A Skilled Software Tester

A few months ago an acquaintance of mine asked me what I did for a living, and so I replied “I’m a Software Tester … A Skilled Software Tester”.  There was a noticeable pause between the 2 parts of my answer – mostly because I feel that there’s sometimes a false belief amongst people that don’t know any better that being a Software Tester doesn’t require an individual to be very skilled (this is something I believe that’s changing as the community of skilled software testers continues to grow, learn, promote & learn skills, challenge old ways to doing things, and focus on testing that has value).

I continued my answer to the question with a brief explanation of what I meant, without going on for an extended period of time making it seem like a speech or a lunch & learn.  I explained that I don’t spend my testing time doing things “the old way” (I actually found a better term for it thanks to Keith Klain – more on this in a separate post), of filling out templates, spending hours writing and executing heavily scripted test cases, or writing 30 page test plan documents that nobody will actually read.  I spend my time testing, what & how I test will depend on the application and the different situations surrounding the application. I don’t test everything the same way because I don’t believe in best practices, I believe in good practices in certain contexts. I work with developers, project managers and other testers to provide information about the quality of the software. That was my explanation.

In the weeks that followed, I spent some time thinking about that explanation and how I could explain it better in the future. The content of my explanation was composed of conversations I’ve had with many people (testers and non-testers), explaining to them that there was more to testing than templates, documents and scripted test cases – that skilled software testing and testers did indeed exist and were really good at what they did. I had spoken about testing skills and shifting focus to testing that added value to the project to quite a few people and was looking into ways to do it better. I came across a post written by Keith Klain The skilled testing revolution … which explains that things are changing, the old ways of doing things are on their last legs, and that skilled software testing is starting to gain momentum and recognition. I’ve send the post to some people as it highlights, and better explains the message I’ve been aiming to get across.

As I continue to learn, apply what I’m learning, and talk to other testers – all of which contributes to me becoming a better and more skilled software tester everyday –  I’m glad to say that I’m part of the skilled testing revolution.

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