Bug Battle Nearing Finish Line, Additional Bonus for Testers

The Olympics. The World Cup. All grand battles of human strength and wit must come to an end at some point, and the 2014 Summer Bug Battle is no dHopper-Magnifying-Gifferent.

We’re nearing the finish line for our first bug competition in nearly four years, with the days waning to get in your most impactful Desktop, Web and Mobile bug submissions from testing tools contained on our Tool Reviews site!

Testers have just six days left, until Wednesday, August 6th, and only the best battlers will take home all the due glory, respect, and the cash prizes of over $1000 for bugs that are not only the most crucial and impactful, but that are part of well-written bug reports.

As an added bonus on top of the five uTest t-shirts we’ll be giving away along with cash prizes, we have sweetened the pot even more for those that get their entries in by the end of day, Sunday, August 3rd — you’ll be eligible for a bonus drawing of 1 of 5 uTest t-shirts! But only if you enter by Sunday.

Yes, you’ll be eligible for one of the sweet uTest t-shirts you see below that Community Management colleague Andrew graciously models off for us (banana not included).

The long, nobly fought battle is nearly over, so be sure to ENTER NOW!

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After Five Years of Debate…Tester Certifications Still a Touchy Subject

Mention certifications to testers and you’77ba97b0c4ll run the gamut of responses, from those that have found valuable experience and advancement in their careers by being certified, to those that preach that a certification is no substitute for cold, hard experience.

We all know how testing luminary James Bach feels about them, going on to say that “The ISTQB and similar programs require your stupidity and your fear in order to survive,” and that “dopey, frightened, lazy people will continue to use them in hiring, just as they have for years.” Suffice to say that James won’t be sending the ISTQB a card this holiday season.

Rarely has a topic been as polarizing and heated in discussion, to the point of after five years of the initial topic being launched in our uTest Community on the subject, hundreds of responses have been logged, along with sequel/knockoff threads (sequels that were actually still engaging and not superfluous like A Good Day to Die Hard).

Here are just a few of our favorite viewpoints from these discussions:

Are certifications bad? Not necessarily.
Are certifications that base their exams on multiple choice bad? Most likely.
Do certifications meet the needs of my organization? Perhaps.
Is there even a best practice in Software Testing? Not likely.
Do certifications tell you how good you are as a tester? Hell no.
(Glory L.)

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Latest Testing in the Pub Podcast Takes on Security

Testing in the PubStephen Janaway and Dan Ashby discuss many testing topics over a pint at the local watering hole in their Testing in the Pub podcasts, but security is one that hasn’t been brought up just yet — until now.

The latest podcast features a chat with Dan Billing, a.k.a. the Test Doctor, and gets into what has been a very active subject as of late at the uTest Blog. As we’ve previously mentioned, data breaches, hacking, and other security leaks have been in the news for months now, not limited to instances including New York suffering 900 data breaches last year.

In other words, the subject of this latest podcast couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. Be sure to check out Episode 8 of Testing in the Pub right now.

Testing the Limits With James Bach: Part II

In part II of our latest Testing the Limits interview with James Bach, we tried something a bit different this time, crowdsourcing some ojamesbachf the questions from our uTest Community members. Additionally, James shows us his lighter side and which of his picks won the World Cup — of his heart. 

Be sure to check out Part I of our interview, if you already haven’t.

What is the biggest hurdle to testing you see testers struggle with? (Jeff S.)

JB: The hurdles that come with having no credibility. Gain credibility, and every external hurdle gets a lot smaller. If you ever find yourself saying, “I want to do good work, but my manager insists that I test in a stupid way, instead,” then probably the issue is that your manager thinks you are incompetent. Fix that. Then when you politely tell your manager to mind his own business, he will let you get on with your work in the way you see fit.

Do you see the tide changing for development teams modernizing their testing philosophy? Or is entrenched thought winning the day? (Jeff S.)

JB: I don’t know, really. I don’t do polls or anything. I can say that business is good for me and my colleagues, right at the moment.

Which area or skill is best to focus on first as a tester to build a solid foundation or understanding of testing? (Frank B.)

JB: I would say: general systems thinking (GST). See the book Introduction to General Systems Thinking by Jerry Weinberg. Within the realm of GST, I suggest: modeling. It’s vital to gain control over your mental models of products. Models are a prison from within which you test.

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CAST 2014 to be Webcast Live for Testers, Full Coverage Also From uTest

The 9th Annual Conference of the Association for Software Testing (CAST), held this year from August 11-13 in New York2014_CAST_square City, is one of the premier testing events of the year. While this year’s edition is already sold out, testers will still be able to tune into all of the keynotes and full track sessions for free from the comfort of their homes.

CAST announced that a live stream will be available from its official site on August 11 and 12, from 9am-7pm EDT each day, so you’ll be able to watch sessions and keynotes from esteemed speakers including: James Bach, Richard Bradshaw, Matthew Heusser and Henrik Andersson.

The theme for CAST 2014 is “The Art and Science of Testing.” This year, speakers will be sharing their experiences surrounding software testing – whether the experience supports testing as an art or a science.

uTest is also pleased and honored to be a sponsor of CAST 2014. In addition to the live stream hosted on CAST’s site, be sure to stay tuned to the uTest Blog and @uTest on Twitter, as we’ll not only be reporting from the event, but sharing exclusive video interviews with some of the major personalities from the show.

Throwback Thursday: The TV Era Prior to Netflix

PrevueChannelIn this week’s Throwback Thursday, yes, believe it or not, there was a time when there was not Netflix. Yes, kids, I know that sounds like a society you wouldn’t want to be any part of.

There was a time — gasp — that you had to sit down to scheduled programming, tethered to the mercy of the television channels and what they were programming then and there. You wanted an episode of Seinfeld? Sure. Only if you happened to be planted on your couch in front of the tube during NBC’s Must-See-TV Thursday Nights.

Binge watching wasn’t a part of the vernacular. If you wanted to do a 1990s equivalent of binge watching, it would consist of either stomaching four consecutive hours of whatever was on the channel you were on, or a VHS tape full of those great Seinfeld episodes you wanted to watch so bad (in fact, I believe I had a tape like that…replete with all the commercials and poor quality you’d expect of a tape that was re-recorded on, over and over, about 2000 times).

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Announcing the 2014 Summer Bug Battle, uTest’s First Since 2010

Marty3uTest is happy and excited to announce that a proud tradition and competition that started in our community in 2008 is back after a four-year hiatus…the Bug Battle!

Bug Battles are arguably even more popular than they were since the last time we held this esteemed competition. Companies from Microsoft to Facebook are offering up bounties to testers that find the most crucial of bugs bogging down their apps, and putting their companies’ credibility on the line.

The Bug Battle launches right now, Wednesday, July 23. Testers will have two weeks, until Wednesday, August 6th, to submit the most impactful Desktop, Web and Mobile bugs from testing tools contained on our Tool Reviews site. Only the best battlers will take home all the due glory, respect, and the cash prizes! And speaking of those cash prizes, we’ll be awarding well over $1000, along with uTest swag for bugs that are not only the most crucial and impactful, but that are part of well-written bug reports.

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UPDATE: $10,000 Tesla Hacking Challenge Accepted…and Defeated

Continuing in the Security State of Mind here at the uTest Blog today, some of you may remember that we reported last week that teslahack1the 2014 SyScan conference was offering a $10,000 bounty for any tester who was able to remotely access a Tesla Model S’ automobile operating system.

That open challenge didn’t last too long, apparently.

According to The Register, students from Zhejiang University late last week were able to take control of the automobile remotely while it was driving, gaining access to its doors and sunroof by opening them, switching on the headlights, and, for some giggles, sounding the horn, too.

If you’ll remember, Tesla didn’t play any part in this open challenge to hackers at the Chinese conference, but it did issue a statement supporting “the idea of providing an environment in which responsible security researchers can help identify potential vulnerabilities,” hoping “security researchers will act responsibly and in good faith.” Opening the doors while the car is driving doesn’t sound too responsible to me, but that just underscores the fact that this is something definitely worth looking into on the part of Tesla.

I know a little company that could help.

 

Testing the Limits With James Bach – Part I

JamesBach150James Bach is synonymous with testing, and has been disrupting the industry and influencing and mentoring testers since he got his start in testing over 25 years ago at Apple. Always a great interview, James is one of our most popular guests and we’re happy to have him back for his first Testing the Limits since 2011. For more on James’ background, his body of work and his testing philosophy, you can check out his blog, website or follow him on Twitter.

In Part One of our latest talk with James, he talks about a future that involves a ‘leaner’ testing world, the state of context-driven testing outside of the United States, and why you’re “dopey” if you’re a manager using certain criteria in hiring your testers.

uTest: We know you don’t enjoy certifications when it comes to testers. In fact, in a recent blog, you mentioned that ‘The ISTQB and similar programs require your stupidity and your fear in order to survive.’ Do you feel like certifications are picking up steam when it comes to hiring and if they’re becoming even more of a pervasive issue?

JB: I don’t have any statistics to cite, but my impression from my travels is that certifications have no more steam today than they did 10 years ago. Dopey, frightened, lazy people will continue to use them in hiring, just as they have for years.

uTest: Speaking of pervasive problems, what in your opinion has changed the most – for better or for worse – in the testing industry as a whole since we talked with you last almost 3 years ago?

JB: For the better: the rise of the Let’s Test conference. That makes two solidly Context-Driven conference franchises in the world. This is related to the general rise of a spirited European Context-Driven testing community.

Nothing much else big seems to have changed in the industry, from my perspective. I and my colleagues continue to evolve our work, of course.

uTest: In a recent interview, you mentioned that you see the future of testing, in 2020 for instance, as being made up just of a small group of testing “masters” that jump into testing projects and oversee the testing getting done…by people that aren’t necessarily “testers.” Do you see QA departments going completely by the wayside in this new reality of a leaner testing world? Wouldn’t this be a threat to the industry in general?

JB: I’m not sure whether you mean QA groups, per se, or testing groups (which are often called QA). I don’t see testing groups completely going away across all the sectors of the industry, but for some sectors, maybe. For instance, it wouldn’t surprise me if Google got rid of all its “testers” and absorbed that activity into its development groups, who would then pursue it with the ruthless efficiency of bored teenagers mopping floors at McDonald’s (a company as powerful as Google can do a lot of silly things for a very long time without really suffering. Look at how stupidly HP has been managed for the last 20 years, and they are still, amazingly, in business).

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Are There Enough ‘Intellectual’ Software Testers?

imagesJames Bach is no stranger to tackling heated topics, and in general, being one of the most influential disruptors in the in the testing industry.

So it comes as no surprise that in a recent blog, James provided some fodder for a great discussion in the uTest Forums, arguing that there aren’t enough intellectual testers in the field — that is, testers that are willing to challenge themselves or the status quo:

“The state of the practice in testing is for testers NOT to read about their craft, NOT to study social science or know anything about the proper use of statistics or the meaning of the word ‘heuristic,’ and NOT to challenge the now 40 year stale ideas about making testing into factory work that lead directly to mass outsourcing of testing to lowest bidder instead of the most able tester.”

While there was a fair amount of pushback to this, a surprising amount of uTesters tended to agree, including one tester that even went so far as to call it a “pet peeve” of his. However, while agreeing with Bach’s assessment, these same testers argued that it isn’t necessarily their fault — it’s a product of their environment:

“To conclude, I believe that the issue lies with how projects are managed. If no time is left for more robust testing, then it almost doesn’t matter how intellectual or technically savvy a tester is if all he/she is going to have time to do is create and execute tests against specifications. In other words, intellectual testers don’t have much opportunity for more intellectual testing. A strong tester would not be able to showcase those skills in this environment.

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