I was recently invited by Fabian Böck for a chat over on his Youtube channel where he frequently interviews people in tech on various topics of interest in the industry. My talk was focused on how to steer the direction of your tech career. We had a fantastic talk about how to pave learning avenues, set for yourself time to reflect, and how companies should be enabling their workforce. And most importantly, how to ‘Never Feel Stuck’ in where you are – even if you are happy or not and use continuous learning and self improvement to guide yourself to better places!
Here is a link to the video interview-
Fabian’s company Boeck and XOXO works on Tech Conventions x Matchmaking Marketplace x Tech Talks. Check them out for more interesting talks and content!
Last year was hard in more ways than one. Amidst the pandemic, lockdowns, and changing global political climate, we are still forced into a survival mode of sorts. While many people struggle to hold on to their jobs, others are having a hard time adjusting to working from home while managing kids, home life and distractions. As we are cooped up with all the chaos around us, our career and growth plans might have taken a back seat for a while there.
We are now pacing through 2021. As we pass the half year mark in 2021, let’s take back charge of our careers and drive them in the direction we want!
In my article published here earlier this year, I discuss six tips to get your career as a tester back on track, or even take it down some new paths!
Learn a new skill
Learning anything new, whether it’s a new language, a new recipe, or a life skill like swimming or cooking, can help open your mind and create excitement for learning other professional skills, too.
Learning a new skill has always been the first tip you get to advance your career, and that’s because it stands true now more than ever. It’s often necessary in order to upgrade yourself if you want to land a new job or a better role. But amidst all the chaos around us, our minds might not be the best focused on learning right now.
Whether you were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and lost your job, or your plans for a job switch were impacted or delayed, do continue to spend time and effort on learning something new that you have always wanted to master.
Diversify your skills
Testing is a multi-faceted role, and testers need to possess multiple skills to be effective in their teams. Especially in the ever-changing landscape of DevOps and agile, being a tester requires skills ranging from test automation to API testing to functional testing to security, performance, and load testing. We also need to be familiar with build processes, automated deployment tools, and white box tests.
Still, whatever your current specialty, you can always acquire another skill to better your profile and expand your skillset. Here are some ideas:
Choose an area to specialize in
While it is important to know a little bit of everything, that might not satiate your hunger for knowledge! As you diversify your skillset, you are bound to recognize that you love a certain topic more, so you can then focus on specializing in that area.
As you dig deeper into that area of testing, you will learn more about the tools it requires, the best technologies to use, their comparisons, in-depth features, etc. This will help you participate more in discussions, showcase your advanced skill set, and eventually be seen as a go-to person for that job.
The global pandemic has many of us wondering about our job situation. There is insecurity and fear in every industry, and many workers are already bearing the brunt of layoffs or pay cuts. If you are in the same boat, you might be thinking about a career move soon enough.
But with most people working remotely, how do you prepare a skill set that is up to date for the testing industry? You need to take charge of your own training. In my article published at TestRail blog I discussed some tips to upskill yourself as a tester, now or anytime in the future.
It sounds obvious, but it may not be so to everyone. There are hundreds of books available on all things testing, with more every day, so there’s sure to be something useful to you.
And in today’s day and age, reading does not only imply books. There are a number of blogs, community websites, and newsletters you can subscribe to for the latest articles and write-ups on various new technologies, tools, frameworks, and methods.
Take some time each day to read select articles that interest you and explore what new developments are happening in the industry. You must strive to learn things beyond what you are already doing and the technology that you are already using at work. If you can spare just 15 minutes a day to read your favorite journals, articles, or blogs, you will feel more a part of the industry beyond your own team and company.
2. Leverage online learning
There is no dearth of online courses or learning materials on any technology or tool you want to explore. There are numerous websites, forums, and YouTube channels that offer free content, step-by-step tutorial guides, and training related to software testing. You can start your learning journey with any one of them and continue to explore along the way.
Renowned industry leaders offer their expertise and knowledge in free or paid courses that you can attend online. If live training is not your jam, go ahead and find a self-paced video course. Some of them even offer you a completion certificate once you clear the quiz at the end. You can proudly display it on your LinkedIn or other professional profiles to showcase your skills to recruiters.
3. Connect and network
Connections and networking matter a lot in a job search. Even though in-person encounters aren’t possible right now, you can leverage the online avenues of connecting and networking like attending online free meetups, conferences, and webinars. There are many learning and engaging events that you can participate in to connect with other like-minded people. You can also get involved by helping organize these functions or starting your own group event or meetup. Read full article->
I am proud to announce another one of my contributions made its way to the eBook titled ‘21st Century Skills for Software Testers‘. This initiative was started by Emna Ayadi and Ard Kramer asking for contributions from various testers on their thoughts about the essential pivotal skill sets that benefit software testers.
🚀 This bilingual book made by software testers is all about: How we apply 21st-century skills: 🔸 Critical thinking 🔹 Communication 🔸 Collaboration 🔹 Creativity and also how we are going to use these skills in the future.
This was a great initiative to bring together thoughts of many great testers from around the globe. There are some great pieces featured and a number of things to learn. I am super excited to feature in not one but Two sections in there –
Check out what I wrote in the First section of ‘Critical Thinking’ – Section 1.1.15 ‘Stories of Testers from the Present’ and Section 1.2.8 ‘Imaginations and Thoughts of Testers’
Writing defect reports is a constant part of a tester’s daily life, and an important one too! How you report the bugs you find plays a key role in the fate of the bug and whether it’s understood and resolved or ends up being deferred or rejected.
It is imperative for every tester to communicate the defects they find well. In my article published at TestRail blog, I discuss four simple tips to help you write better bug reports.
Study past bug reports
If you are new to your team or new to testing itself, the best way to learn about good bug reporting is to read the team’s past bug reports. Try to understand the bugs and see if you could reproduce them.
By doing this exercise you learn the best way to present bugs so that the team can understand them. You’ll get a feel for the business language and the project’s jargon to be able to describe features and modules.You may also see some imperfections in the past reports, so you can think about how to improve them and what other information would be useful to include.
Create your own game plan
Create a shortcut for yourself, like writing down a summary or title of each bug you find as you go about testing and saving the screenshot. When you get down to reporting, you can quickly fill out the steps, as well as expected and actual results, and attach the saved screenshots. Doing this could be faster and save you the effort of repeating steps just to get the needed screenshots and logs. Continue Reading–>
Testers find defects and raise awareness about quality. What happens after the bugs are found can be any tester’s guess, though. Bugs may get delayed, postponed, go unnoticed or linger on due to lack of information.
In my article for Ranorex blog, I talk about how Testers need to champion the cause of their bugs in order to avoid unneeded delays in fixing defects that are important. At the same time, testers should maintain a distance to make it an impersonal and impartial experience. Testers need to master the art of bug advocacy!
Why is advocacy important?
Advocacy is basically pleading the case for a bug to be fixed. The testers who find the bugs are the ones who need to advocate for their bugs. It is important that they take a stand and voice their opinions.
Some bugs may not be deemed important from a business perspective, as they seem too small. But in reality, they may be blocking an important feature for a particular user group. On the other hand, some bugs may seem more critical than they truly are, and while fixing them may be important, it may not be the highest of priority.
Whatever the case, testers must aim to present the facts and data in such a way that decision-makers are able to make well-informed resolutions about the issue.
Communication is key
Advocating for anything is not a one-way street. It takes discussion, debate and reaching a consensus on key points to make a collective decision. This is where testers’ communication skill plays a key role. Testers need to have good communication, both verbal and written.
Testing concepts and techniques can be learned. But having a knack for testing is different. What makes someone a born tester? What are some personality traits and skills that can make a person innately good at this profession?
In my latest article published at https://blog.gurock.com/natural-traits-great-tester/ , I have described four traits that belong to people who naturally make great testers. Developing these traits can help you in your testing career, and if you are a manager, these are the traits to seek when looking to hire new testers for your team!