, particularly in the field of software testing. Software testing requires good observational skills and investigative curiosity in order to uncover errors in a software product.  Organizations employing autistic individuals in technology-related positions have observed their strong work ethic, high degree of loyalty and the excellent quality of their work.

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