In the third and final part of the Michael Bolton trilogy, we cover advice for new testers, his hypothetical banishment from Software Land, the blogs he reads and more. Did you miss our earlier interviews? Here’s Part I and Part II.
uTest: Hypothetical: You’ve been banished from testing – nay, ALL software-related activities – for the rest of your days. What will you to earn a living? What hobbies would you pick up to fill the intellectual void?
MB: Who knows? For fun, I’d keep playing mandolin, probably. Teach, maybe. Write. I’ve worked in theatre stage management, been a book-keeper, tended bar, worked in a comedy club. In high school I worked in mail rooms during the summer. Whatever I’ve picked up in life, it was because something needed to be done and I was there to do it. If it didn’t seem like much at first, I started to learn about it quickly. When you invest a little bit of effort to figure out your job, you learn how to makes it faster and better and more interesting. It turns into this great feedback loop. Any job can be more fun when you set out to master it.
uTest: Tell our testing community something about you that your most avid readers don’t know.
MB: While walking through the woods on an island near Vancouver recently, I found myself being quiet and brief, which I like from time to time. Practically nobody knows that.
Lots of people probably don’t know how much I’m eager to help people out. All of my work—courses, articles, conference presentations, this interview—comes with lifetime free technical support. Have a question? Just ask. I might not answer right away—supporting the family with paying work takes precedence over supporting the community—but I’ve never knowingly turned anybody down, so if I don’t answer right away, be persistent. James Bach makes the same offer, by the way. We’ve found that it’s a great way not only to help people, but also to explore problems and come up with solutions and learn things that can help our clients.
uTest: If you were talking to a newbie tester, what advice would you give him or her to set their professional journey off on the right foot? How about for a 10-year veteran tester?