Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Ideal Software Tester

I am not sure whether I am a software tester by virtue or not but at least I am a software tester by choice (in the beginning I had an option to choose development or testing). Also I am not sure if I am test obsessed or test infected. Since I chose to be a software tester by profession without having any formal training in computers and software testing, I try to learn from many sources. I consider myself to be a mere practitioner in software testing who uses ideas developed by many experts who freely share their wisdom. In that pursuit sometimes I wonder if I have what it needs to be a successful tester. “First, Break All the Rules” started me into thinking if I have the talents required for software testing. But what are those talents? I tried to solicit some help and I was advised to take a crack at identifying tester talents on my own. So here I go and make an attempt at listing the talents for software testers. It is not my original! I found this list in a PowerPoint presentation by Constance Colthorp. I understand there could be other sources where I can find this. But this was handy with me. I must admit that it will take time for me to think originally on the topic of tester talents; for that matter on any topic in software testing.

Constance listed following points for an "ideal QA tester":

  • Great attention to detail and an eye for details
  • Not easily bored
  • Can maintain focus on a given task
  • Divergent thinker; open to many alternatives
  • Willing to repeat the same task time and again
  • Good tolerance for ambiguity
  • Willing to accept that ‘you can’t catch them all’ (or fix every ‘bug’ that is identified)

And for me as all of them seem to be "patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior" I consider them to be some of the talents of a software tester.


Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Willing to repeat the same task time and again

You might want to re-word it this way :

Willing to repeat the same task time and again yet learn different things each time.

The other points that you might want to add is -

1. Good enough questioning skills.
2. Self generated energy towards learning things, no matter how difficult or hard you feel it to be.

Wait a minute...

(I remember a slide in RST http:satisfice.com/rst.pdf )

Slide 37 [ as on december 26 2006 2 15 PM IST ] that contains what might be in a tester's head.

Let us not call it ideal but lets say, its mandatory.

Good going Vinayak!

Vinayak Kumbhakern said...

Willing to repeat the same task time and again yet learn different things each time.

I agree that it would be better way to put it for an ET tester.

Now coming to questioning "skills"... you said it "skills" so it is a skill not a talent. But if I read it as "questioning attitude" then perhaps it could be termed as a talent.. not sure. And yes, self generated energy towards learning things seems to me an innate behavior that cannot be taught to someone. So it should be a talent.

On James' RST slides p.37 what I see is mostly knwoledge and skills.

Deviprasad said...

It's nice, Ideal QA tester points...
Divergent thinker; open to many alternatives..To acquire this (any skill/talent) do we have any best practices that we can follow to improve our self.
As SQA how can evaluate or measure myself. .which tells me where and all I can(need) to improve.