Top Tweets From James Bach’s Keynote at CAST 2014

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James Bach kicking off CAST’s festivities this morning in NYC.

When James Bach enters the room at a testing conference, there’s never a dull moment. This morning’s keynote led by Sir James was no exception, so we round off some of the morning’s highlights from the session, the full kick-off of CAST 2014.

Be sure to stay tuned throughout the day, too, as we interview testers on the spot at CAST. Here’s some of the best of James’ talk this morning:

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uTest to Live Tweet, Interview Speakers This Week From CAST 2014 in NYC

2014_CAST_squareAs a proud sponsor of the Association for Software Testing’s 9th Annual conference this week, CAST 2014, uTest will be in New York City through Wednesday covering all of the happenings and keynotes from this major (and now sold-out) testing event.

Beginning Tuesday here on the Blog, uTest will be providing daily video interviews with speakers from some of the conference’s sessions and keynotes as they leave the stage. Additionally, uTest will also be live-tweeting @uTest on Twitter, using the official event hashtag of #CAST2014 throughout the course of the conference’s full days on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This year’s theme is ‘The Art and Science of Testing,’ so conference speakers will share their stories and experiences surrounding software testing, whether bound by rules and laws of science and experimentation, or expressed through creativity, imagination, and artistry. Some of these esteemed speakers include:

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Have You Hugged a Tester Today?

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Members of uTest Community Management give uTest/Applause QA Manager Bryan Raffetto a long overdue embrace.

So I hear a lot about hugging developers. ‘Have you hugged a developer today?’

In a recent video from the good folks at Smartbear, in fact, software testing consultant Dawn Haynes said, “Why don’t you buy a developer a doughnut? You know, make friends and give people positive feedback as well, not just only the negative.”

And I don’t have anything against this. In fact, developers are lovely people who have to put up with a lot themselves. My only gripe is that the testers aren’t usually the ones getting these bountiful gifts of doughnuts and hugs.

Until today. The Community Management Team at uTest decided it was about time that a tester got some hugs, so we trekked from the 5th floor penthouse at the Applause/uTest HQ down to the 4th floor and rectified this immediately, embracing our in-house Applause and uTest QA Manager Bryan Raffetto. Needless to say, love was in the air. It’s about time someone hugged a tester. If anyone knows the hardships a tester must endure and can empathize, it’s the CM team.

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uTester Shares Software Testing World Cup Experience, Offers Advice

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Mark and his team during the Software Testing World Cup.

Marek (Mark) Langhans is a Gold-rated tester and former Forums Moderator in the uTest Community, and hails from Prague. Mark has tested information systems, web, mobile and desktop applications of domestic financial institutions for a couple of years now. In June, he participated in the Europe Preliminary round of the Software Testing World Cup (STWC), and shares his experience here, along with some advice for future STWC participants.

Before I go into any details about the competition, let me thank the entire team and all the judges and product owners behind the Software Testing World Cup (STWC).

If testing needed a push into the general public eye, this event was the right way to go about it. Not only it has given us testers a way to compete and connect with each other, and to see our limitations, strengths and weaknesses, but it has also put the testing profession into a whole new perspective. Testing has been made cool, and that is very rare to do.

Gameday

On Friday, the 13th of June, three of my colleagues and I participated in the Europe Preliminary round of the STWC. Even though we had a pretty awesome base in our firm HQ’s basement, at the end, we didn’t end up near the top. However, with the things we have taken from it and it has given to us, you just can’t put a price tag on that. In three hours, you learn so much about yourself and your testing capabilities than you may have in your whole testing career.

The competition started on time. Thirty minutes before the official start, we all had received emails introducing us to the software to test (Sales Tool — for more details, check out the YouTube stream), the scope, and, of course, some tips what we should focus on. The email contained a link to the application so we could move around with it before the actual competition. These thirty minutes flew by, as the application was something none of us had come across before, and so we tried to figure out what we actually could test and how.

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Germany Gears Up for SoCraTes 2014 Conference

The 4th International Software Craftsmanship and Testing (SoCraTes) Conference show kicks off in Soltau, Germany tomorrow and runs until August 10, 2014. What sets the SoCraTes show apart of other testing conferences is the emphasis on it being run using Open Space Technology (OST). OST is a way for hosting conferences that is “focused on a specific and important purpose or task—but beginning without any formal agenda, beyond the overall purpose or theme.”socrates2014

In this case, the event is about the sustainable creation of useful software in a responsible way and is a joint effort of all Softwerkskammer groups. The show includes hands-on coding sessions, sessions focused on discussion, and interactive talks.

You can get an idea of the schedule for this year’s show, as well as read about what happened at last year’s event from Florian Hopf, Samir Talwar, and others.

Follow tweets from this year’s SoCraTes event via their Twitter account @socrates_2014.

Want to know what other events are happening soon? Check out upcoming software testing events like SoCraTes 2014 on the uTest Events Calendar

Certified and Proud? A Tester’s Journey: Part II

This is the second part of tester and uTest Enterprise Test Team Lead Lucas Dargis’ journey on becoming ISTQB-certified. Be sure to check out Part One from useravataryesterday.

The test

After about 3 minutes, I realized just how ridiculous the test was. Some of the questions were so obvious it was insulting, some were so irrelevant they were infuriating, and others were so ambiguous all you could do was guess.

Interestingly, testers with experience in context-driven testing will actually be at a disadvantage on this test. When you understand that the context of a question influences the answer, you realize that many of the questions couldn’t possibly have only one correct answer, because no context was specified.

You are allotted 60 minutes to complete the test, but I was done and out of the building in 27 minutes. That I finished quickly wasn’t because I knew all the answers — it was rather the exact opposite. Most of the questions were so silly, that all I could do was select answers randomly. Here are two examples:

Who should lead a walkthrough review?” – Really? I was expected to memorize all the participants of all the different types of meetings, most of which I’ve never seen any team actually utilize?

Test cases are designed during which testing phase?” – Umm…new tests and test cases should be identified and designed at all phases of the project as things change and your understanding develops.

According to the syllabus, there are “right” answers to all the questions, but most thinking testers, those not bound by the rigidness of “best practices,” will struggle because you know there is no right answer.

Despite guessing on many questions, I ended up passing the exam, but that really wasn’t a surprise. The test only requires a 65% to pass, so  a person could probably pass with minimal preparation, simply making educated guesses. I left the test in a pretty grumpy mood.

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New Testing Tools Added to uTest Include Those in Automation, Screen Mirroring

Thanks to our great community, over the past month at uTest, we’ve added more than 30 tools to our ever-expanding library of Software Testing Tools, including those in security, automation and even screen mirroring.

The Tool Reviews section of uTest is your one-stop shop to rate, review and discuss the tools that are supposed to make testers’ lives (hey, that’s you!) easier. Here’s just a small sampling of the tools being talked about by our community over the past 30 days:

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uTest has designed Tool Reviews to be the place where testers can make educated decisions on the tools that may become a part of their daily routine, and to see which tools have won the hearts — or the ire — of their testing peers. If we’re ever missing your favorite test tool, be sure to submit it to us, and we’ll add it right away so you can leave the first review!

Certified and Proud? A Tester’s Journey: Part I

useravatarA Gold-rated tester and Enterprise Test Team Lead (TTL) at uTest, Lucas Dargis has been an invaluable fixture in the uTest Community for 2 1/2 years, mentoring hundreds of testers and championing them to become better testers. As a software consultant, Lucas has also led the testing efforts of mission-critical and flagship projects for several global companies.

Here, 2013 uTester of the Year Lucas Dargis here shares his journey on becoming ISTQB-certified, and also tackles some of the controversy surrounding certifications.

In case you missed it, testing certification is somewhat of a polarizing topic. Sorry for stating the obvious, but I needed a good hook and that’s the best I could come up with. What follows is the story of my journey to ISTQB certification, and how and why I pursued it in the first place. My reasons and what I learned might surprise you, so read on and be amazed!

Certifications are evil

Early in my testing career, I was a sponge for information. I indiscriminately absorbed every piece of testing knowledge I could get my hands on. I guess that makes sense for a new tester — I didn’t know much, so I didn’t know what to believe and what to be suspicious of. I also didn’t have much foundational knowledge with which to form my own opinions.

As you might expect, one of the first things I did was look into training and certifications. I quickly found that the pervasive opinion towards certifications (at least the opinion of thought leaders I was learning from) was that they were at best a waste of time, and at worst, a dangerous detriment to the testing industry.

In typical ignoramus (It’s a word, I looked it up) fashion, I embraced the views of my industry leaders as my own, even though I didn’t really understand them. Anytime someone would have something positive to say about certification, I’d recite all the anti-certification talking points I’d learned as if I was an expert on the topic. “You’re an idiot” and “I’d never hire a certified tester” were phrases I uttered more than once.

A moment of clarity

Then one fine day, I was having a heated political debate with one of my friends (I should clarify…ex-friend). We had conflicting views on the topic of hula hoop subsidies. He could repeat the points the talking heads on TV made, but when I challenged him, asking prodding questions trying to get him to express his own unique ideas, he just went around in circles (see what I did there?).

Like so many other seemingly politically savvy people, his views and opinions were formed for him by his party leaders. He had no experience or expertise in the area we were debating, but he sure acted like the ultimate authority. Suddenly, it dawned on me that despite my obviously superior hip-swiveling knowledge, I wasn’t that much different from him. My views on certifications and the reasons behind those views came from someone else.

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Testers Are Spending a Whole Lot of Time…Not Testing

Before you get completely riled up by that statement and wasting_time_by_lawlieta-d3dc84ythink we’re calling testers slackers…we’re not! In fact, testers are quite up in arms about this un-productivity.

Based on a recent joint study by uTest, IBM and TechWell, testers are certainly spending a whole lot of time on non-testing-related activities, and testing activities that they simply feel are just a big, plain ol’ waste of time.

The study, conducted in April 2014 by TechWell, was made up of 250 software testing pros from six continents, and found that:

  • 36% of testers surveyed spend over half of their week not testing
  • 58% cite ad hoc requests as the biggest disruptor of their work weeks
  • In regard to activities where testers spend more time than they’d like, almost 60% responded with waiting for test assets, while over 50% responded with ‘non-testing’ activities
  • Some of the top activities testers wished they’d spend more time in include: creating and executing automated tests, performing exploratory testing, and designing and planning tests
  • Testers want greater organizational improvements, including increasing automation, in order to free up their time to focus on testing and improving quality

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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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