19 December 2012

The year I became a passionate tester, part I

Prologue
Once upon a time there was a man, or boy, if you want to be rude. He was called a tester but in reality he didn't feel like one. "This isn't fun, I want to go back to programming" he said but his manager just replied: "Don't worry tester, we're going agile soon, you'll get your chance...". That tester was me and this is the story about my 2012, the year I became a passionate tester.

January - The spark
Late in January my phone rang, well it had done so before but that's not relevant to this story: "We need a tester". The company was known to me and even though I wanted to move back into programming it was still an interesting offer. So I dusted off my CV, added "over 4 years of testing experience" and sent it. "We want to book an interview" they replied and I started to prepare myself.

What on earth do they ask during a tester interview I asked myself. Maybe something about test, that seems reasonable. Suddenly I froze. I just told them I have over 4 years of experience but if they ask me a single test related question I was screwed!

In desperation I started browsing the web looking for "easy answers". This kind of approach quickly turned my attention to the ISTQB syllabus and various certification training sites. I started reading and reading and reading and... thinking "Is this really it? Maybe software testing isn't for me at all".

In a last attempt I googled "Exploratory Testing". Bingo! Inspiring articles by testers who actually seemed to like their job appeared, names like James Bach, Michael Bolton and Cem Kaner was everywhere and finally, the great heureka moment, James Bach's open lecture on software testing.

February - The possibility
- We want you to be part of a pioneering cross functional team, what do you say?
- Let me think... YES!

This was my chance to change things! I started reading ferociously and watch presentations like it was IMDB top 100 items.

Some resources:
The little black book on test design
The slides from the Rapid Software Testing course
DEWT: Resources
The BBST course material
Testjutsu: New to software testing? Read this!
The Evil Tester's Guide To Evil
Publications on the Test Eye
Articles by Michael Bolton
Articles by James Bach

RSS (no particular order):
Jean-Paul Varwijk
Alan Page
Michael Kelly
Andy Glover
Maria Kedemo
Kristoffer Nordström
Michael Bolton
Ajay
Alan Richardson
Iain McCowatt
Aleksis Tulonen
Sigurdur Birgisson
Pekka Marjamäki
Huib Schoots
Ilari Henrik Aegerter
James Bach
Karen Johnson
Paul Carvalho
Johan Jonasson
Markus Gärtner
Anne-Marie Charrett
Jari Laakso
Bruce McLeod
Petteri Lyytinen
Elisabeth Hendrickson
Eric Jacobson
Jon Bach
Shmuel Gershon
Ben Kelly
Rob Lambert
The Test Eye
Torbjörn Ryber
Geir Gulbrandsen
Maaret Pyhäjärvi
Darren McMillan
Pradeep Soundararajan


March - And so it began
My phone rang again (I must be a very lonely man based on how well I keep track of this): "I'm sorry but there's a central recruitment stop issued by our headquarters in Austria". I had almost forgot about the job offer so I didn't bother too much.

Instead the new team was formed at my current work.
- Am I the only tester?
- ... for now.
- When will the other one join?
- ... soon.
- How soon?
- ... soon.

So I was on my own, armed with an unhealthy level of willingness to change. Stuff was added into the test process that I didn't understand, stuff was removed I didn't understand the consequences of and others probably looked at me and thought: "He'll be the death of this team". Despite all this code was written and testing was performed (maybe not really in March but... stop interrupting me, this is my story!). I didn't really have a plan for how to know what I covered or how far I've come or how much was left or... anything else, but faults showed up and everyone was happy.

April - All hail the Twitter bird
I started an account already the year before but it was in April I really started worshiping the Twitter bird. This was a great leap forward! Twitter was like sitting in a corner forcing really smart people to spoon feed you with great stuff (at this point I only read others' tweets, I didn't contribute). When I found out you could see other users favorites... I reached cloud nine! Now I had an almost unlimited stream of articles, presentations and epiphany quotes which all were my favorites' favorites.

Insights so far
  • RSS is a great way to stay updated
  • Twitter is amazing
  • Browsing great testers' favorites in Twitter is amazing++
  • Knowing ways to work with test is easy, understanding how to use them is complex, but necessary
  • There exists tons of crappy testing articles, stay critical
  • Best practices is a myth (at least in testing)
  • Few testers have any formal education in testing
  • Few managers know anything about testing
  • "People" think they know more about testing than they do
  • Too many believe testing is simple
  • Years of experience tells you nothing about a tester's skill level
  • A lot of test processes out there exist to provide managers (or similar) a feeling of control, not to support great testing.

Starting level: Zombie (sort of)
Finishing level: Knowledgeable but incompetent


7 comments:

  1. Thanks for your grateful informations, am working in FNT software solutions, so it will be helpful info for my works.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the article.

    Nice list of Bloggers on testing (RSS)

    - Srinivas kadiyala

    ReplyDelete
  3. quite a motivational article for starters like me,Thanks buddy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, glad it could of help!

      Delete
    2. Hi Eric,
      Am also looking for Software Testing job just to support financially.
      I have applied few jobs. Earlier i used to get calls but now nothing.
      Looking apprenticeship but no use because they want 16-18 age ppl.
      Am ready and dont mind to do free Software Testing Job. I live in London and having British passport. Ready to travel.
      Regards
      Pinky.

      Delete
    3. Hi Eric,
      Am also looking for Software Testing job just to support financially.
      I have applied few jobs. Earlier i used to get calls but now nothing.
      Looking apprenticeship but no use because they want 16-18 age ppl.
      Am ready and dont mind to do free Software Testing Job. I live in London and having British passport. Ready to travel.
      Regards
      Pinky.

      Delete
  4. Hi, I am a BE computer.(2008).
    Living in USA. I want to start my career in software testing. But I haven't worked before as visa didn't permit. So little nervous. Don't know where to start...
    Please help me out

    ReplyDelete