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Should All Testers Have OCD?

Definitions of OCD and how the qualities of OCD relate to software testing.

· Agile Zone

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Vocational Psychology is a field in which when selecting the right job for a person, psychologists search for a match between a person’s personality and the job requirements. There are a number of additional factors such as the required skills, abilities, work environment, person’s family conditions, and many more.

In the Testing Community it is frequently said that the best testers suffer from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), and that testing is, in fact, the adaptive activity that is taking advantage of this phenomena and ‘turning lemons into lemonade’.

OCD prevalence is about 1%-2% of the population, so if indeed this is the case, our testing community must have a much higher percentage.

Main Characteristics of OCD

  • Excessive double-checking of things, such as locks, appliances, and switches.
  • Repeatedly checking-in on loved ones to make sure they’re safe.
  • Counting, tapping, repeating certain words, or doing other senseless things to reduce anxiety.

Is There a Real Match Between Testing and OCD?

OCD image

The O-net website is an online tool that assists users selecting the right job for them, and it describes the various elements of pretty much any job title.

When looking at the interest elements that are included for the software testing position we can find:

  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

At a quick glance it seem as if there is indeed some match between software tester job interest elements and OCD characteristic, although there is not a 100% match. So even if you don’t think you fit the OCD definition, you can definitely excel at your job as a software tester.

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Published at DZone with permission of Joel Montvelisky, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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