This piece was originally posted by our good friends over at SmartBear Software. If you haven’t read it already for some context to this article, check out Part I in this series, “Don’t Fear the Code: How Basic Coding Can Boost Your Testing Career.”
Michael Larsen will also be joining us for our next Testing the Limits interview, so be sure to stay tuned to the uTest Blog.
Start Small, and Start Local
My first recommendation to anyone who wants to take a bigger step into programming is to “start with the shell.” If you use a PC, you have PowerShell. If you are using Mac or Linux, you have a number of shells to use (I do most of my shell scripting using bash).
The point is, get in and see how you interact with the files and the data on your system that can inform your testing. Accessing files, looking for text patterns, moving things around or performing search and replace operations are things that the shell does exceptionally well.
Learning how to use the various command line options, and “batching commands” together is important. From there, many of the variable, conditional, looping and branching options that more dedicated programming languages use are available in the shell. The biggest benefit to shell programming is that there are many avenues that can be explored, and that a user can do something by many different means. It’s kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure book!