Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ten things I learnt in my first year of software testing

I'm one and a half years into my software testing career - and it's been the fastest year and a half of my life. Here are ten things I learnt in my first year of testing:

1. The global software testing community is huge, and hugely inspiring. 
  • I don't think I've ever seen a more active and sociable professional community where people are willing to share their thoughts and ideas - and debate them. 
2. Communication skills are crucial 
  • Working for a software testing consultancy means I'm constantly engaged with different clients and developers. Learning how to communicate effectively - be it verbally or written -  can make all the difference in both establishing relationships, building trust and in the overall delivery outcomes. 
3. Asking the 'dumb questions' early on can save a lot of pain later
  • The question might feel stupid, but sometimes those questions are best answered early to prevent dangerous assumptions from being made, or stops me from deviating down the wrong path.
4. Testing is a creative process
  • It's not just about meeting requirements. Testing is about really engaging with the SDLC process, and engaging with those around me. Thinking outside the box. Trying to challenge existing processes, challenge what's given to me and not accepting the answer of 'that's how it's always worked.' Getting paid to think is the best part of my job. 
5. You can't test it all
  • Exhaustive testing is impossible. I've had to learn to let go of a lot of 'what-if's' and learn to trust my own professional judgement. 
6. You can learn from everyone around you
  • Be it a BA, developer or fellow test professional, the way that everybody chooses to approach a problem is always interesting. Often developers will choose to tackle things from a technical perspective, a BA from a business perspective and a tester will often come into the discussion with their own take on the situation. No one is more right than the next person, but hearing the different perspectives always makes me re-evaluate my own analytical process. 
7. Coming from a non technical background is not a disadvantage
  • I have an accounting degree. This doesn't make me any less of a tester than a person with a computer science degree. It just means that I think about things quite differently - and often, I think about functionality the way an end-user would, rather than from a 'but that's how the code works' perspective. 
  • Some of the greatest testers I know don't have computer science backgrounds.
  • That's not to say that I don't want to gain technical skills though - that's something that I'm hoping to work on. 
8. Being open minded and showing that you're willing to try new things is key
  • Testers can be quite opinionated and passionate about their certain areas. As a junior tester, I've learnt that while it's important to develop my own opinion, keeping an open mind means that you don't close the door on opportunities that may come knocking. 
9. Everyday I learn something new (no joke)
  • Software is a wee bit of a fickle thing. Just when I think I understand a functionality, I find out that there's this other part that triggers the main engine to behave completely differently. It's one of the biggest challenges of my job, but keeps me on my toes. 
  • When I move from project to project, I get to learn about a completely new area of functionality - or I get exposure to a a completely different piece of software, which keeps life interesting. 
10. And finally, delivering a piece of software that works (or improves on existing functionality)  is super rewarding and feels so damn good. 


  1. Thanks for posting! I'm brand new to software testing (2.5 months on the job), and it's neat to hear perspectives from someone who's slightly further along than me.

    1. Hi Jeannie, I hope you're liking your new job! Although it's been 18 months I still feel very new - there is so much more to learn about this industry. Hopefully I can offer a newbie's perspective for other new testers out there. :)

  2. Loving the blog so far. Very interesting. I would be interested in chatting about deaturing the blog on Test Huddle if you're interested? Contact me hello [at] testhuddle dot com.


    1. Hi Ronan,

      Happy to be featured on Test Huddle. However, I don't have a Test Huddle profile and given that I'm just starting out in the blogging world I'm keen to keep the content relatable for all new testers, and also anonymous until I feel more comfortable.

      Let me know what you think, still happy to be in touch. Thanks for reading!

  3. Hi,
    That's understandable. If you can, contact me at the above email address and we could chat about it further? I could go into more detail.


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  5. Hi,
    Its a very nice post. I am a new tester started working since 7 months and i am struggling a lot with communication i am not a British i find it difficult but i love this job i want to perform better i dnt know how i can do it and other thing is due to communication problem i struggle to write manual scripting.I haven't got experienced people around me. I want to learn which is the best place to acquire more knowledge i need advise,