Here’s one thing about software testing: it is a specialization that’s tough to pursue as a long-term career. It is difficult to know if you’ve become someone that’s remarkable at it. There are no degrees about software testing in school, people seldom discuss what it means (even among software development teams), and it’s hard to find mentors. It is common for software testers to start their profession in testing only by chance, like how I stumbled with the work myself, taking my first job because I wanted to work with computers (but having no experience in both programming and building computer networks) and because I needed some way of earning money. It was fairly easy to get into, but after being in the industry for quite some time I know how perplexing it is to build from the basics, how hard it is to find out where to go next.
Fortunately there are people like Rob Lambert, previously known as the Social Tester, who are concerned about helping other software testers in the industry. He wrote the Remaining Relevant and Employable in a Changing World ebook for software testers who really enjoy what they do and wants to stand out from their peers. It’s a great read, and reading and deeply thinking about other people’s ideas always play a huge role in learning many things connected to software testing as it does too in other fields of work, including how to get better at what what we do.
Some lessons from the book:
- Ensure that each and every day you are shipping something that pushes you towards the end goal.
- Learning and building your skills should be a core fundamental aspect to your life as a software tester. Learn about technology, industries, people, the product under test, yourself or your co-workers.
- Testing isn’t about conforming to standards. It’s about helping to deliver great software. It’s about more than test techniques and approaches. It’s about working with people, communicating clearly, understanding market conditions, embracing technology, understanding end user needs, influencing design, and a whole lot more besides.
- As a minimum, do no less than one hour of learning per day, ideally two.
- It isn’t the company you work for who are in charge of your career. It’s you.