Six Ways Testers Can Get in Touch with Their Inner Programmer

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 B93X8G / Luminous Keyboardseries, “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!

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Happy Testers Day: How Will You Celebrate?

A sharp-eyed tester in our community has reminded me that it’s Testers Day. No, we didn’t make that up.ladybug-clipart-celebrate

Developers get a lot of the limelight, but it’s about time that testers get their day in the sun, and what better day than September 9 to celebrate that fact!

Wait, so what significance does September 9 have to testers, you say? Well, let’s say we just wouldn’t be using the term “bug” or “debugging” without this date or the influential woman associated with this date.

According to the Computer History Museum, on September 9, 1947, American computer scientist and United States Navy Rear admiral Grace Murray Hopper recorded the first computer bug in history while working on the Harvard Mark II computer. The problem was traced to a moth stuck between a relay in the machine, which Hopper logged in Mark II’s log book with the explanation: “First actual case of bug being found.”

So there you have it, folks. A momentous event deserves celebration and commemoration. How will you celebrate Testers Day? With a cake? By finding a bug in Grace Hopper’s honor? Be sure to let us know in the Comments below. In the meantime, be sure to give your colleague a high-five and wish them a Happy Testers Day.

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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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

CAST 2014 to be Webcast Live for Testers, Full Coverage Also From uTest

The 9th Annual Conference of the Association for Software Testing (CAST), held this year from August 11-13 in New York2014_CAST_square City, is one of the premier testing events of the year. While this year’s edition is already sold out, testers will still be able to tune into all of the keynotes and full track sessions for free from the comfort of their homes.

CAST announced that a live stream will be available from its official site on August 11 and 12, from 9am-7pm EDT each day, so you’ll be able to watch sessions and keynotes from esteemed speakers including: James Bach, Richard Bradshaw, Matthew Heusser and Henrik Andersson.

The theme for CAST 2014 is “The Art and Science of Testing.” This year, speakers will be sharing their experiences surrounding software testing – whether the experience supports testing as an art or a science.

uTest is also pleased and honored to be a sponsor of CAST 2014. In addition to the live stream hosted on CAST’s site, be sure to stay tuned to the uTest Blog and @uTest on Twitter, as we’ll not only be reporting from the event, but sharing exclusive video interviews with some of the major personalities from the show.

Focus on Automated Testing, Discount for uTesters at UCAAT

Automation is a sector of software testing that has experienced explosive growth and enterprise investment in recent years. The knowledge necessary to learn about and specialize in automated testing is found at industry events like the upcoming 2nd annual User Conference on Advanced Automated Testing (UCAAT) in Munich, Germany from September 16-18, 2014. ucaat

The European conference, jointly organized by the “Methods for Testing and Specification” (TC MTS) ETSI Technical Committee, QualityMinds, and German Testing Day, will focus exclusively on use cases and best practices for software and embedded testing automation.

The 2014 program will cover topics like agile test automation, model-based tests, test languages and methodologies, as well as web of service and use of test automation in various industries like automotive, medical technology, and security, to name a few. Noted participants in the opening session include Dr. Andrej Pietschker (Giesecke & Devrient), Professor Ina Schieferdecker (Free University of Berlin), Markus Becher (BMW), Dr. Heiko Englert (Siemens), and Dr. Alexander Pretschner (Technical University of Munich).

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Testing the Limits With James Bach – Part I

JamesBach150James Bach is synonymous with testing, and has been disrupting the industry and influencing and mentoring testers since he got his start in testing over 25 years ago at Apple. Always a great interview, James is one of our most popular guests and we’re happy to have him back for his first Testing the Limits since 2011. For more on James’ background, his body of work and his testing philosophy, you can check out his blog, website or follow him on Twitter.

In Part One of our latest talk with James, he talks about a future that involves a ‘leaner’ testing world, the state of context-driven testing outside of the United States, and why you’re “dopey” if you’re a manager using certain criteria in hiring your testers.

uTest: We know you don’t enjoy certifications when it comes to testers. In fact, in a recent blog, you mentioned that ‘The ISTQB and similar programs require your stupidity and your fear in order to survive.’ Do you feel like certifications are picking up steam when it comes to hiring and if they’re becoming even more of a pervasive issue?

JB: I don’t have any statistics to cite, but my impression from my travels is that certifications have no more steam today than they did 10 years ago. Dopey, frightened, lazy people will continue to use them in hiring, just as they have for years.

uTest: Speaking of pervasive problems, what in your opinion has changed the most – for better or for worse – in the testing industry as a whole since we talked with you last almost 3 years ago?

JB: For the better: the rise of the Let’s Test conference. That makes two solidly Context-Driven conference franchises in the world. This is related to the general rise of a spirited European Context-Driven testing community.

Nothing much else big seems to have changed in the industry, from my perspective. I and my colleagues continue to evolve our work, of course.

uTest: In a recent interview, you mentioned that you see the future of testing, in 2020 for instance, as being made up just of a small group of testing “masters” that jump into testing projects and oversee the testing getting done…by people that aren’t necessarily “testers.” Do you see QA departments going completely by the wayside in this new reality of a leaner testing world? Wouldn’t this be a threat to the industry in general?

JB: I’m not sure whether you mean QA groups, per se, or testing groups (which are often called QA). I don’t see testing groups completely going away across all the sectors of the industry, but for some sectors, maybe. For instance, it wouldn’t surprise me if Google got rid of all its “testers” and absorbed that activity into its development groups, who would then pursue it with the ruthless efficiency of bored teenagers mopping floors at McDonald’s (a company as powerful as Google can do a lot of silly things for a very long time without really suffering. Look at how stupidly HP has been managed for the last 20 years, and they are still, amazingly, in business).

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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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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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10 Quotes for Software Testers…Since the Last Time

So we had to dig back deep into the archives to see when the last time was that we featured some testing quotes worthy of hanging up on the ol’ refrigerator. To our horror, it was over three years ago, so we decided it was time again for another roundup. Without further ado:

Testing means learning. Learning requires faith in one’s ignorance combined with the confidence that it can be extinguished.”James Bach

“Testing is organized skepticism.”— James Bach (A double dose of Bach!)

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” – Steve Jobs

“There are only two things that seem to be even close to universally true when it comes to testing – things are constantly changing, and if you put three testers in a room with a testing term or topic to discuss, no more than two of them will ever agree at the same time.”Scott Barber

“A ‘passing’ test doesn’t mean ‘no problem.’ It means no problem *observed*. This time. With these inputs. So far. On my machine.”Michael Bolton

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