Friday, October 14, 2005

Advice for budding software test professionals ...

Here are few points of the post that I made for QTP yahoo groups - in response to a query made for FAQ/interview questions on QTP. The main motivation for me to post this is that I see most of the new entrants in this field, do not know where to invest time and effort to know the field of testing. Often they end up reading some FAQ or Typical interview questions posted on some site and think that they have arrived. Software testing today suffers from lack of education and awareness about "What it takes to be a software tester" and "how to successfully carry out and add value to the overall process of software development.

Read on .....

Here is my advice to all aspiring QTP or Test engineers and professionals. These are lessons I learnt personally and useful for any software professional who is serious in testing.

1. Do not look for short cuts to learn and get knowledge. Have a long term plans to get good mileage in this profession. FAQs, etc are good to read only for knowing top line. To succeed in the interview you will have to win it from inside of your heart, invest honestly in studying and expect fruits. Banking on FAQs, interview questions etc may get you the job but will not keep you there.

2. Most important for a tester is to understand what makes a good tester? How he/she is different from a developer? What value tester brings to the table? How to find talent in testing and nurture it? How testing is different from QA or any flavor of process (CMM, Six sigma) etc.

3. Invest in sharpen problem solving and "thinking out of box" abilities. Read good stuff on testing. Participate in conferences, discuss with test professionals in other companies, participate in activities in SPIN, etc. Solve puzzles ( zig saw or shankuntala devi). Never stop learning.

4. Sharpen Technology skills. Know about "How web works" , DNS, Networking, protocols, XML, Web services, Cryptography, databases, Datawarehousing, UNIX commands, Fundas of J2EE, .NET, system admin list is endless. Today testers are expected to know the basics. I take lot of interviews for various positions. Most of the people do not have these basics. It is difficult to survive in this world of testing only banking on "Automation tool" knowledge.

5. Learn programming languages like , C#, Java and scripting languages like PERL, python, Unix shell etc. This will increase utility value of yours. Developers and PMs will respect you.

6. Improve communication skills - take English class. Improve vocabulary. Read Read and Read.
Most of the people I have seen ignore this important skill. They can not write a paragraph on their own without spelling and grammatical mistakes. Make a habit to learn a new word a day.

7. Read and write on blogs ( Google to find out what is blog- if you don’t know already). Here are few blogs that I suggest for every test professional.

http://www.testingeducation.org/ - cem kaners free testing courses.
http://www.testing.com/cgi-bin/blog - Brian Merick site
http://blackbox.cs.fit.edu/blog/james/ - James Bach - highly respected Visionary in testing.
http://www.qualitytree.com/index.html
http://blogs.msdn.com/micahel/ - Microsoft’s Famous Braidy Tester
http://www.developsense.com/blog.html - Michael Bolten - Testing in plain English
http://www.stickyminds.com
http://www.kohl.ca/blog/ - Jonathan Kohl
http://www.io.com/~wazmo/blog/ - Bret Pettichord - Automation testing Guru
and

my own blogs -
http://blogs.msdn.com/shrinik ( my Microsoft blog - is closed since left that company)
http://shrinik.blogspot.com

Last but not the least, Be a person with positive outlook in the life. Believe in yourself other wise nobody else will believe you

All the best. Let us build a next generation test professionals community and change the way world does testing today.

29 comments:

Anantharaman said...

This is very useful blog. Appreciate the good work.

Anonymous said...

was it intentional that u had a spelling mistake (habbit) right after complaining about people making silly grammatical/spelling mistakes :) ??

Shrini Kulkarni said...

Thanks anonymous. You were very humble asking about this stupid mistake I made before posting the article. I liked the way you brought it to my notice. Honestly that was not intentional - it was mistake. I must admit. I have corrected it.
Keep doing it for my posts if you find it useful.

Shrini

Debasis Pradhan said...

Hi Shrini,

I got chance to read this excellent post of yours almost after 2 years of it's publication! But it still retains it's original essence after such a long time. It was a great read and can be useful for anyone who wants to become a skilled tester. You might like to take a glance at a similar post that I had written in last May! - How to get Started in Software Testing!

Regards,
-Debasis

Ganesh said...

Hi Shrini,

Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences !!
Am a Fresher in Testing but stopped learning new languages, Puzzle solving & IQ as soon as i got placed.
Having a glance at your article, i have started to play with atleast a puzzle or Brain Teaser per day !!
To be frank, i posted the comment just to make it without any mistakes ;-)

Ganesh Ramasamy

PartyPete said...

Excellent post. However I do think you need to make a clear distinction between technical testers/automation engineers/performance testers on one side and functional testers on the other. At our company we have great results with testers that have no technical skills whatsoever. In the last 8 years I seem to notice that testing is rather moving towards business with some specialized testers that stay technical.

http://the-koala-egg.blogspot.com/

Vyku said...

This is very good blog which helps us to learn the reality of software testing.

Vyku said...

This is very good blog which helps us to learn the reality of the software testing

Akash said...

Thanks a lot Shrini!!!!!
Since I have placed, I left all the leanings, but thanks a lot for remember the correct path, now will try to run

Deep said...

Very good information.

Could you share more info.. like typical mistakes done by testers during working on projects. I do not mean technical mistakes...

Syed Abdul Khader said...

Hi Shrini,
This is really very useful information you have passed to all aspirants. I do agree that we tester should develop the technical skills and keep ourself upto date. We should continue perform better in all aspects to prove that projects cannot be delivered successfully without this person's consent.

Krishna said...

Hi Shrini, Sincere thanks for your awesome blog....these are really some good pointers which i guess every tester be it a beginner or an experienced should always follow.good insight.

Chenththuran said...

Shrini, I have been reading so many forums and articles on QA and testing. Among all, I like your blog the most. You know how to deliver the message simply and clearly.

Thanks,
Chen

Debeesantosh said...

Undoubteldly insightful thoughts..
I have many freshers directly jumping to the conclusion that if you know QTP, you will get a job in Software Testing.
Its very difficult for them to get a proper guidance and direction.
Tools and technology are matter of days or months.
But the mental skills, inquisitiveness,pessimistic thoughts are difficult to build in a resources.
I feel sad that why did not I looked for this when I was looking for a break! :)

Kousi said...

Hi Shrini,

I do not know how I can thank you for providing a great insight of what testing is all about. I had some interest in testing, I took it as my career. After reading your blog, I feel much more happier in choosing such a career. Feels good. I just started my career, and am happy its not going in the wrong direction.. not at least after reading your blog.

Kousi

Shrini Kulkarni said...

Kousi --

I am happy that it helped in you becoming a tester ..

I encourage you too start blogging putting up your experiences of testing.

Hope to see you becoming a great tester one day

All the best

Shrini

Anonymous said...

Hi Shrini,

This is Satish, 1st time in my career commenting to a blog.

Ofcourse, i have a habit of reading lots of blogs. I remember i had read many of your msdn blogs too(naming one, "how testers should think" if i am not wrong with the title).

Hereby i thank you so much for such a professional way of display of blogs that suits all grades of s/w testers.

Also, i will be happy & thankful if you could initiate a blog that would represent the actual testing happening on big companies after all those each testing documents are created.

I think, this would help the budding test professionals to Visualize the real scene happening in the MNCs, rather just knowing to create those each doc.

Kind Regards /Satish.

Shrini Kulkarni said...

Hi Satish,

>>> Also, i will be happy & thankful if you could initiate a blog that would represent the actual testing happening on big companies

What I have been writing here and other testing blogs that are referred here actually talk about "ACTUAL" testing happening in big companies. Myself or others are not imagining testing and writing about it. So what you are reading here is the real experience or thoughts arising out of real testing.

What questions do you really have about "testing" in big companies?

Do you test software? Why not try weekend testing to get some real testing practice and ask questions about real testing (search in goggle for this)

Shrini

Anonymous said...

thanks, you really gave a precious information to testers. This will help a lot.

Unknown said...

Really great article Shrini. I was looking for some freelancing testing projects. Please let me know if I could get any freelancing projects.

Thanks for your help.

iravi said...

Yes,you are correct most of them looking short cuts and not showing interest to learn in detail any topic.
please go through end to end before taking any initiation.

vignesh said...

Respected sir,

Myself decided to be a tester as my carrier i read all your posts on your blog ,can you please provide how to start and where to start for being an tester

I like to learn step by step process

Thanks & regards
c.vignesh

bharani. r said...

hi sir, very interesting post, really it gives inspiration and passion to learn in testing environment. Thanks a lot for motivating the future tester.

srinivas kadiyala said...

Hi Shrini sir,

Thanks a lot for this post.I have noted down few very important things which i am missing in my life.

I think it should be "Brian Marick" instead of "Brian Merick"..

Srinivas Kadiyala,
@srinivasskc

Shravan Kumar said...

Hello sir,

This is a blog that can help many budding people.

from,
shravan
http://testtips123.blogspot.in/

Shravan Kumar said...

sir,

Sub:kudos for good post.

It is good post to know about terms that can be useful for a tester.It is 100 percent true about the usage of word endless in the blog.A tester role is not limited to blackbox and whitebox testing techniques.IT also has to deal with communication among stakeholders,understand diverse domains like business,tech,user point of view,sales and marketing point of view.

From,

shravan kumar
http://testtips123.blogspot.in/

johnlinn said...

The post is absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and inspiration both of which we all need! Also like to admire the time and effort you put into your blog.

Regard
John linn

johnlinn said...

The post is absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and inspiration both of which we all need! Also like to admire the time and effort you put into your blog.

Regard
John linn

johnlinn said...

The post is absolutely fantastic! Lots of great information and inspiration both of which we all need! Also like to admire the time and effort you put into your blog.

Regard
John linn