uTest Announces First Testers of the Quarter, Introduces Hall of Fame

A virtual drumoll, please. uTest is proud to announce its first-ever Testers of the QuarterMarty3.

If you’ll remember correctly, this quarterly program exists solely to recognize and award the rock stars of our global community. Testers recently concluded voting for their peers and mentors, recognizing their dedication and quality work in various facets of uTest participation: test cycle performance, course writing, blogging, and tool reviews.

And the recognition doesn’t stop there — as part of this announcement, Tester of the Quarter is now part of a recognition hub for not only this program, but all uTest award programs, including uTester of the Year. We are proud to introduce the uTest Hall of Fame, honoring the top testers in our community…past and present!

Now, without further ado, here are Q3 2014’s Testers of the Quarter:

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Vote for the Ideal Tool Contest Finalists

We asked the uTest community to design their ideal testing tool, and the community has spoken! Today, we are happy to announce the Top Ten Finalists for the Ideal Tool contest. Each entry is in the running for the $1,000 Grand Prize, determined by YOUR votes. The voting period starts today and will run until Tuesday, September 30th.

You can find more information about each entry below, as well as the poll to cast your vote at the end of this post. Happy voting and good luck to the finalists! prize

Meet the Finalists

The 30-second Recorder

A testing tool helping the tester to reproduce recent defect found by recording his activities in the last 30 seconds, and producing his activities in an activity log as well. This tool will save all of the user’s activities (clicks on screen, typing, etc.) in a log file and will record the screen itself and the user’s activities for the last 30 seconds (always keeps 30 secs of recording), helping the tester to provide clear steps to reproduce the defect for the developer.
Read the complete entry (PDF) or vote now!

The Bug Recommender and Custom Template Tool

Single desktop app with support by mobile and web add-ons – all completely synchronized with one another. The Bug Recommender System automatically scans for each basic function of the product (e.g. find broken links, broken image, unplayable video, basic issue for form validation, etc.). For each issue found, the system directly captures a screenshot with annotation where is the location of issue and converts it to a custom template report that ready to submit alongside with all the attachments.
Read the complete entry (PDF) or vote now!

The Complete Mobile Bug Report

A complete mobile bug report (GUI, functional, or technical) for both environments (iOS and Android) that contains screenshots (preferably with markups), videos, logs, and crash reports. In order to get all these info currently you need several separate apps for each environment and, of course before that, the installation of the testing app is needed. This ideal testing tool would combine all these features into one.

Read the complete entry (PDF) or vote now!

The Multi-Template Manager

Testers often work with templates. Keeping templates up-to-date takes time and it’s easy to make a mistake (copy old information). This tool helps to manage multiple templates, provide correct information, and allows saving them and accessing them easily in any text form on any website. The basic idea is to create a set of notes and have the option to paste it from a context menu on any website.
Read the complete entry (PDF) or vote now!

The Repro Matrix

An issue reproduction tracking tool intended to be used in conjunction with the issue tracking solution you already have in place. It’s goal is to simplify the way you define, collect, and consume information related to pervasiveness of issues. You can group a collection of related issues, define the environments those issues need to be checked against, and it provides a quick way to enter and use the reproduction information you just gathered.
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There’s an App U for That: uTest in New England Journal of Higher Education

If you haven’t noticed, apps are kind of a big deal right now.little-u How big? To the tune of about 466,000 jobs from 2007 to 2012 being created by the apps economy, according to a TechNet survey.

It is also anticipated that employer demand will create 3.7 million new IT jobs by 2016. So it’s only natural, going hand-in-hand with this explosive job growth, that there is a need for workers with skill sets that will allow them to run the tech necessary to power this new app economy.

According to Applause/uTest Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Matt Johnston, who sat down for an interview with the New England Journal of Higher Education, it’s also an “alternative” path that testers are taking to learn these in-demand skill sets:

“With a recent surge in employment thanks to the proliferation of IT jobs, many adults who are seeking to turn their careers around and want to participate in the apps economy are turning to alternative education paths—because going back to college will take too long for them to obtain a degree.”

uTest has been proud to have been a part of this alternative path with the launch of uTest University almost a year ago, designed to be a single source for testers of all experience levels to access free training courses. You can check out the full article right here with Matt’s interview, which gets into how testers and other IT workers are taking education into their own hands in this new economy, and how programs like uTest University and other massive open online courses (MOOCs) are leading the charge.

And you can also start your education right away — no expensive textbooks needed — over at uTest University, totally free to members of the uTest Community.

Meet the uTesters: Steve Greenhill

524118_499758870038725_1059980591_nSteve Greenhill is a Gold-rated tester and Test Team Lead (TTL) on Paid Projects at uTest, hailing from England. Steve has over ten years of experience in software testing, including as a team lead, and has worked on both manual- and automation-driven projects. He has worked in a wide range of sectors from banking to education and TV broadcasting.

Be sure to also follow Steve’s profile on uTest as well so you can stay up to date with his activity in the community!

uTest: Android or iOS?

Steve: Most definitely, Android. I have always liked the flexibility along with the ease of capturing logs and other debugging information from a test perspective. I certainly think iOS set the bar initially, but it has been interesting seeing the progression Android has made. Admittedly, imitation at the start was the best form of flattery to Apple. Now, I do think Android is pushing technology a little better. It is not to say I don’t have a few Apple devices, though.

uTest: What drew you into testing initially? What’s kept you at it?

Steve: I studied Computer Science at the degree level, and at first, I thought I wanted to be a programmer. I have always enjoyed a social life, and while on University placement as a developer, I spent more time with the “cool guys” in QA. Which kind of made me think that I wanted their lifestyle a little more. That seems funny now, but I am glad I followed the testing approach. I love being challenged to find issues, to pursue a never-ending task of ensuring metrics are more effectively presented, and I love the daily “bridge-building” between developers and testers.

uTest: What’s your favorite part of being in the uTest community?

Steve: The favorite part is just that – being in a community. Throughout my years of “uTesting,” I have built a good relationship with Project Managers (PMs), TTLs and testers. This relationship is not only work-related, but has good social aspects, too. In terms of work, I literally have access to a wealth of knowledge. For example, I was struggling with a Japanese-focused issue, and I contacted one of my “uTest friends” based in that region for a translation of a field which just didn’t make sense in Google Translate.

On a social level, I work with some of the most amusing TTLs, so every day is quite funny! One thing I do say to people who are new to uTest is: Keep working hard — not everything happens right away. However, with the right focus and eagerness to succeed, you will soon be embraced by the Community.

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ISO 29119 Draws the Ire of Testers in uTest Community

Earlier in the week, you may remember that 30-year IT vet James Christie posted his thoughts on why the ISO-Logonew testing standard released by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is bad for the testing profession.

The post kind of blew up on Twitter, with testers from within uTest and the greater testing community immersed in a flurry of tweets and retweets to their followers. Michael Bolton even called it a “must-read.”

So why are so many people up in arms about this standard and tagging their Twitter posts with the harsh #Stop2919 hashtag? Well, you can be the judge and read the initial post from James to decide, but some of our testers took to the uTest Forums after the blog post went live to explain what ticked them off about it:

“Too bad we can’t impeach ISO 9000 [another standard from ISO]. I will not work for a company that requires ISO. I’m a process guy that loves to have a defined process that works for everything I’m doing. I don’t like process for the sake of process and that is what ISO feels like when implemented.”

“I left my last company because the industry they worked in was so heavily regulated — all we did was process, process, process. We never did any real work.”

“To say that you MUST test a certain way, no matter whether it is a tiny phone app or a massive mainframe control suite, is, well, really nothing short of insane.”

Testers in the outside world, we want to know: Is ISO 29119 a danger to the testing profession as a whole? What would be your reaction to someone that wants you to sign the petition to #STOP29119? Are standards (and certifications from organizations such as ISTQB) bad for testing in general, anyways?

If you’ve got strong feelings against (or for) 29119, we want to hear from you in the comments below.

uTest Platform Update of the Week: September 4th Edition

Accept-or-DeclineOur testers on paid projects here at uTest are busy people – many of them have day jobs as testers. Thus, they pull off an evening Clark Kent transition into Superman to get even more work done in their spare time.

Aware of this, our Platform Team continually pushes to make the uTest experience more intuitive and time-saving for our busy testers. As part of this push, we’ll be updating you each week on the latest and greatest additions to the uTest Platform.

Here are the notable features launching today as part of the uTest Platform release for Sept. 4:

  • Intuitive bug list sorting: TTLs will be able to see bugs in order of report date, and testers will be able to see the most recently submitted bugs first
  • NDA improvements on test cycles: Testers won’t have to fill out NDAs to decline test cycles, and NDAs will have pre-filled fields for easier completion
  • Easier identification of tester roles on test cycles: When in a uTest cycle’s chat, a user’s name will be paired with a textual annotation and color scheme that matches their role (e.g. TTL/PM/CM/TM)
  • Updates to how you report and view new issues: When you begin a new bug report form, the subject line input will autofocus so you can start typing right away, and, after submitting a new bug, the bug you just submitted is highlighted in the bug list the same way that the last bug you had open is (different background color)
  • Quick navigation to test cycles via Chat sidebar: You will now be able to right-click on a chat room (test cycle) name in the chat sidebar on right-hand side of the tester interface to navigate directly to that test cycle

While we’ve highlighted these updates effective today in the Tester Platform, be sure to check out the complete announcement in the Forums on what these changes mean for you, and to ask any questions you may have about platform features – current or on the horizon!

Tour de uTest: Community Member Tours Famous Cycling Stages

IMG_1291While it’s sometimes a challenge for me to even get up the stairs of our uTest/Applause headquarters each morning, some of our global community of testers are climbing mountains or cycling around Europe.

Put uTester Silvano Parodi into that latter category as an avid cyclist who managed to tour two stages of the Tour de France this Summer. Silvano hails from Genova, Italy and is a Silver-rated tester on paid projects here at uTest, and a 10-year development vet in his day job.

Beyond uTest, cycling is one other area that Silvano has always taken to in his spare time, riding since the age of 13, when his dream was to win the Tour de France. Silvano may have not realized that part of his dream, but this summer, he certainly was a little bit closer to the stage that he idolized as a kid.

Silvano and his wife put their bikes, a tent, and their uTest shirts on the car, and made the long trek of about 400 km (about 248 miles) to check out two alpine stages of the Tour de France.

They arrived a day early before the first stage they wanted to see,  and at the summit of the final climb, placed their tent that was brought along for the trip. According to Silvano, crowds gather from all over Europe, and even from as far as the United States and Australia, with their campers, caravans, and tents placed along the climb, each with a flag of the attendees’ home country. Silvano, as you’ll notice in the pictures here, served as a sort of flag/banner himself sporting the spiffy uTest attire. Lookin’ good, sir!

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How to Get Started on uTest Projects

The best part about working in the uTest Community is seeing the number of new testers who join our ranks everyday. We see testers new uTest-logoto the testing world, as well as veteran testers who have years of experience. No matter your experience level, we have resources to help guide you toward your first paid project with uTest.

The first step is to sign up with uTest and make sure you have an Expanded profile. Not sure? Check out this simple set of instructions. 

The first stop in our journey after registration is a course in uTest University called “Getting Started with uTest Paid Projects.” This course contains answers to many of the questions that new uTesters typically have, like how to update your Expanded profile and how to get invited to the Sandbox program.

Keep in mind that, in order for uTest to match you with incoming projects, you will need to keep your testing profile complete and up-to-date. For example, if a project requires testers in Canada with BlackBerry devices and your profile matches these requirements, we will then be able to notify you of an upcoming test cycle. Be sure to update your profile as you pick up new gadgets (mobile devices, laptops, etc.) and update your software. Many customers are especially interested in testers with the latest devices for testing purposes. Removing outdated items you no longer own is also very important.

The next stop takes a step back from uTest and examines the greater software testing realm. In short, without a solid foundation in testing fundamentals, it will no doubt be tough to develop as a tester at uTest. “Building Your Software Testing Skills” is a great primer for new testers and vets alike, and contains many testing resources, those recommended by a 15-year software testing veteran, that are intended to help you grow as a software tester.

Coming back into the uTest world, the next stop is the “5 Steps to Succeeding in Your First uTest Project” course. Once you’ve been invited to a uTest project, there are helpful steps outlined in the course that will assist you, such as how to accept your first invitation, review the scope and chat, submit your bug reports, submit your test case, and check in on your bug reports in the event a Project Manager or Test Team Lead has a question.

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uTest Announces Tester of the Quarter

uTesters may be pretty familiar with uTester of the Year already. Continuing the theme of recognizing and championing our best testers,little-u uTest is proud to launch a brand-new, community-wide recognition initiative — Tester of the Quarter!

This quarterly program exists solely to recognize and award the rock stars of our global community, and differs from uTester of the Year in that it puts the power of nominations directly in the hands of our testing community:

  • Testers will be able to easily recognize their peers’ dedication and great work in various facets of their participation at uTest: test cycle performance, course writing, blogging, etc.
  • And not just peers – testers will have the chance to recognize Test Team Leads and Project Managers, as well as mentors who have helped them along their testing journey on paid projects at uTest

Additionally, once the nominating is complete, all winners will have their names proudly displayed on a “Hall of Fame” recognition board. The Hall of Fame will serve as the recognition hub for not only Tester of the Quarter, but all uTest award programs, including past uTesters of the Year and uTest Lifetime Achievement Awards (coming soon!), and will be a mainstay on the uTest site.

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Quality is Customer Value: My Quest for the uTest MVT Award

One thing I respect about uTest is their continual pursuit of ways to increase customer value. It’s an essential business objective to ensure the health and growtrophy_goldenth of our company. ‘Value’ should be the middle name of any good tester. “Lucas Value Dargis.” Sounds pretty cool, huh?

I had just finished my 26th uTest test cycle in mid-2012. I had put an extra amount of focus and effort into this cycle because there was something special at stake. On some occasions, uTest offers an MVT award which is given to the Most Valuable Tester of the cycle. The selection process takes several things into account including the quality of the bugs found, clear documentation, participation, and of course, customer value.

The MVT award not only offers a nice monetary prize, but it’s also a way to establish yourself as a top tester within the uTest Community. I decided I was going to win that MVT award.

As usual, I started by defining my test strategy. I took the selection criteria and the project scope and instructions into account and came out with these five strategic objectives:

  • Focus on the customer-defined ‘focus’ area
  • Report only high-value bugs
  • Report more bugs then anyone else
  • Write detailed, easy-to-understand bug reports
  • Be active on the project’s chat

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