To say that uTester Ajay Balamurugadas has an impressive software testing resume would be an obvious understatement. Coached by Pradeep Soundararajan, he has been awarded a scholarship from the Software Testing Club; is a proud student of the Miagi-Do School run by Matt Heusser, and co-founded “Weekend Testing.” Oh yeah, and he’s also the latest contributor to our guest blogger series. For more of his work, be sure to check out his blog or follow him on Twitter.
In this post, Ajay takes a stroll down memory lane…
This is an article on my experiences with software testing, the traps I fell into, and the lessons I learned in the process. Before I share my story, let me make one thing clear: I’m no software testing expert. I make mistakes, learn, practice and apply my learning to improve my skills as a tester. To illustrate, I’ve split the journey into five simple stages.
Stage 1: Testing = Find Bugs
I am hired as an Associate QA Engineer at my first job. I was called upon to help remove all bugs in the product before it reached the customer – simple enough. As an obedient student, I did what was expected of me. The execution percentage never reached 100%. I could not complete a cycle of execution in the stipulated time. I did not know that I was checking and not testing. Whenever I tested, I could not achieve 100% execution. Some of the bugs I logged were termed as ‘Deferred – Will not be fixed’. I was bombarded with questions like: “Which user would do that? Good bug, but why did you find it now? Why did you miss it? ”
I did not have an answer for the questions. I myself had more questions than answers.
Stage 2: Testing = Certification
Everyone I met was a certified tester. I thought I too must take up a certification. Which one should I apply for? ISTQB seemed to be the first step. I downloaded the syllabus and started preparation for the certification. My definition of testing changed from ‘finding bugs’ to ‘get certified, hunt for bugs’. I felt I was not sufficiently prepared for the certification, thereby postponed my attempt to clear the certification exam.
Stage 3: Testing = Rapid Software Testing
I don’t remember the search term which led me to the Tester Tested blog, but it literally set off a chain reaction. Tester Tested led me to James‘ video. This led me to even more testing blogs, which finally led me to the RST workshop by Pradeep Soundararajan.
The workshop literally changed my life, as I’m sure it did for others as well. At last, I started adding VALUE to my team. My manager was happy. I was happy, as I was then given freedom and responsibility to demonstrate value. I started participating in Test Republic, Software Testing Club, SourceForge, uTest and other activities. I started my blog.
I broke some records in terms of number of bugs logged, and became an overnight hero in the project. I was happy, even though I was not aware of the traps I was falling into. The thought of certification was replaced by ‘Cost Vs Value’ and skills in testing like questioning, observation, critical thinking, bug hunting, bug investigation and so on.
Stage 4: Achievements and Mistakes
I fell into the trap of equating credibility with bug counts, missing the mission of testing and just finding bugs. I was lucky to have someone of Pradeep’s caliber to help me realize these pitfalls. Interactions with testers and programmers from across the globe helped me immensely in my journey of learning.
I would highlight the credit by the programmer for testing D2D Map Editor as my first achievement.
Frequent meetings with passionate testers like Sharath Byregowda, Santhosh Tuppad, Manoj Nair, Parimala Shankaraiah, Ravisuriya and coaching by Pradeep Soundararajan helped me sharpen my testing skills.
While RST workshop by Pradeep acted as an eye-opener, RST workshop by Michael Bolton could be termed as the cherry on the cake.
My biggest achievement is being appreciated and encouraged by leading software testing experts like Matt Heusser, Michael Bolton, James Bach and Shrini Kulkarni.
If you ask me, Test Republic, BWST, Zappers, Miagi-Do School, Software Testing Club, uTest, blogs and tweets are good sources to network, learn and contribute to the greater software community.
Stage 5: Testing = Passion
It all boils down to one word: PASSION. I’m learning every day. I now realize that there is so much to learn and so little time left. I’ve overcome my fear of failure and take every experience as a learning opportunity. The passion to test and contribute resulted in Weekend Testing. I’m happy that a single idea between tester friends has resulted in a safe platform to ‘Test, Learn and Contribute’ to the software community.
My special thanks to all the experts who have helped this generation of software testers by sharing their knowledge with us. From executing test cases to reporting bugs, I’ve come a long way to realize that it’s a long journey ahead. I would like to conclude with this quote:
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”