There was a time — gasp — that you had to sit down to scheduled programming, tethered to the mercy of the television channels and what they were programming then and there. You wanted an episode of Seinfeld? Sure. Only if you happened to be planted on your couch in front of the tube during NBC’s Must-See-TV Thursday Nights.
Binge watching wasn’t a part of the vernacular. If you wanted to do a 1990s equivalent of binge watching, it would consist of either stomaching four consecutive hours of whatever was on the channel you were on, or a VHS tape full of those great Seinfeld episodes you wanted to watch so bad (in fact, I believe I had a tape like that…replete with all the commercials and poor quality you’d expect of a tape that was re-recorded on, over and over, about 2000 times).
And since there was no concept of the on-demand, free-for-all that is Netflix, you not only had to watch TV live as it aired, you had to have some sort of mechanism to find what was actually on the tube…and no, that wasn’t the Internet. At least the hard, paper copy of TV Guide was as instantaneous as a pre-Internet era could be when it came to wanting to see what was on. Because if you flicked over to the Prevue Channel (later the TV Guide Channel) to see the listings scroll by at a blisteringly slow pace, only to have the channel you were looking for coast by in the blink of an eye…well…these are the things that could ruin an afternoon.
Ah, yes. You kids these days don’t know how good you have it with your binge watching. I have suffered many hardships.
Do you long for the glory days of TV? Or has today’s want-what-I-want-when-I-want-it, “binge-watching” culture completely won you over? We’d like to hear from you in the Comments.
Automation is a sector of software testing that has experienced explosive growth and enterprise investment in recent years. The knowledge necessary to learn about and specialize in automated testing is found at industry events like the upcoming 2nd annual User Conference on Advanced Automated Testing (UCAAT) in Munich, Germany from September 16-18, 2014.
The European conference, jointly organized by the “Methods for Testing and Specification” (TC MTS) ETSI Technical Committee, QualityMinds, and German Testing Day, will focus exclusively on use cases and best practices for software and embedded testing automation.
The 2014 program will cover topics like agile test automation, model-based tests, test languages and methodologies, as well as web of service and use of test automation in various industries like automotive, medical technology, and security, to name a few. Noted participants in the opening session include Dr. Andrej Pietschker (Giesecke & Devrient), Professor Ina Schieferdecker (Free University of Berlin), Markus Becher (BMW), Dr. Heiko Englert (Siemens), and Dr. Alexander Pretschner (Technical University of Munich).
UCAAT 2013, which took place in Paris, attracted 200 participants and included 21 technical presentations held by renowned speakers such as Professor Lionel Briand (University of Luxembourg) and Matthias Rasking (Accenture).
As a special offer to our testing community, you can receive a 5% discount for new registrations to UCAAT. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the special discount code for this and other shows.
Also, be sure to check out the Events calendar for upcoming online and in-person events!
Bug Battles are arguably even more popular than they were since the last time we held this esteemed competition. Companies from Microsoft to Facebook are offering up bounties to testers that find the most crucial of bugs bogging down their apps, and putting their companies’ credibility on the line.
The Bug Battle launches right now, Wednesday, July 23. Testers will have two weeks, until Wednesday, August 6th, to submit the most impactful Desktop, Web and Mobile bugs from testing tools contained on our Tool Reviews site. Only the best battlers will take home all the due glory, respect, and the cash prizes! And speaking of those cash prizes, we’ll be awarding well over $1000, along with uTest swag for bugs that are not only the most crucial and impactful, but that are part of well-written bug reports.
Want to be updated on all of the action? Be sure to follow along on your favorite social media channels so you don’t miss any of the milestones:
We’ll also be keeping you covered on the competition here at the uTest Blog every step of the way, along with the announcement of the winners on Wednesday, August 20th…after the community gets their say in voting!
The competition is only for members of the uTest Community, which…ahem…is totally free, so if you’re not a member, sign up today. Beyond the competition, you’ll also have access to some of the top testing talent in the industry in our Forums, and a wealth of free training content at uTest University.
Be sure to check out all of the full submission details, rules, prizes and deadlines over at the official 2014 Summer Bug Battle site.
Let the games begin!
Continuing in the Security State of Mind here at the uTest Blog today, some of you may remember that we reported last week that the 2014 SyScan conference was offering a $10,000 bounty for any tester who was able to remotely access a Tesla Model S’ automobile operating system.
That open challenge didn’t last too long, apparently.
According to The Register, students from Zhejiang University late last week were able to take control of the automobile remotely while it was driving, gaining access to its doors and sunroof by opening them, switching on the headlights, and, for some giggles, sounding the horn, too.
If you’ll remember, Tesla didn’t play any part in this open challenge to hackers at the Chinese conference, but it did issue a statement supporting “the idea of providing an environment in which responsible security researchers can help identify potential vulnerabilities,” hoping “security researchers will act responsibly and in good faith.” Opening the doors while the car is driving doesn’t sound too responsible to me, but that just underscores the fact that this is something definitely worth looking into on the part of Tesla.
I know a little company that could help.
Data breaches, hacking, and other security leaks have been in the news for months now. Earlier this year, the Heartbleed bug affected the data security at big names like Google, Yahoo, Instagram, Pinterest, and Netflix. Organizations of all sizes from coast to coast are constantly dealing with security threats and breaches. New York suffered 900 data breaches last year, according to a report from the State Attorney General. In California, an insurance company inadvertently exposed the social security numbers of 18,000 doctors on a public web site.
It seems that the trend of big data breaches making the news is not stopping. This PC World article points out the 5 biggest data breaches of 2014 so far and the list includes recognizable names like eBay, Michaels Stores, and the Montana Department of Public Health. All of this media attention puts the security industry – and security testing – in the spotlight.
You can get up to speed on security testing using our course track, which includes:
Introduction to Security Testing
The Security Testing Mindset
What Is Network Topology?
TCP Ports and Security Testing
Using Routers, Firewalls, DMZs, and Tunnels in Security Testing
Manual Penetration Testing
Security Testing with Apache and IIS
Common and Legacy Services in Security Testing
How to Conduct Security Research and Identify False Positives
Free and Open Source Tools for Security Testing
Security Encryption Basics, Part 1: Understanding Cryptology
Security Encryption Basics, Part 2: Symmetric and Asymmetric Encryption
You can also easily add the series to your To-Do List by going to the course tracks page and selecting the Security Testing track.
uTest University (uTu) is free for all members of the uTest Community. We are constantly adding to our course catalog to keep you educated on the latest topics and trends. If you are an expert in UX, load & performance, security, or mobile testing, you can share your expertise with the community by authoring a uTu course. Contact the team at email@example.com for more information.
James Bach is synonymous with testing, and has been disrupting the industry and influencing and mentoring testers since he got his start in testing over 25 years ago at Apple. Always a great interview, James is one of our most popular guests and we’re happy to have him back for his first Testing the Limits since 2011. For more on James’ background, his body of work and his testing philosophy, you can check out his blog, website or follow him on Twitter.
In Part One of our latest talk with James, he talks about a future that involves a ‘leaner’ testing world, the state of context-driven testing outside of the United States, and why you’re “dopey” if you’re a manager using certain criteria in hiring your testers.
uTest: We know you don’t enjoy certifications when it comes to testers. In fact, in a recent blog, you mentioned that ‘The ISTQB and similar programs require your stupidity and your fear in order to survive.’ Do you feel like certifications are picking up steam when it comes to hiring and if they’re becoming even more of a pervasive issue?
JB: I don’t have any statistics to cite, but my impression from my travels is that certifications have no more steam today than they did 10 years ago. Dopey, frightened, lazy people will continue to use them in hiring, just as they have for years.
uTest: Speaking of pervasive problems, what in your opinion has changed the most – for better or for worse – in the testing industry as a whole since we talked with you last almost 3 years ago?
JB: For the better: the rise of the Let’s Test conference. That makes two solidly Context-Driven conference franchises in the world. This is related to the general rise of a spirited European Context-Driven testing community.
Nothing much else big seems to have changed in the industry, from my perspective. I and my colleagues continue to evolve our work, of course.
uTest: In a recent interview, you mentioned that you see the future of testing, in 2020 for instance, as being made up just of a small group of testing “masters” that jump into testing projects and oversee the testing getting done…by people that aren’t necessarily “testers.” Do you see QA departments going completely by the wayside in this new reality of a leaner testing world? Wouldn’t this be a threat to the industry in general?
JB: I’m not sure whether you mean QA groups, per se, or testing groups (which are often called QA). I don’t see testing groups completely going away across all the sectors of the industry, but for some sectors, maybe. For instance, it wouldn’t surprise me if Google got rid of all its “testers” and absorbed that activity into its development groups, who would then pursue it with the ruthless efficiency of bored teenagers mopping floors at McDonald’s (a company as powerful as Google can do a lot of silly things for a very long time without really suffering. Look at how stupidly HP has been managed for the last 20 years, and they are still, amazingly, in business).
Remember that railroads existed for many years without reliable braking systems until the 1889 Armagh rail disaster. Dangerous sweatshops were normal in America until the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire. Credit default swaps were all the rage before the great economic collapse of 2008. It sometimes takes catastrophes to make companies take risk seriously.
In many innovation-oriented companies, I think it would be healthy to see smaller groups of testers who were better trained and more serious about their craft. I don’t think that is a threat to the industry, because I don’t believe that an industry full of fake-certified knuckleheads is anything to be proud of. It’s those unambitious testers who will lose their jobs in the world order I envision. That’s okay, because it isn’t the number of testers that matters—it’s whether there is a market for every serious, skilled tester who wants a job. I think there will be such a market.
uTest: Continuing on testing departments for a bit, if there’s one constant amongst all testing teams that managers don’t get right when building out their teams, what is it?
JB: There is no constant among all testing teams, really. But one common problem is that they don’t establish a system to develop and assure craftsmanship in their teams. They don’t train. They don’t comprehend the skills of good testing.
uTest: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to a tester when it comes to preserving the tester-developer relationship?
JB: Build your credibility. With credibility, you will get the support and access you need to get your work done.
uTest: We know that as a context-driven tester, you’ve called “best practices” a “hyperbolic propagandist’s phrase.” Are you against the idea of best practices in general, or just best practices in testing?
JB: If you are asking that question, then I guess you must not understand why I make fun of people who say “best practices.” Okay. I understand. You haven’t read my blog posts on this. That’s cool.
I’m against people for whom incompetence is a lifestyle choice and who seek to protect their lifestyle by dumbing down a vibrant intellectual craft with flowery protestations of unfounded excellence. All competent thinking professionals know that they didn’t get that way by blindly following others. And there is no reason for the phrase “best practice” other than to encourage uncritical acceptance of an idea that would not otherwise stand on its own contingent merit.
Whenever you want to say “best practice,” just say “practice” instead.
uTest: You’re a presenter at Let’s Test Oz in Australia in September (an event for which uTest is offering uTesters an exclusive discount), a conference that has context-driven principles at its core. How is the state of the context-driven community in areas like Australia? Are we still at the point where it’s an emerging set of values in testing communities outside of the US?
JB: Australia does not yet have a strong skilled testing culture. Local heroes such as Anne-Marie Charrett, David Greenlees and Richard Robinson aim to change that. Let’s Test will help that process.
uTest: Any other events coming up that you’re excited for – testing or not?
JB: I’m going to China for the first time, very soon. I’m quite nervous about that. You know, in the best of circumstances, I am routinely misunderstood and misquoted. Whenever anyone teaches something out of the mainstream, their words will be filtered through an “autocorrect” filter that does alarming things to their message. But with China, there are three additional problems: they haven’t encountered my work before, they don’t speak English well, and their culture is not one which routinely celebrates free and independent thinking.
Frankly, I’m not sure why they want me to teach there. If I were them, I think I would hate me.
But this is very important. China is an emerging technology market that I have to assume will get bigger and bigger. I have to try to make my “buccaneering” message work in their context.
Be sure to stay tuned for Part II of James’ interview next Monday, where James will field questions from our tester community.
So it comes as no surprise that in a recent blog, James provided some fodder for a great discussion in the uTest Forums, arguing that there aren’t enough intellectual testers in the field — that is, testers that are willing to challenge themselves or the status quo:
“The state of the practice in testing is for testers NOT to read about their craft, NOT to study social science or know anything about the proper use of statistics or the meaning of the word ‘heuristic,’ and NOT to challenge the now 40 year stale ideas about making testing into factory work that lead directly to mass outsourcing of testing to lowest bidder instead of the most able tester.”
While there was a fair amount of pushback to this, a surprising amount of uTesters tended to agree, including one tester that even went so far as to call it a “pet peeve” of his. However, while agreeing with Bach’s assessment, these same testers argued that it isn’t necessarily their fault — it’s a product of their environment:
“To conclude, I believe that the issue lies with how projects are managed. If no time is left for more robust testing, then it almost doesn’t matter how intellectual or technically savvy a tester is if all he/she is going to have time to do is create and execute tests against specifications. In other words, intellectual testers don’t have much opportunity for more intellectual testing. A strong tester would not be able to showcase those skills in this environment.
“To James’ credit, we as software testers owe it to ourselves – and to the integrity of the profession – to stay educated on the latest techniques, then attempt to blend/incorporate these techniques into projects. The problem lies with the organization, however. The organization has to be mature enough to embrace exploratory testing.” – Jay M.
“Some of this also comes from the ‘unspoken’ acceptance of this behavior by management…there is no encouragement given to the testers to learn, management just maintains the status quo.” -Teresa P.
So let’s bring this discussion out of the Forums a bit and into the greater community. First off, do you believe that the lack of ‘intellectual’ testers is a pervasive problem in the industry? If it is, do you agree with our testers that change needs to come from the top down in organizations before testers can actually seek to change themselves? We’re interested to hear what testers think, so please let us know in the Comments below.
Oh, and speaking of James Bach, be sure to stop by at the uTest Blog Monday for Part I of a brand-new interview with Mr. Bach himself.
If there is sexy side of software testing, it is likely Security Testing. I know this because it’s the only type of testing (aside from game testing) that Hollywood seems to care about. For some reason, the hackers portrayed in movies always are always trying to access vital intelligence contained within the mainframe.
The truth is that mainframes – which are essentially just large scale computer systems – are actually throwback tech and today most companies don’t use them. According to the Huffington Post, “the manipulation of massive amounts of data, once the hallmark of mainframe computers, can now be done by server farms which easily connect to other systems, cost far less money, and require less training to administer.”
OK, so companies don’t really use mainframes anymore. However, early computer systems must have been easy to hack, right? Well it looks like Hollywood got this mostly wrong, too. According to Stan King in his article, Hacking the Mainframe: Fact or Fiction:
“Data communications, based on Binary Synchronous Communications (BSC) or Systems Network Architecture (SNA)/Synchronous Data Link Control (SDLC), used analog circuits. These were so difficult to hack that they were never seriously considered as a major point of entry for illicit activity. That is quite the opposite of today, where the common backbone network—the Internet—links everyone to everything, creating a tremendous number of possibilities for attack. In the ’60s and ’70s, establishing a high-speed circuit with conditioning from New York to Los Angeles required coordinating with several telephone companies across the continent, and waiting six months or longer. Now worldwide connectivity is as close as your local ISP and the wall jack in your office.”
However, much to no one’s surprise, factual accuracy is not something with which Hollywood is concerned, and besides, “hacking the mainframe” just sounds cool.
Note: The following is a guest submission to the uTest Blog from Sanjay Zalavadia.
Despite the general consensus among software developers that agile methods offer the best approach to quality assurance, many organizations continue to struggle with their implementation. Because agile practices differ so much from traditional waterfall processes, it’s understandable that some teams may run into obstacles during the transition. By keeping these top agile best practices in mind, struggling QA teams can get on the right track and begin to appreciate the benefits of the methodology.
- Be agile - This sounds like a no-brainer, but many programmers and testers lose sight of what it means to be agile. With all the different processes and tasks that agile teams carry out, individuals and organizations as a whole can get bogged down in the details. As IT service provider A.J. Boggs explained, it’s important to stay true to the spirit of the approach and not the nuts and bolts of the methodology. For instance, if a team is finding that its daily Scrums are difficult to coordinate and are not providing much of any value, maybe QA leaders should consider dropping them. Be agile, but don’t be beholden to the process.
- Gather feedback - Like any other change in management style, feedback will be critical to the success of an agile transition. FCW suggested that agile teams talk with everyone involved and see what works, what doesn’t and what needs to be improved. This process should include obtaining feedback from end users as well. Ultimately, software will be judged by how well it performs once it is in the hands of these individuals, so their insight is absolutely critical. If software quality has dropped since making the switch to agile, that’s a clear indication that something has gone wrong in the process.
- Support communication, collaboration - One of the most fundamental components of agile is the idea that everyone involved in the development process, from programmers and testers to C-level officers, should be in constant communication. Agile seeks to tear down the silos of traditional waterfall practices that can impede software development. QA members need to be in constant contact with one another, working together to improve the quality of the product. With a test management system, these individuals can quickly and easily share important updates, resources and information with relevant parties. For instance, testers can upload a new bug report for a test script in real time, making it available to everyone without delay.
By adhering to agile best practices, QA teams can make a smoother transition from waterfall methods and successfully transform into a leaner business unit.
Sanjay Zalavadia is the VP of Client Services for Zephyr, who offers a real-time, full-featured test management system. Learn more about Zephyr right here.
The software testing world can be a complex maze, especially if you are new to the industry. There are various testing types, testing methodologies, and testing schools of thought, as well as guidance about bug reporting, project etiquette, and working on a testing team. The amount of information can be overwhelming, but we’ve outlined a few ways you can easily get your bearings and start off on the right foot in software testing here at uTest.
Read About Testing News
The Software Testing Blog is your source for news and information about the testing world. You can find posts about events, careers, trends, and specific testing types like mobile and security. The blog also features Q&A sessions with industry experts like Stephen Janaway, Craig Tomlin, and Dave Ferguson, along with upcoming interviews with leaders like James Bach.
Connect With Other Testers
The Software Testing Forums is your place to meet fellow testers from around the world and discuss the hottest topics in testing today. The forums includes over 80,000 posts in more than 5,000 topics. Take a poll, share your favorite testing quotes, or just introduce yourself to the community.
Attend An Event
The Software Testing Events calendar is a comprehensive listing of testing events happening around the globe. You can find both in-person and online events, as well as new courses available to testers. Some show organizers also offer discounts for members of the uTest Community. See event listings for more details.
Take An Online Course
Software Testing Courses at uTest University are free training opportunities available to members of the community. The courses cover a range of topics, including mobile testing, web and desktop testing, and courses that include video for visual learners.
Get Familiar With Testing Tools
I think we can all agree that development and testing are two essential parts of any successful software project. Both roles are unique, have separate skill requirements, and a special way of thinking to get the job done right. There is an overlap in understanding, though, and they both have the same goal – to release quality software projects that make their users happy. But, can developers be good testers?
I’m not asking whether or not developers can be good at testing their own code (or whether or not they should – which I discuss in a previous blog post). Instead, I am asking whether or not developers, in general, have the skills and abilities necessary to switch hats with their tester compatriots. Do developers innately have what it takes to be good at testing?
My answer is, in short, it depends entirely on the developer in question. I do not think that being developers grants us a special insight into the world of testing. In fact, I think that in some cases, being a developer can hamper being an effective tester. If we understand and know innately how a piece of software should work, or have very strong views around how it should work, then we are not going to be able to break it properly. We’re going to overlook bugs simply because our brains fill in the blanks when something doesn’t work or read the way we think it should.
Take this image, for example. Did you catch the error? Our brains will automatically “fix” issues with things we are familiar with, even on a very low level. Even if you have never read this sentence before today, there’s a high likelihood that your brain fixed the error while you were reading.
Here’s another example. Once you begin reading the text in this image, your brain realizes what’s going on and adapts accordingly, so that you are still able to read the words even though they are completely wrong.
In my opinion, testing software can be just like this. If you understand too much about what should be happening (either because you programmed it or you have programmed, or even used, something similar in the past) then you could be missing very important defects in what you’re testing. Even seasoned testers who have been working on the same project too long will have these sorts of problems – they will have a harder time finding bugs because they’re too familiar with the application.
So, can developers make good testers? Of course it’s possible! I am both a developer and a tester, after all. But I am careful not to work on projects too close to things I have developed so that I do not miss vital issues in the software. I have to be very careful what and where I test, and I have to separate myself from the developer mindset in order to test effectively.
Tammy Shipps has experience working with testers as a developer and marketing engineer at Applause. She also is an active uTest Community member and tester herself.
Memes, Grumpy Cat, Which State are You? quizzes and now GIFs. At the risk of not turning into Reddit or Buzzfeed who do these things far better than we ever could, we rounded up some of our testers’ experiences as told in movable image form…just this one time. Enjoy.
Is it a bug? Is it working as designed? Can’t decide:
QA’s look at a new build:
My reaction when there’s a known issues list of 300+ lines when receiving a new build:
Product was shipped with a critical bug:
It’s all fun exploring new things until something serious happens:
When receiving a near flawless build from developers:
When a tester walks into a developer’s office:
A developer handing his or her baby over to a tester:
Was this thing unit tested?
Bug bounties are a dime a dozen these days with companies from Facebook to Microsoft paying out hefty ransoms of up to $100,000 for testers that find critical vulnerabilities. But this latest bug bounty may have just taken security testing into the future…and to a whole other level of awesomeness.
According to the International Business Times, the 2014 SyScan conference will be offering a $10,000 bounty for any tester who is able to remotely access a Tesla Model S’ automobile operating system. The luxury electric car manufacturer isn’t behind the stunt, but one of the sleek models will still be on hand for conference attendees. Anyone who registers for the security show, beginning this week in Beijing and one of the most well-known in Asia, is eligible to take the challenge.
The bounty seeks to highlight the most vulnerable of areas that black hat testers could seek to exploit: the link between a driver’s mobile phone and the car’s onboard computer system.
Personally, I’d want the sweet ride that I had just hacked into versus the cash bounty, but that’s just me.
What do you think? Is the Tesla hackathon the beginning of a new dawn for security testers? Would you have what it takes to hack into an automobile operating system that is widely thought to be pretty iron-clad? Sound off in the comments below.
The Summer is usually a leisurely paced time of year — you’ve got your days at the beach, road trips and fun in the sun. The software testing conference scene is no different, really, but there are a few major notable shows to take note of as we get deep into the summer heat:
- International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis (ISSTA): Taking place next week, ISSTA is the leading research symposium on software testing and analysis, bringing together academics, industrial researchers, and practitioners to exchange new ideas, problems, and experience on how to analyze and test software systems.
- ChinaTest 2014: James Bach and some other big names in software testing are at this major Chinese show this month.
- SoCraTes 2014: The show is all about the sustainable creation of useful software in a responsible way. In short, everyone who is concerned with coding, testing, code quality, software craftsmanship would want to be at this one — so that means testers! Check out this one in Germany.
- Conference of the Association for Software Testing (CAST) 2014: CAST’s 9th Annual software testing conference in New York City is one of the most well-known amongst testers, and for good reason: it perennially features major testing players including James Bach, Matthew Heusser, Michael Bolton and Fiona Charles, and is interactive in format with debates and panels taking center stage, along with content built by testers for testers. uTest will also be covering the event from NYC in August, along with some choice interviews, so stay tuned to Social and the Blog!
- SeConf 2014 (Selenium): Automation testers, take note. This one is a volunteer-run, non-profit event presented by members of the Selenium Community. The goal of the conference is to bring together Selenium developers & enthusiasts from around the world to share ideas, socialize, and work together on advancing the present and future success of the project.
- Let’s Test Oz 2014: Let’s Test co-founders Henrik Andersson and David Greenlees just gave uTesters a glimpse of this upcoming Sydney, Australia conference which celebrates the context-driven school of thought. James Bach is a busy, busy man as this is the third time we’re mentioning him — he’s a keynote speaker here, too. uTest has also arranged for a 10% discount off new registrations for this one, so please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan on hitting Australia in September.
As always, you can stay up to date on ALL of the latest and greatest conferences, panels and live courses from the world of testing at our Software Testing Events calendar!
Henrik Andersson and David Greenlees are two well-known contributors to the context-driven testing community and together co-founded the Let’s Test conferences, which celebrate the context-driven school of thought. Let’s Test Oz is slated for September 15-17 just outside Sydney, Australia, and uTest has secured an exclusive 10% discount off new registrations. Be sure to email email@example.com for this special discount code if you plan on attending.
In this interview, we talk with Henrik and David on trends in the context-driven community, and get a sense of what testers can expect at Let’s Test Oz.
uTest: Like James Bach, you’re both members of the ‘context-driven’ testing community. What drove each of you to context-driven testing?
HA: Actually, James did. I had close to no awareness of the context-driven testing (CDT) community before I hosted James’ RST class in Sweden in spring of 2007. During my discussions with James, I found that we shared lots of fundamental views on testing, and he insisted that I should meet more people in the CDT community.
James told me about the CAST conference that took place in the States, and that just before this, there would be a small peer conference called WHET 4 that his brother Jon hosted. A few days later, I got an invitation from Jon Bach to attend. At this workshop, where we spent a weekend discussion on Boundary Testing, I met testers like Cem Kaner, Ross Collard, Scott Barber, Rob Sabourin, Michael Bolton, Dough Hoffman, Keith Stobie, Tim Coulter, Dawn Haynes, Paul Holland, Karen Johnson, Sam Kalman, David Gilbert, Mike Kelly, and, of course, Jon and James Bach. From then on I was hooked!
DG: Difficult question to answer without writing a novel! I wrote about my testing journey some time back, however, that doesn’t really touch on my drivers toward the CDT community. If I was to pinpoint one thing, it would be the book Lessons Learned in Software Testing (Bach, Kaner, Pettichord). This was my first introduction to the community and to what I believe is a better way to test…in fact…the only way to test.
What keeps me here is the fantastic people I come across each and every day. We challenge each other, we’re passionate, and we’re not afraid to put our opinions out there for the world to hear and critique. This all adds to the betterment of our craft, which is our ultimate goal. I’m a firm believer that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to testing, and when you add that to my natural tendency to explore rather than confirm, I find that the CDT community is a great fit for me.
uTest: And speaking of James Bach, he’s one of the keynote speakers at Let’s Test Oz in the Fall. Can you tell us a little bit about the idea behind the show, and why you felt it was time for context-driven conferences in Europe and Australia?
HA: Let’s Test is all about building, growing and strengthening the CDT community. We have successfully arranged Let’s Test three years in a row in Europe, but the attendees are coming from all over the world. The idea behind Let’s Test is to create a meeting place for testers to learn, share experiences, grow, meet other testers, do some real testing, and, of course, to have a whole lot of fun.
When David Greenlees and Ann-Marie Charrett told me about what they were looking to achieve, I immediately felt that it was in line with Let’s Test, and believe Let’s Test can be a great vehicle to grow the CDT community in Australia.
Last year, we did a one-day tasting of Let’s Test in Sydney, and this year, we did one in the Netherlands. In November, we will be hosting one in Johannesburg, South Africa. The purpose of the small tastings of Let’s Test is for testers to get a glance at the Let’s Test experience, at a really low cost. If you cant come to the real Let’s Test, this is a great alternative to check out what it is all about.
DG: From the Australian point of view, it’s fair to say that the CDT community is very small. We refer to the area as ‘Downunder’ — this is our way of saying Australia and New Zealand. I felt it was time to change that, and one way to help the CDT community thrive is to hold a CDT conference.
For quite a few years now, I’ve felt that Downunder needed a different style of software testing conference, one where conferring is the ultimate goal, and so I emailed Henrik, and he was extremely positive and encouraging…so here we are.
uTest: What’s changed or surprised you the most about the context-driven testing community in the past couple of years?
DG: That’s difficult for me to answer as I’ve only been engaged with, and a member of, the CDT community for 3-4 years now. What I have found is that the CDT community constantly changes — it’s the nature of being driven by your context. The testing we do changes all the time as the technology we use, and development approaches we undertake, change all the time. Not only that, as a community, we are big on education and the study of our craft. Along with that comes new discoveries every week! All you need to do is follow the blogs of CDT community members and you’ll be blown away by what’s being learned and shared constantly.
uTest: ‘Best practices’ can be a bit of a dirty phrase if you subscribe to the context-driven testing school of thought – one size fits all is rarely in the cards. But is there ever a situation where best practices are warranted as a tester?
HA: “Best Practices” are a sales gimmick that too many people have been repeating for too long, with the result that people who are looking for a shortcut have started to believe in it.
I’m not interested if there might be a hypothetical situation where it is valid. I just don’t like the concept of it since it is limiting my ability to do think, be creative, experiment and to learn new stuff — in short, to do good and valuable work.
uTest: What separates a great tester from the rest of the pack?
DG: Dare I say it: It depends on the context.
One thing I will call out is passion for the craft and self-education. If a tester has passion for what they are doing, the self-education tends to comes naturally, and the rest falls into place. Sure, there will always be times where a tester questions whether testing is right for them — that’s a part of a tester’s evolution — but passionate testers will always fall back to it, or change something to re-motivate themselves.
I don’t believe in calling out particular skills that a tester should have, because every context is different, and may require a completely different set of skills.
uTest: Who are some of the folks in testing you’d consider an ‘influencer,’ whether a peer or someone who’s a social media giant?
HA: There are so many that have influenced my work. I mentioned a few in my previous answers. Today, I get lots of inspiration from my fellow testers at House of Test. Also there is a bunch of ‘newish’ testers that have lots of energy. To mention a few:
- Ben Kelly
- Louise Perold
- Chris Blain
- Tim Coulter
- Ilari Aegerter
- Huib Schoots
- Iain McCowatt
- Maria Kedemo
- Erik Brickarp
DG: I’d like to stay local for this answer, and personal. I don’t believe that I can speak for anyone else when calling out the influencers of our craft — it’s a very personal thing. There are a small group of testers who I’m in regular contact with and who influence me, for the better, almost every day (in no particular order):
- Richard Robinson
- Oliver Erlewein
- Aaron Hodder
- Brian Osman
- Katrina Clokie
- Mark Tolfts
- Andrew Dempster
- Alessandra Moreira
- Anne-Marie Charrett
- Dean Mackenzie
- Kim Engel
- Lee Hawkins
These testers all have very different strengths that I call upon often. They are my ultimate ‘test team’ of influencers Downunder. Guess what? There is a bonus. If you come to Let’s Test Oz, you’ll get to meet almost every single one of them!
uTest: Can you give our testers a preview of what to expect at Let’s Test Oz in September?
DG: The best preview anyone could possibly hope for is on our Archive website page. From here, you can access notes for tutorials and sessions, our YouTube channel and other videos from attendees, blog post reviews, pictures, and much more.
What I will say is to come prepared to confer and learn! It’s a retreat-style conference where accommodation and all meals are included, and the evenings are just as valuable as the sessions during the day. We put the confer back into conference!
The 80’s brought with it an incredible range of technology that for better or worse shaped the age we live in now. For this TBT, we’ll be having a quick look at some of the more surreal/novel items that came from the land of neon and synth.
The Private Eye, brought to us by Reflections Technology, allowed the wearer to view a 1-inch LED screen with image quality comparable to a 12-inch display. Released in 1989, the Private Eye head-mounted display was used by hobbyists and researchers alike, going on to become the subject of an augmented reality experiment in 1993. To think that this type of wearable technology has only been tapped into fully within the past 3 years is pretty mind-blowing.
The Stereo Sound Vest provides the wearer with a $65 portable speaker solution to provide a ‘safer’ listening option without the use of headphones. With zip-off sleeves, it’s a wonder this wasn’t all the rage.
This all-in-one player included an AM-FM stereo, microcassette player, recorder-player, calculator, and a digital alarm clock that fit in your hand. This was the Swiss Army knife of media at the time…and boy was it a looker!
What’s your favorite piece of 80s tech nostalgia that you yearn for? Be sure to let us know in the comments.
IT job training non-profit Per Scholas plans to bring 150 new software testing jobs to the Bronx, New York, this Fall when it opens a large software testing center there.
According to a DNAinfo.com news story:
Per Scholas, which is based in The Bronx, and the IT consulting company Doran Jones plan to open the roughly $1 million, three-story, 90,000-square-foot software testing center at 804 E. 138th St., near Willow Avenue.
All of the entry-level jobs will be sourced from Per Scholas graduates, and the boom of 150 new jobs is widely expected to open a lot of doors not usually available in the urban Bronx neighborhood. Keith Klain, co-CEO of Doran Jones, hopes to see the center eventually grow to 500 employees.
As a proud partner of Per Scholas, uTest was there for the groundbreaking of the testing center earlier in 2014, and looks forward to many more lives that we can collectively influence.
Per Scholas is a non-profit with the mission of breaking the cycle of poverty by providing technology education, access, training and job placement services for people in underserved communities.
Health, Apple’s centralized health and fitness hub app, in the initial iOS 8 preview was more of a shell, designed to take in data from third-party providers. In the Beta 3 release, however, it can now track both steps and calories on its own. Additionally, you can measure your caffeine intake as well as monitor a lengthy list of nutritional categories.
The addition of these new features shows Apple’s likely trajectory into the booming fitness app/wearable arena. While in the past they have been content to allow third-party providers handle these services, the new native health and fitness tracking functionality of iOS 8’s Health will force many developers to create value and fill in the gaps around what had been their main offering.
Is Apple encroaching on this fertile app territory the right move?
You can see an expanded list of the new features of iOS 8 beta 3 right here.
Are you more of a visual learner? Perhaps you just don’t have the time to sift through vast chapters of knowledge as a busy tester? Video-based courses at uTest University may just be what you’re looking for. The uTest University library is full of video courses for when you’re on the go, featuring topics including:
- Test Automation (including Selenium basics)
- Capturing logs on iOS/Android devices
- Introductions to iOS and Android testing
- Essentials for well-written bug reports
- Penetration testing
- Common testing mistakes to avoid
Take a look at all of the Video courses at uTest University today.
uTu is free for all members of the uTest Community. We are constantly adding to our course catalog to keep you educated on the latest topics and trends. If you are an expert in UX, load & performance, security, or mobile testing, you can share your expertise with the community by authoring a uTu course. Contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Software testers from all over the world will be descending upon the home of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and more this Fall — it was just announced that STARWEST (Software Testing Analysis & Review West) 2014 will be held at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, Calif., from October 12-17.
STARWEST is billed as the premier event for software testers and quality assurance professionals—covering all your testing needs with 100+ learning and networking opportunities. Applause will be a sponsor of this year’s show once again, so be sure to join us in California for six days of testing fun, networking, courses and seminars. Also be sure to check out the rest of the 2014 testing events on the slate over at the uTest Events Calendar.
We’ve also secured an extra incentive for uTesters heading out to California in October. If you plan on attending STARWEST, please contact us at email@example.com to receive a special discount code for $200 off a new registration.