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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Top 10 Signs You’re Not Ready To Be A Security Tester

Becoming a security tester can be tough. It requires deep training and expertise in system architecture, computer engineering, network theory, and human psychology. Learning these skills can take considerable time, and it may take years for a tester to truly become a security master.

If you are learning to be a security testers, here are 10 signs you’re not quite ready for the job:

10. Your password appears on this list.

9. Your concept of social engineering is to throw a really great party and then figure out how each person can have the best possible time.

8. You think 56 bit DES ought to be good enough for anyone.

7. You can’t remember if your doctor gave you a SQL injection with your last set of vaccinations.

6. You think Van Eck phreaking is the title of Armin Van Buuren’s latest album.

5. You start looking for a mop when you hear someone mention a buffer overflow.

4. You think phishing means getting stoned and going to a concert by that band from Vermont.

3. When you hear OWASP, you reach for a can of bug spray.

2. You think that cross-site scripting is a fancy form of calligraphy.

1. You worry that if the private key doesn’t open up a little more, it will never be accepted by its friends and public_key will always be the popular one.

Software Engineers: “Forgive Me Testers, For I Have Sinned”

A few days back, GigaOM posted terrific article on the 7 Sins of Software Development. When you read it, which I strongly suggest, I think you’ll see that testers play a huge role in absolving the various “deadly” sins of software engineers.

If you’re too apathetic to read the article (sloth is a sin, FYI) then check out the excerpts below:

Sloth
Sloth is apathy, not laziness. An apathetic programmer is the arguably the most detrimental, because he has zero interest in quality. On the other hand, a lazy programmer can be a good programmer, because laziness can drive long-term efficiencies. For example, if I’m too lazy to type in my password everywhere, I might create a single sign-on feature. Or, if I’m too lazy to manually deploy software, I will instead write an automatic deployment tool. Laziness and scalability go hand in hand.

Wrath
Although many software engineers seem peaceful, underneath the surface often lurks a passive aggressive personality. Take a look at source code comments to see examples of this hidden hostility. Usually profanity in source code is proportional to technical debt. However, it is vital that your engineers are not milquetoasts. Beware of the programmer who does not ask questions or who will use any text editor willingly. Good programmers have strong opinions, but they also appreciate lively debates.

Envy
Envy can be very dangerous in software development. Envy for other products often leads to feature creep. If someone mentions feature parity, you should ask, “But do we need it?” The ultimate killer feature is simplicity, but simple to use is hard to design. Also, it is easy to lose focus when you are constantly watching what other companies are doing. Imagine building towers out of Legos. Would you rather build one tower at a time or many towers in parallel? The parallel approach only works if the towers are identical. Otherwise, you spend too much time context switching. Agility is not the same as half-baked. And doing one thing well is still underappreciated.

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uTesters and Customers Gather at the uMeetup in NYC

uTest uMeetup 360 NYCWe’re excited to share the details of our first ever uMeetup 360 – held in New York City. uMeetups are local networking events organized by top testers and sponsored by uTest. Invitations are extended to all software testers in the local vicinity to meet in person, listen to presentations on special software testing topics and learn more about participating in paid projects with uTest. We created the uMeetup 360 to include not only testers, but customers and uTest employees as well.

Caleb Cohen, a gold uTester helped us organize this latest event where testers and customers alike gathered from the Tri State Area. They enjoyed making introductions, exchanging testing experiences and generally enjoying each other’s company. Meeting at Ayza Wine and Chocolate bar we shared good drinks, amazing cheese,and of course chocolate!

We’ve received some great feedback from testers who have taken part in uMeetups in the past. Being passionate about testing and about uTest seems to be a common thread that brings these testers, and now customers, together. It was really exciting to add customers to the mix and let these different groups share their experiences and network with each other.

Want to have a uMeetup in your area? Check the forums to find the one nearest to you. If you don’t see your country on the list  apply for a sponsorship here. Previous uMeetups have been in Cordoba Argentina, St. Petersburg Russia, Singapore, Mumbai India, Chicago, Shenzhen China and Boston.

 

8 Tips For Becoming a Dedicated Tester

Become a top software testerOur old friend James Bach recently fielded a question on his blog from a new tester seeking advice on what her daily routine should include so that she can grow in her new field. James seems impressed by the new tester’s discipline (she did willingly ask for daily testing “homework” after all) and dedication to the craft. He outlined five tasks he believes every tester should practice on a daily basis, here’s a quick summary of his tips:

Write every day
Whenever I find myself with a few moments, I make notes of my thoughts about testing and technical life.

Watch yourself think every day
While you are working, notice how you think. Notice where your ideas come from. Try to trace your thoughts.

Question something about how you work every day
Testers question things, of course. That’s what testing is. But too few testers questions how they work. Too few testers question why testing is the way it is.

Explain testing every day
Even if no one makes you explain your methodology, you can explain it to yourself.

I like these tips because they aren’t the typical recommendations you run across, like “test whenever you can,” “read an array of testing books” and “be open-minded when it comes to techniques.” Those are great tips too, just nothing special. Of course, James didn’t just give one sentence explanations for each of his pointers, so take a few minutes and read his complete blog post to get the full impact of these smart tips.

And as a little extra, here are a couple more tips James’ readers left in the comments section.

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Software QA Engineer Tops “Happiest Jobs” List

Super Happy Fun Time!When asked to think about the happiest job in America, does your own job come to mind? What job do you think is the happiest job? When asking this question, did these positions come to mind: Customer Service Representative, Accountant, Bank Teller or even Warehouse Manager?  Well, according to a survey posted on Forbes.com those jobs are listed in the top 20 of “The Happiest Jobs in America.”  The study took nearly a year to compile and coming in at #1 for the Happiest Job in the US is the Software Quality Assurance Engineer!

“Since we tend to spend more waking hours working than doing anything else, our work happiness is a huge factor in our overall happiness,” says CareerBliss’ chief executive, Heidi Golledge.

Well quoted by Heidi Golledge, as this statement is very true.  I spend more time in the office and with my coworkers than I do my own home and family.  So if I work with people who share the same interests as me, as well as enjoy the work I do, work isn’t necessarily work anymore, it becomes more of a second home.

CareerBliss also found that many people appreciate their jobs more in a down economy. “As the job market is improving every day, we see that employees are looking to evaluate if they are happy in their current position and if their company is providing the type of culture they identify with,” Golledge says. “This year will be a very important year for employers as employees look at a possible career or job change to improve their satisfaction at work.”

More than 100,000 workers took part in the survey and rated factors such as workplace happiness and environment, job resources, co-worker relationships and daily tasks on a sale of 1 to 5. In the end, Software Quality Assurance Engineers came out on top.

With an index score of 4.24, software quality assurance engineers said they are more than satisfied with the people they work with and the company they work for. They’re also fairly content with their daily tasks and bosses. …

Golledge says, “In past studies, we have noted that the long hours and intense demands on software engineers’ time caused them to rank as less than happy.  However, we are happy to report that software quality assurance engineers feel rewarded at work, as they are typically the last stop before software goes live and correctly feel that they are an integral part of the job being done at the company.”

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Celebrating a major milestone in our Software Testing Community

50,000+ TestersWhile our usual maniacal focus is on quality over quantity, it’s not unreasonable to recognize a major milestone that occurred today, January 18, 2012: surpassing 50,000 testers in the uTest community! Just to be clear, that’s over 50,000 testers from 185 countries around the world – from experts in automation to gurus in usability testing. Here are several other facts about our community:

  • Every month, there are approximately 1,000 new tester registrations
  • Over 99.9% of these registrations are organic – word of mouth, tradeshows and conferences, tester referrals
  • The majority of testers span rather evenly across North America, Europe, and Asia. The rest fill out in South America, Africa, and Australia
  • Over 80% of uTesters have a Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • uTesters bring a wealth of knowledge and diverse set of skills to the table: creating test cases, usability surveys, load and performance scripts, automation scripts, security coverage reports, usability audits and expert reviews; executing test plans, usability surveys, live load test cases, security scans, exploratory tests, and translation tasks and proofs

And…back to our maniacal attention to quality. Although there is certainly strength in numbers and meaning to this milestone, the real excitement stems from the various “homegrown” programs that shape our crowdsourcing model. Less than a year ago, we announced several new initiatives that have transformed the uTest community from an unruly crowd to one that is self-sufficient, self-teaching and self-policing. From paid leadership roles for our top testers to unpaid auditions for newbie testers, there is a role for nearly everyone and a path for the most ambitious. And now that most of us have embraced the New Year, it’s only fitting that there are new programs just around the corner – ones that leverage the foundation built in the past year and continue to benefit our community at large. More details to come shortly!

For now, please join me in raising your glass to celebrate this major milestone with us!

Friday HTML5 Fun – Testers Rock

American band Ok Go is well known for their sensational and imaginative music videos that combine simplicity with raw imagination. Their latest video is no exception, but for this one they took it one step further. After partnering with Google, they have created an HTML5 video/multimedia/app thing that takes full advantage of the capabilities of Google Chrome.

Being big fans of HTML5 and music videos (we were part of the MTV generation, after all), we couldn’t pass up sharing this. We’ve also included a little message in the video for all you software testers out there. Fire up Chrome and watch the whole thing here.

Uruguay Launches Collegiate Software Testing Program

The Uruguay IT Chamber has launched a new university program for software testing.  This is big news for the world of software testing, as it not only legitimizes the professional tester but will help draw attention (and projects) to the importance of testing.

TestingReflections.com has a nice write up on the news release, but it’s particularly interesting to see that there are three tiers of testing, as follows:

Software Tester: The ideal program for entry-level, junior, and career-switching software testers.  Successfully completing this credential will give you the knowledge and experience most employers expect from testers with 1-2 years of on-the-job experience – effectively enabling you to start your career needing only to acclimate to the specific expectations of the employer and demonstrate your skills at work before being acknowledged as a mid-level tester.

Software Testing Professional: For testers with several years of testing experience on-the-job who are looking to make the jump from mid- to senior-level, this program is designed to teach high-quality individual contributors how to be effective technical leaders within their testing organization.  Effectively giving the tester the new skills they need, in addition to their existing hands-on testing knowledge, to prepare them for the additional responsibilities of a technical testing manager or of a manager of small to mid-sized testing projects.

Software Testing Leader: This final step in the program has been designed for senior-level testers who desire to be successful managers or directors of corporate testing programs.  Frequently the most challenging step for career software testers is to transition from being a technical leader to a management role focused on the interface between quality testing and executive-level business value.  Successful completion of this stage of the program will give the student the tools they need to make the jump from technical leader to manager – opening the door to further advancement to positions like “Director of Testing Services” or “VP of Software Product Quality”.

Full article after the break.

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Does “Quality” Come From Testing?

Okay, call this a bait and switch if you will, but the bottom line is you cannot test quality into an application. So if you can’t test quality into an app, do you then build it into an app? Or perhaps the more pertinent question is, ‘who contributes more to app quality – software developers or software testers?’ Playing with dynamite here, I know…

Let’s begin with a simple fact – developers are the ones who “create” software defects in the first place. To be fair, they don’t knowingly create buggy software, but that’s the widely accepted norm – we’re human after all. However, when bugs are discovered after the product launches, testers are typically singled out and blamed. Why?

Part of the reason is due to the misnomer that QA should stand for “quality assurance.” Do QA professionals truly assure the quality of a product, or do they assist in delivering high quality products (as Jon Bach has suggested)? So if you’re a tester by trade, I sympathize with you. On the one hand, buggy software leads to job security. On the other hand, you are constantly on the hot seat and looking over your shoulder, wondering when and where the next bug will surface. But instead of despairing over these details, testers should rise to the challenge.

Here are a few examples of how testers can lead the quality initiative:

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