Thursday, December 14, 2006

Software Tester's Talents?

Recently I finished reading "First, Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt W. Coffman". I liked and agreed with the authors’ explanation of the terms Skills, Knowledge, and Talents. What they say is
  • Skills are acquired abilities to perform the basic steps of certain activities.
  • Knowledge consists of the facts and lessons learned.
  • Talents are naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied.

The authors also mention that the skills and knowledge can be acquired through learning and practice whereas the talents are innate and cannot be acquired.

I like to analogize skills and knowledge as water and nutrients that we can provide to a plant growing in soil which may be fertile or may not (that is which may have talents or may not).

For a software tester I guess “thinking talent” called “formulation” is required. (Note: The term in quotes are used by the authors in the book.) I believe we have identified acquirable skills and knowledge for software testing profession (otherwise there would not be software testing coaches and classes) but wonder if anyone has identified other talents required for software testing profession. I also wonder what it may mean to impart these skills and knowledge to those who do not possess the talents. Do we really look for talents in the candidate for software tester role or we just look at her skill-set and experience (~ knowledge)?

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