The Ultimate Question: How Do I Become a Great Tester?

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The Ultimate Question: How Do I Become a Great Tester?

From things as simple as learning and reading as much as you can to getting practice to gain valuable hands-on experience, there's a lot you can do to become a great tester.

· DevOps Zone ·
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Whether you got into your testing career by chance or by choice, you should always want to excel in your career. If you decide to become a great tester like well-known testers all over the world, you will find the following suggestions from one of the most influential software testing experts in the world, James Bach

If you are a newbie, start by building for yourself a strong foundation in testing with following the recommendations quoted from James Bach’ writings and talks.

Learn as Much as You Can

Read materials and blogs, such as James Bach's Satisfice and Michael Bolton's DevelopSense.

Read as Many Books as You Can

Here is James Bach’s suggested list.

  • Lessons Learned in Software Testing or Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar, James Bach.
  • Introduction to General Systems Thinking, Gerald M. Weinberg.
  •  Quality Software Management, Vol. 1: Systems Thinking, Gerald M. Weinberg.
  • Tacit and Explicit Knowledge, Harry Collins.
  • The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb.
  • Testing Computer Software, byCem Kaner (this still remains a good classic testing book).

From my experience, I would suggest you read Testing Computer Software and Lessons Learned in Software Testing first.

Combine Scripted, Exploratory, Manual, and Automated Testing

Remember, though, that you must do this the right way. Don’t overly adore one kind of testing and refuse others.

James suggests, “There is no such thing as an exploratory or scripted tester. All good testing is exploratory to some degree and scripted to some degree.” He also says, “There is no such thing as manual or automated testing. It’s all just testing.”

Learn Programming Language

“We should also learn the programming language used by the programmer in the company we work for right...If you want to get good at using tools while testing, try learning Python...A tester of any kind can contribute early in a development process, and become better able to test, by pairing with a programmer regardless of his own ability to code.”

Practice to Gain Hands-On Experience

“Participate in sessions conducted by www.weekendtesting.com. Practice testing things that aren’t secret, and then post your test results online so that others can see them.”

Don’t Concentrate Much on Certificates

Believe it or not, James says this about getting certified: “Don’t get certified. There are no respectable commercial testing certifications. If you are forced to get certified for some reason, do not take it seriously. It’s not an achievement, it’s just a conveyor belt that extracts your money and gives you nothing you couldn’t get for the price of a Google search. True certification remains this: the respect of respectable people.”

Learn How to Ask Questions

In the discussion of this topic, there is an interesting link to a guide called How to Ask Questions the Smart Way.

You can read more suggestions from James Bach here.

If you an experienced tester, the following advice from James thinks you should know.

Testing Is Not Better Than the Communication of the Results

Read more in an article called Explain testing every day and question something about how you work every day.

Read Everything by Jerry Weinberg

What would you want to read to nurture your career? The answer is that you should read everything by Jerry Weinberg.

Similarly, I asked James the question, “What are the best career advancement steps for someone who is a junior to intermediate QA professional?” he said, “If you want your career to move into management, read everything by Jerry Weinberg. If you want to be the best tester in the world, read everything by Jerry Weinberg. If you want to do what I do, read Weinberg. Read Weinberg if you want to be a programmer, too."

Understand the Seven Kinds of Testers

To advance your career and manage your testing team members more effectively, James recommends that you understand the seven kinds of testers. These are patterns or groups of heuristics proposed by James. However, if you want to become a full-stack tester like the word “full-stack developer” in development, you should have the insight into strengths and weaknesses of these kinds of testers. You should try your best to pull out some strengths from these and turn them into your skills. 

Join a Community

He said to get on Twitter, to watch the conversations among the context-driven community, and to participate in those discussions. In Vietnam, you can join testing communities such as HCMC STCTesting VN, and Ask Tester.

Own Your Career Growth and Make Yourself Unique

In the talk Buccaneer-Tester: Winning Your Reputation, James Bach says, “Find the mix of interests and talents that make you have what no one else has. Take stock of this and find a story that makes you important and special.” 

To wrap up, I collect and present here some advice from James Bach that is relevant to me as a tester. Many more of his writings can be found on his blog. If you have any ideas you would like to share with the testing community, I would love to hear from you.

Many more of his writings can be found on his blog. If you have any ideas you would like to share with the testing community, I would love to hear from you. Please leave your comments or drop me a message.

software developers ,software testing ,devops

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