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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Throwback Thursday: Hacking the Mainframe

If there is sexy side of software testing, it is likely Security Testing. I know this because it’s the only type of testing (aside from game testing) that Hollywood seems to care about. For some reason, the hackers portrayed in movies always are always trying to access vital intelligence contained within the mainframe.

The truth is that mainframes – which are essentially just large scale computer systems – are actually throwback tech and today most companies don’t use them. According to the Huffington Post, “the manipulation of massive amounts of data, once the hallmark of mainframe computers, can now be done by server farms which easily connect to other systems, cost far less money, and require less training to administer.”

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Stay Flexible: Top 3 Agile Development Best Practices

Note: The following is a guest submission to the uTest Blog from Sanjay Zalavadia.agile

Despite the general consensus among software developers that agile methods offer the best approach to quality assurance, many organizations continue to struggle with their implementation. Because agile practices differ so much from traditional waterfall processes, it’s understandable that some teams may run into obstacles during the transition. By keeping these top agile best practices in mind, struggling QA teams can get on the right track and begin to appreciate the benefits of the methodology.

  1. Be agile - This sounds like a no-brainer, but many programmers and testers lose sight of what it means to be agile. With all the different processes and tasks that agile teams carry out, individuals and organizations as a whole can get bogged down in the details. As IT service provider A.J. Boggs explained, it’s important to stay true to the spirit of the approach and not the nuts and bolts of the methodology. For instance, if a team is finding that its daily Scrums are difficult to coordinate and are not providing much of any value, maybe QA leaders should consider dropping them. Be agile, but don’t be beholden to the process.

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5 Ways to Learn About Software Testing at uTest

computer mouse and book, concept of online educationThe software testing world can be a complex maze, especially if you are new to the industry. There are various testing types, testing methodologies, and testing schools of thought, as well as guidance about bug reporting, project etiquette, and working on a testing team. The amount of information can be overwhelming, but we’ve outlined a few ways you can easily get your bearings and start off on the right foot in software testing here at uTest.

Read About Testing News

The Software Testing Blog is your source for news and information about the testing world. You can find posts about events, careers, trends, and specific testing types like mobile and security. The blog also features Q&A sessions with industry experts like Stephen Janaway, Craig Tomlin, and Dave Ferguson, along with upcoming interviews with leaders like James Bach.

Connect With Other Testers

The Software Testing Forums is your place to meet fellow testers from around the world and discuss the hottest topics in testing today. The forums includes over 80,000 posts in more than 5,000 topics. Take a poll, share your favorite testing quotes, or just introduce yourself to the community.

Attend An Event

The Software Testing Events calendar is a comprehensive listing of testing events happening around the globe. You can find both in-person and online events, as well as new courses available to testers. Some show organizers also offer discounts for members of the uTest Community. See event listings for more details.

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Why Developers Won’t Necessarily Make the Best Testers

I think we can all agree that development and testing are two essential parts of any successful software project. Both roles are unique, have separate skill requirements, and a special way of thinking to get the job done right. There is an overlap in understanding, though, and they both have the same goal – to release quality software projects that make their users happy.  But, can developers be good testers?

I’m not asking whether or not developers can be good at testing their own code (or whether or not they should – which I discuss in a previous blog post). Instead, I am asking whether or not developers, in general, have the skills and abilities necessary to switch hats with their tester compatriots. Do developers innately have what it takes to be good at testing?

My answer is, in short, it depends entirely on the developer in question. I do not think that being developers grants us a special insight into the world of testing. In fact, I think that in some cases, being a developer can hamper being an effective tester. If we understand and know innately how a piece of software should work, or have very strong views around how it should work, then we are not going to be able to break it properly. We’re going to overlook bugs simply because our brains fill in the blanks when something doesn’t work or read the way we think it should.

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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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Throwback Thursday: 80’s Tech at its Best

The 80’s brought with it an incredible range of technology that for better or worse shaped the age we live in now. For this TBT, we’ll be having a quick look at some of the more surreal/novel items that came from the land of neon and synth.

tech1

The Private Eye, brought to us by Reflections Technology, allowed the wearer to view a 1-inch LED screen with image quality comparable to a 12-inch display. Released in 1989, the Private Eye head-mounted display was used by hobbyists and researchers alike, going on to become the subject of an augmented reality experiment in 1993. To think that this type of wearable technology has only been tapped into fully within the past 3 years is pretty mind-blowing.

tech2

The Stereo Sound Vest provides the wearer with a $65 portable speaker solution to provide a ‘safer’ listening option without the use of headphones. With zip-off sleeves, it’s a wonder this wasn’t all the rage.

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