“So, what should I do tomorrow?”

Far too long I have skipped this write-up. The motivation for this entry comes mainly from Anne-Marie Charrett who hada dream about software testing. Rob Lambert then reminded me on this by stating that I shouldn’t judge people too quickly. So, what is this all about?

Reflecting over my personal education and development background, I got from university four years ago into software testing. Never having heard of anything about it, never actually confronted with test-driven development, knowing nothing more than the concept behind it. I was introduced to software testing just by getting to know the shell-script based test automation part that was done in my department. Over the course of one or two years, we found out that we got a problem.

So, I started to dig deeper, and came across Lessons Learned in Software Testing. The ideas blew my mind. As a result from that I got paralyzed, rather not knowing what to do about it. It took me nearly half a year to incorporate my knowledge back to action.

“So, what should I do tomorrow?” is a question I would have asked by that time. Today, I know more things, maybe, but still the problem behind it exists. New testers coming from the university, lacking knowledge of software testing due to lack of courses or interests at the university, get into our profession, and are faced with the impossible struggles, that you can’t automate everything, can’t test everything, can’t assure anything. More often than not, these testers don’t get proper job introductions, don’t get formal classroom training – or maybe just too late – and need to self-educate themselves a big deal.

So, instead of paralyzing these testers, there must be something better. Sure, there are a bunch of great books out there, but personally I started to hate most testing related books. They are neither brief, they don’t tell real-world stories, and translating the concepts and ideas into action is a hard thing. In addition it’s hard to find out which books to read while the thought-leader of the testing community keep on fighting about vi vs. emacs in testing.

There are indeed some rays of hope. Matt Heusser for example is working on a book titled “Testers at work”. Just the title makes me wallow in great hopes. “Beautiful Testing” edited by Adam Goucher is another one (though I still haven’t read it, yet). Instead of arguing one over another all the time, I think time has come to actually help new people getting into the field and master our craft. Interactions with developers, interactions with project managers, interactions with superiors and other testers are all circumstances a new tester will run into. Leading new testers astray here in the beginning is a very bad thing to do. How come a lot of sticky minds are fostered in our profession? Do they just end up as testers, since they can’t find another job as a developer maybe? I think time has come to change the picture of testers in our industry by actually doing something different and helping others do the same. Leading by example instead of arguing Windows vs. Linux.

What ideas about it do you have in mind?