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!

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

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.

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

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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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

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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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Testers: Is it Time to Reinvent the Wheel?

Our latest guest post comes from Jim “JR” Harris, Principal Engineer and Owner of Arrowhead Computer Consulting, and one of the most entertaining tester bloggers out there (you’ll see what I mean shortly). You can find more of his writings at qatechtips.blogspot.com. In this post, he addresses why the value created by testers is not always fully recognized in the world of business. Enjoy!

In the October issue of the uTest newsletter, Matt Johnston led off with the title “Are Testers the next Endangered Species” – and I blew my stack!  Now don’t get me wrong; it’s not like I was furious or anything like that, but I will admit that I did bite the heads off of about a dozen or so thick framing nails before I could compose a coherent reply.

And I let him have it – with both guns blazing! – eager to defend the honor and integrity of those of us in the Software QA community.

“Oh, it’s the idiots in Management who don’t recognize the need for quality software!”

“Those idiots in Marketing ALWAYS leave us with too much to do and too short a time-line to do it!”

“If the developers would send us software releases that were at least testable; we wouldn’t be in this bind all the time!”

Now Matt has a sick and twisted sense of humor, not unlike my own.  So instead of getting offended, he offered me the chance to express MY views on his bully pulpit.  “Ok Einstein, you’re so smart?  YOU write the next one!”  No he really didn’t say that, but his invitation was clear:  Put up or shut up.

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing