Asking Questions – Almost 9 years later

I remember when I first started my career (and my life) as a Professional Software Tester almost 9 years ago now, and even back then I was a bit different from some of the other “new” Software Testers. Different in that I would ask questions about what I was being asked to test, to gain some sort of insight into the application I was being asked to test, and not just test aimlessly or without a purpose.

So now, almost 9 years later, I’m still asking questions, that hasn’t changed. What has changed are the types of questions I ask. The people I ask them to.  The confidence with which I ask them.  How I am able to ask better questions to learn more about the situation I am in.  Asking questions based on some of the answers I receive from my initial questions.  Not settling for answers that don’t give me the information I was looking for by asking the question.  I’ve also changed as a person, a professional, and as a software tester – I am more skilled, more confident, have tested a lot more complex systems, have questioned (and continue to) so much about testing, learned from some highly skilled testing professionals & leaders, taught myself by reading & listening, received training for software testing.  Many of these things I continue to do on a daily basis, because I am eager to become even better and because I am truly passionate about the craft & science of Software Testing.

Now I remember a few instances 9 years ago when I was in a room full of people and I would ask questions and other people in the room, smart people (developers, project managers, architects who were well known for their skill & knowledge in their respective areas) would make jokes about me asking all these questions, mock me for asking questions, tell me to stop asking questions, and just outright downplay testing.  At the time I had just started my career in Software Testing, I was a kid. I was intimidated, it distracted me when this happened, it bothered me and prevented me from having the courage to ask further questions about Testing.  I hadn’t yet built up my testing skill set and confidence.

I had completely forgotten about those specific situations until not too long ago I was in a room full of smart people discussing the development and testing for a project and it happened again. But this time it was a whole different situation.  Sure the comments and actions from some of the other people in the room were quite similar, but I wasn’t. It didn’t intimidate me one bit, nor distract me. It didn’t bother me and it didn’t prevent me from continuing to ask the questions I needed to ask in order to get the information that I believed to be relevant to testing.  I was able to effectively filter out and ignore the comments downplaying testing, and carry on to get the information I was looking for and listening for more information.

I’ve had a lot of fun putting in the work and effort into becoming a better, more skilled tester, and the manner in which I’ve evolved myself as a Software Tester sure did help – in a lot of different ways!

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