Archive for the ‘Testing Profession’ Category

I’ve recently secured gainful employment in a new job. I’m learning the noble art of test automation for a travel company. It’s an area I’ve wanted to get a deeper look at for a while, and I’m glad an opportunity has presented itself.

However, that’s not the topic of this post, but something I’m revisiting from a year ago, when I was last seeking a new job. Namely, interviews. For software testing positions. And yet again, like a child expecting an Imperial Star Destroyer Lego set for Christmas but getting a life-size Twilight Sparkle instead, I’ve been sadly disappointed.
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When time permits, I like to learn. Some of my learning is externally motivated (e.g. university deadlines), but a lot of my learning is internally motivated and largely solitary (e.g. a udemy course).

As a result of seeking new avenues of learning, I’ve became connected with the growing Australian (and international) context-driven testing community. Biased though I may be (at least in this particular circumstance), I believe getting involved with communities of like-minded individuals is possibly the best way of increasing your expertise, getting a lot of encouragement and useful feedback in the process, and ultimately making a contribution to that very community.
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Vive la Resistance!

Posted: June 2, 2013 in Testing Profession

Disclaimer – I can only speak of these events from my point of view, and I’m sure if you were able to track down my place of work, kidnap a developer or two and interrogate them, you would probably get at the very least a slightly different story. Or you could just take my word for it.

I’ve been thinking about the subject of collaboration lately, and not because I seize upon words at random to reflect upon (though that does sound like an interesting academic exercise). Collaboration is the subject of discussion at this year’s OZWST. And an episode at work recently arose that embodied what can occur when a collaborative attitude is lacking.

A few weeks ago, the Test Lead at work attempted to conduct a Root Cause Analysis session on several recent bugs. This was a new activity for the company, as such introspection has not been a strength (at least in my short time there). But our intrepid Lead was a man who was not afraid to instigate change – indeed, the test team since his (and to a lesser extent, my) arrival had been a veritable whirl-wind of innovation and improvement.
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Note – This isn’t intended to be a “catch all” post about OZWST 2013, but rather a quick introduction and my thinking at this time. Will hopefully be writing a few more posts as the date draws nearer (as well as post-event).

To quote the immortalised words of Big Kev. But thankfully, no cleaning products or other cheap, Australian-made household goods are involved with this excitement. Come August, I’ll be heading down to Sydney for OZWST Two: “This time it’s personal” (OK, so that’s not a tag-line associated with the event in any capacity, though I did make an impassioned argument for its inclusion. Well, no, I didn’t, but I thought about it. No, didn’t even do that – but it would’ve… I’ll stop now).
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Further gainful employment has been secured.  After my 3 year stint as an “Army of One” tester (as Michael Larsen elegantly labels the sole tester), I’m looking forward to working in a test team.  However, I’ll await developments before I start writing “Best job ever!!” or “Oh no! What I have done???” posts.

More immediately interesting is playing a big part in recruiting my successor, something that I’ve been looking forward to ever since sitting my first interview for another job.  The shoe is on the other foot, so to speak*.  I was all gung-ho for a “no easy questions for you” approach based on my own recent experiences, but quickly tempered this somewhat uncompromising attitude as I

  1. engaged my brain
  2. read up on interview approaches and questions (see my previous post for a few links to some excellent resources on this subject).

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…as Dr Smith so brilliantly put. But while he was professing anguish about some trivial injury or situation (really, what’s the big deal about being stuck on a distant planet, lost somewhere in the galaxy with a wardrobe that has an eerie resemblance to 1960s garb… OK, fair enough), I’ve had the same thoughts over the past week as I reflect on a recent encounter in trying to broaden my horizons / skillset / experiences in the world of software testing.

Last week, I went to a job interview for a test analyst position. It’s been a long time since I’ve last been interrogated for career advancement, and I was looking forward to it, especially the “how would you test a wine glass?” challenges (or similar hypotheticals – thanks Testcast!), specific questions about how I test, experiences I’ve had testing, maybe even an actual “audition” testing a simple app. (more…)

In advance, I apologise for the “whine” that is mixed deeply into this entry…

Just the other morning, I came across Michael Bolton’s excellent articles on the premises of Rapid Software Testing (RST).  RST is something that I’ve been keenly interested in, but haven’t had the opportunity to fully follow up on it yet.  On a quick tangent, his point five struck an especial chord with me – “our purpose is to discover the status of the product and any threats to its value…”.  In my opinion, this is our primary task – not to act as gatekeepers, quality police or (heaven forbid) nerd patrol, but to provide pertinent information to allow others to make decisions regarding the software for release.  But I digress…

His point two mentioned the “Red Queen Effect”, a theory where “you must run as fast as you can just to stay in the same place” (and twice as fast again to get anywhere).  This comes from the world of Alice in Wonderland, particularly the story “Through The Looking Glass”.   Bolton was elaborating on how we in the software development world often try to do more than what our resources allow.  It also feels like an excellent metaphor for the ever-developing world of “software testing skill, methodological and attitudinal development” and my current position among these eternally shifting winds of change.
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