Reinventing yourself – Remain useful

There are some jobs in the world that have routines that do not change much (they involve repetitive steps without much modification) and some jobs that require frequent new approaches and more thought (changes to what is done on a daily basis). Unfortunately, a lot of people/companies place testing into the first category and not into the second category – where it belongs.

Some jobs that do not require much changing your actions are: assembly line workers, grocery store cashiers, gas station attendants, and TSA guards. Yes, every one of these jobs would involve some thought and modifications to routine in some situations (e.g.: TSA guards and cashiers need to react to unruly customers) but for the most part these jobs continue, day after day, without too much modification to their routine. It is also important to note that these jobs involve a lot of “checking” by following set procedures (scripts) and not too much “thinking” about what is happening in the surrounding environment.

Good stand-up comics are continuously developing new material to keep their audiences laughing and coming back. How boring would it be to always hear the same jokes each time you heard a particular comedian? Would that comedian serve his purpose of entertaining you?

Why do many testers continuously use the same tests over and over and over again? Sure, those tests (checks) may have found important bugs once. Sometimes they still manage to stumble across some issues but mostly those tests (checks) are washed up. That does not necessarily mean that those checks need to be executed every release and it DEFINITELY doesn’t mean that new tests are not required. Some tests (checks) are important enough to warrant being executed each release, but those checks will not find new bugs in the existing code.

As a group, testers need to work towards moving the profession of software testing into the category of jobs that require thought. We need to be advocates for creating new tests to supplement/replace the old ones. We need to make our jobs more interesting and engaging by creating a situation where a higher level of thinking is required and where mindless testing is frowned upon.

Testers also need to work on frequent self-improvement to be able to develop new ideas and new approaches to their testing challenges. Attending conferences, peer workshops, reading blogs and articles are all wonderful ways to become a better thinking tester.

If more software testers push toward better testing, then the big ship might slowly start to turn away from bad testing. In general, tester will gain more respect, be more useful to their projects and be able to enjoy their jobs a lot more.

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