You’re brand new

“I’m new to testing – where do I start?”

I get asked the above questions A LOT. It’s a very common question for those who are brand new to testing, those who are shifting from another business function and those who are returning to testing after many years away.

I repeat roughly the same answers quite often so I’m writing a blog post to point people at.

Of course, a little self promotion – if you do nothing else then buy my own remaining relevant book – it is packed with ideas on how to learn, how to network and hints and tips on how to rock an interview 🙂 You could consider it a much longer form version of this blog post.

Join the Software Testing Club. Period.

Check out the AST training courses and learn as much as possible.

Follow the big bad list of test bloggers being curated by the Software Testing Club – there are a lot of them – mostly good – pick and choose carefully though.

Download and read my Blazingly Simple Guide To Web Testing – all of the hints and tips were created from bugs I’ve found in the past.

Join twitter and follow the #softwaretesting #testing hashtags – find interesting people and follow them.

As part of the above question I also often get asked what the day to day activities of a tester are.

It’s tricky to say what the day to day activities of a tester commonly are as the role is so incredibly varied. You might be following pre-defined scripts and checking that the software matches the test case.

You might be exploring the product to discover what it does. You might be analyzing specs, writing user stories, writing automated tests, performance testing, security testing, doing customer visits, studying usability and a whole host of other stuff. You might do some of these things during one working week at some companies, you might do nothing but following scripts at others.

The industry is so varied that I would suggest, if you can, that you take the time to carefully chose the testing role you want. I would always suggest seeking out companies that put exploration and learning above scripted testing, but not everyone has the luxury of holding out for such companies.

Some companies will insist on a certification. It’s your choice as to whether you want to get one. I’m not a fan – but I’m a realist – some companies require them – and if you need a job then go for it. But take the certification for what it is – a certification that you sat the course and got a favorable result. It is NOT a marker of excellence and shouldn’t be your single point of learning.

If you follow some of the above you’ll encounter people and communities that will help you find the resources you need, the people you need to know and hopefully the sources that can help you skill up in the right way. You might even land a job through your networks and community.

Your browser is used by less than 2% of our users

I’m a big fan of the mind mapping tool Mindmup and logged in today using the Opera browser.

Here’s what I saw:

Image of the Browser support message
Image of the Browser support message

 

This is an excellent approach to communicating about the limitations and restrictions around testing – you wouldn’t expect any less from Gojko (one of the guys behind mindmup).

It’s a great way of setting expectations but without limiting the choices made by the end users. I can still choose to continue using Opera, or I can switch to one of the other stated browsers. I have a choice – but I also know it might not perform as the developers expected.

For many companies it’s often tricky just saying “no” to supporting the mass of different browsers now available so they try to test them all. Using web analytics and analysis it’s now possible for many web companies to work out what their customers do actually use (and how many people use it), and then test against those.

Nice approach.

 

Getting Hired – At Conferences

One of the things that I have observed from a number of testing conferences is that none of them have any sustained focus on hiring or getting hired *.

There have been one or two sessions about the topic of hiring but nothing sustained.

The occasional tracks that I have seen have been mostly focused around the hiring strategies of big corporates where bums on seats is sometimes more important than cultural team fit.

Most testers don’t know how to get hired – I wrote a book to help bridge that gap. Those that do know how to get hired are truly in the minority and appear, at least on the surface, to be overall better testers. Mostly this is not true – they are good, but they are often no better at testing than others, it’s just they are much better at getting hired. Getting hired is a skill.

Hiring and getting hired is a vast topic and one which is fraught with contextual challenges, but I believe that a dedicated set of talks from hiring managers from a wide variety of contexts, and maybe some sessions and tutorials on writing CVs, interviewing etc would go down well at most testing conferences. It’s great being good at testing but how do you then go on and get hired…

There are supporting topics such as social profiles, writing clear CVs, networking, self education and interpersonal communication that might also make interesting tracks. Or maybe they wouldn’t. Maybe people go to testing conferences to learn about testing and not the other stuff that comes with our working world…

What are your thoughts?

* The conferences that I have been to

State of Testing – A Survey

I’m very optimistic about a new survey that the guys at Tea Time With Testers and QA Intelligence are putting together.

I’ve often wondered why we don’t have more centralized reports about the state of testing and future trends that are somewhat less bias than some of the big vendor reports out there.

If they get enough people responding it could be quite an illuminating report which will hopefully show that the industry is moving in to new advances and changes to meet economic and business demands.

I hope it tells us that. I can keep my fingers crossed.

I’m putting my support behind this survey as I think the results will be interesting. Let’s see how it goes.

At the moment the survey is not live, but you can subscribe to the QA Intelligence blog if you want to keep updated, or if you don’t want to subscribe you could keep an eye on Twitter for updates.

I’ll be sharing the updates (@rob_lambert) and no doubt Joel (@joelmonte) will be also (Joel is the guy behind the QA Intelligence blog).
Note: I am not involved in running the survey, analysing the results and have no affiliation with the survey or any outcomes associated with it – but am willing to support new initiatives like this.

http://qablog.practitest.com/state-of-testing/