Tuesday, September 13, 2022

A Direction Sign for Beginners and Everyone to Start and Grow in Software Testing


I'm volunteering for the Agile Testing Alliance (ATA) for this year 2022.  This 10th September 2022, we had an ATA Round Table Talk 2 on account of International Testers Day.  We planned two events on this day -- QuizATAhon-1 and Ask Me Anything (AMA) with ATA volunteers.

One of the questions that we volunteers got from the community is:

"Best advice for beginners who wants to start there career in the testing field as per there experience level"

I shared my thoughts on this question in the AMA session.  I have a strong intuitive feeling that this will be the question of the interns, freshers, and also of experienced test engineers.  Hence, I want to write it as a blog post, so that it can be referred to as one of the directional heuristics.

This is Not an Advice

What I'm sharing in this post it is not advice.  It is information. You can use this information to advise yourself on what you should be doing to grow consistently in the practice of Software Testing and testing job.  As said, it is a directional heuristic that you can use.

This information will make sense to every one of us irrespective of experience in the industry with software testing as a career and practice.  There is no best advice.  I see, advice is information or carries a piece of information that can show us a direction.  And, the advice is a heuristic!

Direction Sign To Be a Skilled Tester

This will be super useful to you if you actually make use of it to your need and to the maximum possible extent that you can.

  1. Find your Software Testing Community
    • You might find the community quicker than finding the people, books, and syllabus of Software Testing
      • If you don't read Software Testing and Programming resources, someone in the community might be reading it
      • You can use their learning for your growth
    • Look out for the Software Testing Communities in your place (city or country)
    • Just do not look at one testing community; find more than one active communities
      • Collaborate with the communities
      • Interact with fellow Test Engineers in the community
      • Start contributing to the communities in the possible ways you can
    • Note that, the groups on Social Media will not make it a community
      • People come together in a community
      • Events, Meetups, Conferences, Discussions and much more will happen in the communities
    • Today we can associate with Software Testing Communities which are in other countries
      • Could be this community will have one of its chapters in your city or country
    • Find the Software Testing communities
  2. Mindset - Do not get easily influenced
    • You are bound to get influenced and follow easily
      • when you look into the community and the people in the community
        • with their works, writing, accomplishments, social presence, and identity
      • when your fellow peers in college or the workplace talk about testing to you in anyways and in any dimensions
        • It is their opinion
        • It is their understanding
        • It is their assumptions
        • It is their mindset
      • and, with what you read or watch about testing posted on social spaces
    • Have the mind and thought that questions; try to seek what makes sense rationally to you
      • Be practical and experimental
      • Do not attach your past and present experience's emotion to others' opinions
        • You evaluate it
        • Pick what makes sense to you and to your context
    • Do not be a mind of other Test Engineer or practitioner
      • Have our own voice and identity
      • Express your opinion while you respect the work and opinion of other Test Engineers and practitioners
      • Develop your working style, learning style, and problem-solving style
        • But do not stop observing others and how they are doing it!
    • Question!
      • It is about being included than being influenced
      • Do not stop questioning
      • Talk, and talk with respect!
    • A test is a question asked to learn what it is and to understand what actually it is
      • It needs a mindset
      • A mindset not to get easily influenced and accept an opinion or a thought
    • Note: Do not be influenced by this blog of me; just read it as a heuristic
      • You build your approach using this heuristic only if it helps you
  3. Knowing the chaos around Software Testing is very important
    • Everyone knows Software Testing and everyone believes to have an idea of what it is
      • This is the state of mind in the college that teaches computers and programming
        • This is the state of mind in the software industry
      • Chaos starts right from the syllabus, textbooks, and reference books, and with you
    • Here are some chaos and myths existing for 20+ years and they will exist in the coming years
      • Software Tester has no bright career as Software Testing is not technical
      • End of Software Testing is coming soon
      • Software Testing has seen its end
      • No need of knowing the programming
        • It is a necessity in today's Software Development context
      • It is an easy job
        • Is it so?
        • Try finding at least 3 business stopping risks and problems in the system every day
          • If you do this consistently, label it as an easy job
          • Let your business stakeholder acknowledge the findings of your testing as a business stopping risks and problems
      • No good money earned when compared to a programmer
      • No career in Software Testing as we grow with our experience in the industry
      • To be a Software Tester one need not be technical
      • It is a Women's job
        • Yes, that is how it was projected and was said
          • I'm saying this from my experience in India
            • I'm not aware of how it was or it is in other countries
        • 2014 and onwards, I have not heard this statement
        • Happy, that we don't hear this today
          • Thanks to SDET and SET roles
            • At least, this removed the gender bias is what I see
            • Today both women and men work in the role of SDETs
              • I worked with women SDETs and I did learn from them; I say this is in pride
          • I'm happy that women are taken out of this framing today
            • I'm very happy!
            • We don't have to bring gender discrimination in Software Testing career and jobs anymore
            • I see, there is no job that women cannot do today in the technology space
              • This is an empowerment of women
              • Women are equally skilled and work to upskill
          • We have skilled women technologists, CTOs, VP Engineering, Architects, Test Architects, SDETs, & Test Engineers
          • I'm happy that I have worked with technically skilled women and I reported to a few of them
          • Ah! I should stop calling men and women here; it is we Test Engineers
    • Do not panic with the chaos that is created frequently and consistently
      • Talk to your community
  4. Find your Mentors
    • I said mentors and not a mentor
      • Have more than one mentor
      • Know how to work and practice while you have more than one mentors
      • Respect your mentors by giving the credits and with your gratitude
    • Find your mentors in the workplace and in the community
    • Good if your mentors have the contrasting thought process and ideologies
      • Pick from both sides
      • Know what both sides advocate and practices
      • Apply the appropriate one to your work when the context demands it
    • Do not be the mouthpiece of your mentor
    • Do not be the mind copy or replica of your mentor
    • Do not imitate your mentor
    • Seek your mentor's assistance in you being you
      • Seek help in growing with your identity and voice
      • Have a voice and your identity
  5. Communicate with your Software Testing Community
    • When you talk to the community, you will know
      • where you are
      • where is Software Testing
      • the challenges your fellow testers in the community are having
      • how the challenges and problems are being solved
    • It will set you a tempo with an attitude if you talk and share your learning
    • In simple, just read or listen to the problems the testers share everyday
      • This is awareness!
      • At least, it opens to the awareness of technology, tech stacks, problems, solutions, industry, people, and more
    • Attend the meetups
      • Small crowd and high interaction with networking
      • High exchange of learning and experiences
  6. Be the Technical Mind
    • We Test Engineers are said to think like a user
      • Good!
      • This is an empathy mindset that is being cultivated in us for the users who use the solution we are building
      • But this empathy is alone enough today? No!
    • Empathy with technical skills will be much value adding
      • And it is today's need
    • When I say technical, it is not just programming
      • Programming is one small aspect of being technical
    • Let your technical journey start from learning:
      • How this works and what makes it work
      • Know the technology layers internally and externally when you learn how it works or when it does not work
      • Start here! And expand your technical capability dimensions
    • Today, we are said and expected to think like an engineer
      • An engineer who understands the user
      • An engineer who understands the business
      • An engineer who understands the investor
      • An engineer who understands the management and managers
      • An engineer who understands all this can change at any time
      • An engineer who can work, scale and deliver in a startup mindset and environment
  7. Seek and Share Awareness
    • What sets back we Test Engineers is the lack of awareness before lack of attempts to practice
    • We don't work, collaborate and associate to be aware of
    • We are not aware of -- what to be aware of
      • This includes me as well
      • I consistently keep trying to be aware
    • Do not just attend  and be part of the Software Testing community
      • Attend the community of programmers, DevOps, products, businesses, startups, enterprise
      • You will see the direction sign -- which happens to be a heuristic
  8. Know what is your Software Testing
    • Everyone has their understanding of Software Testing
    • Engineering Managers and Director of Engineering with whom I worked had their own understanding of Software Testing
      • No one was similar nor did match anywhere
      • All have their version of testing in their work
    • Know what is Software Testing you want to practice
    • Software Testing is contextual
      • Tailor and deliver Software Testing to what is expected at your workplace
      • While you do that, try educating your fellow Test Engineers
        • That's the seeding
        • This is the place where we can seed and harvest for a better tomorrow in Software Testing and for our growth
  9. Practice your Software Testing in all dimensions
    • Software Testing is with people, software, hardware, and more
    • When we are dealing with Software we cannot be away from programming
    • Programming gives a different order to our testing
      • Practice programming
      • Embrace it
      • Shell out the fear of programming
      • Start small; more importantly start and continue
        • To keep going, find one tester in the community who wants to do it
        • Go to your mentors and follow up with your accomplishments, setbacks, challenges, and problems
        • Get unblocked; make progress; learn, implement and share
    • Do not run away from the practice of automation
      • It is a necessity for today's Software Development & Engineering
    • Find all possible dimensions you can
  10. Build your portfolio
    • Explore how to build your portfolio in Software Testing
    • Ask community
      • We have several portfolios to refer to in the community
    • Build it and continue improvising it with the time and context
  11. Solve the Software Testing problems
    • Before solving at least be aware of the problems
    • Community is one place where you can hear the problems and challenges
    • Contribute to the solution and solving
      • This helps you a lot as a practicing Test Engineer
    • Problems come in flavors and contexts
      • Testing, Automation, DevOps, Product, Requirement, Delivery, and more
        • Have yours hands-on on all these verticals to help and scale your testing and automation
    • This will make you talk and help you grow with experience and learning
  12. Tune up yourself with Business, Political, and Management skills
    • Not all problems can be solved with a technical mindset and skills
    • It needs the skill of political and management orientation
      • Do good and be good
      • Work on how you communicate; it is important
    • Know how the business decisions are made
    • Know how business decisions influence technology, engineering, and anything
      • The business decision need not be based on logical and technical analysis
  13. Beat your EGO and respect your self-respect with dignity for Software Testing
    • Ego has killed a lot of us from talking and growing
    • Ego has made many managers lose their engineers
    • Ego had made many testers lose what their managers could offer to learn and grow
    • Software Testing has its touch points in every vertical of Software Development
      • Programming
      • DevOps
      • Product Management
      • Solutions
      • and, what else?
    • Testing is done in all these verticals
      • Ego can set us back and block from what we can make for our benefit and contribute to the organization and business
    • Managing the ego is a skill
      • While managing ego, balancing one's self-respect is a challenge
        • Know what is the objective and what you make out of it for your growth
      • While doing this keep the dignity of Software Testing and team morale high along with your self-respect
      • Talk to your mentors!
    • Yes, talk to your mentors
      • Mentors might be handling ego, self-respect, and dignity of their work and practice
      • Your mentors can tell you the ways to do it
    • Take care of your Mental Health and help others too
      • Physical health is also important

This information should hint you with the direction of practice, growth, and excellence as a Software Testing practitioner.  I'm here to connect with you anytime and talk more and take it forward.


  1. Thank you for pointing in detail . Always I get motivated with your posts

    1. Thanks! I'm glad that my sharing keeps you motivated.

  2. This is a well written article with some deep thoughts around testing. have taken some notes out of it. This can be printed as well and can help us time to time..

    really like the easy part that you have mentioned.,, how its not..
    Gaurav khurana

    1. Thanks, Gaurav

      That's a nice idea about publishing it as a small book of 10 or 15 pages write up. :)


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