My job requires me to test. I like to test – puzzles intrigue me and I love digging around in an application looking for ways to break it.
I don’t blog about it much but I’m a software tester. I’ve previously described myself as a “systems tester”, and this is true too as all the applications I test are part of a bigger system and are sub-systems themselves. My job is in a “whole system” test environment, in that we have a mini hardware network which we manage with our OSS applications. I test the OSS layer, although we inevitably have to know a bit about the hardware beneath it all.
It’s a varied job and I really enjoy doing it although the way that we test seems different to many of my testing peers working for other companies. I’ll be needing a new job soon (due to redundancy at the end of September) and I’ve been keeping an eye on the testing scene (surprisingly, there is one!) and we’re really only touching on a fraction of the techniques available to the modern tester.
For instance, I’m very much a manual tester. I’m aware of some test automation tools and the needs for it but I’ve never used them, nor had the chance to try them out. It seems that nearly everyone else out there is busy writing test scripts in arcane programming languages, while I’m prodding about a screen with a mouse and keyboard following instructions written in word documents. We seem to have a software development approach that is very “waterfall” in nature, in that the software appears like magic and we inevitably find lots of bugs. Some areas have attempted some agile techniques but this wouldn’t necessarily suit our test purposes as we’re essentially running validation and verification tests at the end of the development cycle.
I don’t want to be disadvantaged in the testing jobs market. I have over twenty years experience in the telecommunications industry of which the last ten I’ve spent exclusively testing. I have desirable testing skills but I do lack experience in some testing techniques that our company hasn’t seen fit to introduce.
These are the reasons that I’ve become a member of The Software Testing Club. It’s a social network for testers and I’ve found all sorts of interesting posts about testing in general, testing applications and techniques. There’s an excellent RSS feed for external testing blog posts (including job vacancies) and they’ve just published their own newspaper called The Testing Planet.
It’s an excellent attempt at a journal for testers and the PDF is free. Go and get it if you’re into that sort of thing like me.