Tag Archives: experiences

My First STC Meetup

Meeting New People

Last night I went to my first Software Testing Club Meetup in Guildford, Surrey.

What’s A Software Testing Club Meetup?

A Software Testing Club Meetup is simply a meeting of like-minded people. Mostly testers 🙂 It’s an opportunity to talk testing and normally have a beer or two. And in this case it was pie night in The Keystone so there was some great food as well.

So What Happened?

It was a very enjoyable evening. There were a great bunch of people there. ‘Hello’ everyone at IDBS, and all the other people that I met, talked testing and ate pies with. This was the first meetup that’s been done in this area, and also the first time I’ve gone on my own to anything like this, but it was really easy to settle in and get chatting. We had some good discussions about Selenium, software testing certification, and I got some great tips on freelancing from Alan at StoryIQ.

If you’ve never been to an event like this then you really should go. People are friendly, and it’s a great place outside of work to talk, and to find out experiences from other parts of the industry and from testers working in other companies.

Rather stupidly I forgot my camera, but fortunately other’s didn’t so there’s some pictures here.

Thanks to Lynda for organising, and I hope there’s another one soon.

!(Certification) = !(New Job)

There’s a lot said in the testing press and blogs about certification. There’s some well known haters of ISTQB and a few, albeit quieter, exponents. There is of course the training providers shouting loudly about their guarenteed pass rates, how their courses are faster than all the others, and how you won’t survive in testing without the qualifications that you can get from them. Is certification as important as they say? I’m beginning to think that maybe it is, but not for the reasons their sales people present.

Firstly some background. I’m ISEB Foundation and Practitioner certified. I enjoyed the courses which I did with the excellent Grove Consultants a few years ago. OK, the exams were not fun but the courses were. I felt like I learned something and I went along because I wanted to learn. The qualification was good, but secondary. I felt it wasn’t essential. I still feel this way, I’m not an out-and-out ISTQB basher but I feel things are beginning to go too far.

Once I became a team leader, and then a test manager I continued to send people on the courses. Some didn’t want to go, but I felt it was important for them to learn something new, and more importantly to learn the same way, and using the same information, that the rest of the team had already learnt. It gave some consistency. That was useful.

Fast forward a few years. I now have a team of testers and delivery ops people. Times have been hard and training has been hard to come by, by the time these people joined the team there was no training available that would lead to the ISTQB/ ISEB certifications. Has the quality of what we do decreased? Well, no. If anything, we’ve gone out and trained ourselves, trained ourselves, and updated our ways-of-working in even better ways. We are still consistent in our approach, and as a bonus, some people can now train others. Also a good skill. Not getting the ISTQB training has annoyed some, whilst others weren’t bothered at all.

Now my team and I find ourselves in a new situation. Soon we will all lose our jobs as R&D is moved overseas. Suddenly the issue of certification slams itself forward again. Most of the job ads scream ISTQB certified, for recruiters it’s almost the first question asked “Are you ISTQB certified?”. How have we come to this?

I think a lot of the testing community is stuck in a vicious circle. If we get lazy with our recruitment then we quickly fall into a trap of just putting “ISTQB certified” in the “Essential Requirements” section of our job ads. We are the ones who caused the recruiters to ask “Are you ISTQB certified?” Certification within the industry becomes self fulfilling. And those of us recruiting testers don’t necessarily get better testers.

So what’s the solution? More certification? I think all those of us who recruit for software testers need to re-visit what we look for in a tester, to adjust our outlook and our requirements so that we are trying to find those who are good at what they do, not what they have studied. A few years ago I used to run a written interview test for candidates which was based on the ISTQB syllabus. Many of those with the qualification failed.

And to my team, without certification and needing to find new jobs? I’ve sent them on ISTQB courses. It’s only fair, they need the best start they can get in their job searches. But if I find myself in this situation again then I hope that it’s not this way….

* For those of you without any programming knowldge – ! in the title means “Not” 🙂

Image: jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Some Brief Words On ET for Mobiles

No not the short, funny coloured alien guy….

Yesterday I attended a exploratory testing session for the latest change that my team are testing, on new feature phones. So we’re talking mass market devices, ones where a bug let out into the field can wipe out your profit and destroy your reputation. So we like to get our QA right, you could say.

Overall the session went well. We found some bugs even though the feature under test is pretty close to release maturity now. There was a great mix of developers, testers and some of the release ops team (aka the CI guys). We like to use these sessions to bring the team together. Using Agile sdlc’s helps here anyway, but having everyone testing together and helping each other is great for the team spirit and the togetherness. It was good fun.

So here’s what went well and what to try differently next time:

* Make sure you do not limit your sessions to just the testers in your company. Get everyone together, it’s fun.
* The leader of the session is important to keep things flowing. Our test lead brought ready flashed phones. And food. That helped.
* Make sure you have a structure to the session. We used charters.

And some areas to learn from and change:

* Getting results and statistics from the session wasn’t easy. Next time we will try session based (as I’ve used in other teams).
* Get some commitment from participants and make sure they come on time. People who drift in and out break the focus of those testing.
* Make sure there are chargers and SIMs with relevant features available.

Overall it was most enjoyable. I can’t wait for the next one.

*and in the true spirit of mobile, I’ve written this whole post on a Nokia E7 using cutepress. Yep, I’m still a Nokia user, and still mobile obsessed 🙂