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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Experiences from the Testing Trenches: In GIFs

Memes, Grumpy Cat, Which State are You? quizzes and now GIFs. At the risk of not turning into Reddit or Buzzfeed who do these things far better than we ever could, we rounded up some of our testers’ experiences as told in movable image form…just this one time. Enjoy.

Is it a bug? Is it working as designed? Can’t decide:

QA’s look at a new build:

My reaction when there’s a known issues list of 300+ lines when receiving a new build:

Product was shipped with a critical bug:

It’s all fun exploring new things until something serious happens:

This gif is epic XD

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Tesla $10,000 Hacking Challenge: The Beginning of a New Era for Security Testers?

Bug bounties are a dime a dozen these days with companies from Facebook to Microsoft paying out hefty ransoms of up to $100,000 for testers that find critical tesla-svulnerabilities. But this latest bug bounty may have just taken security testing into the future…and to a whole other level of awesomeness.

According to the International Business Times, the 2014 SyScan conference will be offering a $10,000 bounty for any tester who is able to remotely access a Tesla Model S’ automobile operating system. The luxury electric car manufacturer isn’t behind the stunt, but one of the sleek models will still be on hand for conference attendees. Anyone who registers for the security show, beginning this week in Beijing and one of the most well-known in Asia, is eligible to take the challenge.

The bounty seeks to highlight the most vulnerable of areas that black hat testers could seek to exploit: the link between a driver’s mobile phone and the car’s onboard computer system.

Personally, I’d want the sweet ride that I had just hacked into versus the cash bounty, but that’s just me.

What do you think? Is the Tesla hackathon the beginning of a new dawn for security testers? Would you have what it takes to hack into an automobile operating system that is widely thought to be pretty iron-clad? Sound off in the comments below.

Upcoming Software Testing Events for Summer 2014 Include CAST, ChinaTest

The Summer is usually a leisurely paced time of year — Business Communication Duplicate modelyou’ve got your days at the beach, road trips and fun in the sun. The software testing conference scene is no different, really, but there are a few major notable shows to take note of as we get deep into the summer heat:

July

  • International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis (ISSTA): Taking place next week, ISSTA is the leading research symposium on software testing and analysis, bringing together academics, industrial researchers, and practitioners to exchange new ideas, problems, and experience on how to analyze and test software systems.
  • ChinaTest 2014: James Bach and some other big names in software testing are at this major Chinese show this month.

August

  • SoCraTes 2014: The show is all about the sustainable creation of useful software in a responsible way. In short, everyone who is concerned with coding, testing, code quality, software craftsmanship would want to be at this one — so that means testers! Check out this one in Germany.
  • Conference of the Association for Software Testing (CAST) 2014: CAST’s 9th Annual software testing conference in New York City is one of the most well-known amongst testers, and for good reason: it perennially features major testing players including James Bach, Matthew Heusser, Michael Bolton and Fiona Charles, and is interactive in format with debates and panels taking center stage, along with content built by testers for testers. uTest will also be covering the event from NYC in August, along with some choice interviews, so stay tuned to Social and the Blog!

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Q&A: Context-Driven Testing Champions Talk Trends, Preview Let’s Test Oz

Henrik Andersson and David Greenlees are two well-known contributors to the context-driven testing community and together co-founded the Let’s Test conferences, which celebrate the context-driven school of thought. Let’s Test Oz is slated for September 15-17 just outside Sydney, Australia, and uTest has secured an exclusive 10% discount off new registrations. Be sure to email testers@utest.com for this special discount code if you plan on attending.

In this interview, we talk with Henrik and David on trends in the context-driven community, and get a sense of what testers can expect at Let’s Test Oz.

19c4175HenrikAndersson

uTest: Like James Bach, you’re both members of the ‘context-driven’ testing community. What drove each of you to context-driven testing?

HA: Actually, James did. I had close to no awareness of the context-driven testing (CDT) community before I hosted James’ RST class in Sweden in spring of 2007. During my discussions with James, I found that we shared lots of fundamental views on testing, and he insisted that I should meet more people in the CDT community.

James told me about the CAST conference that took place in the States, and that just before this, there would be a small peer conference called WHET 4 that his brother Jon hosted. A few days later, I got an invitation from Jon Bach to attend. At this workshop, where we spent a weekend discussion on Boundary Testing, I met testers like Cem Kaner, Ross Collard, Scott Barber, Rob Sabourin, Michael Bolton, Dough Hoffman, Keith Stobie, Tim Coulter, Dawn Haynes, Paul Holland, Karen Johnson, Sam Kalman, David Gilbert, Mike Kelly, and, of course, Jon and James Bach. From then on I was hooked!

DG: Difficult question to answer without writing a novel! I wrote about my testing journey some time back, however, that doesn’t really touch on my drivers toward the CDT community. If I was to pinpoint one thing, it would be the book Lessons Learned in Software Testing (Bach, Kaner, Pettichord). This was my first introduction to the community and to what I believe is a better way to test…in fact…the only way to test.

What keeps me here is the fantastic people I come across each and every day. We challenge each other, we’re passionate, and we’re not afraid to put our opinions out there for the world to hear and critique. This all adds to the betterment of our craft, which is our ultimate goal. I’m a firm believer that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to testing, and when you add that to my natural tendency to explore rather than confirm, I find that the CDT community is a great fit for me.

uTest: And speaking of James Bach, he’s one of the keynote speakers at Let’s Test Oz in the Fall. Can you tell us a little bit about the idea behind the show, and why you felt it was time for context-driven conferences in Europe and Australia?

HA: Let’s Test is all about building, growing and strengthening the CDT community. We have successfully arranged Let’s Test three years in a row in Europe, but the attendees are coming from all over the world. The idea behind Let’s Test is to create a meeting place for testers to learn, share experiences, grow, meet other testers, do some real testing, and, of course, to have a whole lot of fun.

When David Greenlees and Ann-Marie Charrett told me about what they were looking to achieve, I immediately felt that it was in line with Let’s Test, and believe Let’s Test can be a great vehicle to grow the CDT community in Australia.

Last year, we did a one-day tasting of Let’s Test in Sydney, and this year, we did one in the Netherlands. In November, we will be hosting one in Johannesburg, South Africa. The purpose of the small tastings of Let’s Test is for testers to get a glance at the Let’s Test experience, at a really low cost. If you cant come to the real Let’s Test, this is a great alternative to check out what it is all about.

DG: From the Australian point of view, it’s fair to say that the CDT community is very small. We refer to the area as ‘Downunder’ — this is our way of saying Australia and New Zealand. I felt it was time to change that, and one way to help the CDT community thrive is to hold a CDT conference.

For quite a few years now, I’ve felt that Downunder needed a different style of software testing conference, one where conferring is the ultimate goal, and so I emailed Henrik, and he was extremely positive and encouraging…so here we are.

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uTest Non-profit Partner Brings 150 Software Testing Jobs to the Bronx

extralargeIT job training non-profit Per Scholas plans to bring 150 new software testing jobs to the Bronx, New York, this Fall when it opens a large software testing center there.

According to a DNAinfo.com news story:

Per Scholas, which is based in The Bronx, and the IT consulting company Doran Jones plan to open the roughly $1 million, three-story, 90,000-square-foot software testing center at 804 E. 138th St., near Willow Avenue.

All of the entry-level jobs will be sourced from Per Scholas graduates, and the boom of 150 new jobs is widely expected to open a lot of doors not usually available in the urban Bronx neighborhood. Keith Klain, co-CEO of Doran Jones, hopes to see the center eventually grow to 500 employees.

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Video Courses at uTest University for Testers on the Go

Are you more of a visual learner? Perhaps you just don’t have the time to sift through vast chapters of knowledge as a busy tester? Video-based courses at uTest University may just be videowhat you’re looking for. The uTest University library is full of video courses for when you’re on the go, featuring topics including:

  • Accessibility
  • Test Automation (including Selenium basics)
  • Capturing logs on iOS/Android devices
  • Introductions to iOS and Android testing
  • Essentials for well-written bug reports
  • Penetration testing
  • Common testing mistakes to avoid

Take a look at all of the Video courses at uTest University today.

uTu is free for all members of the uTest Community. We are constantly adding to our course catalog to keep you educated on the latest topics and trends. If you are an expert in UX, load & performance, security, or mobile testing, you can share your expertise with the community by authoring a uTu course. Contact the team at university@utest.com for more information.