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uTest Previews uTester of the Year 2014, Launches Community Choice

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 16:00

uTestLogoBlackuTest is proud to preview that its 6th Annual uTester of the Year awards will be announced February 18, 2015.

These by far are the highest distinction a uTester can receive, and are a celebration our top community members of 2014 — for their dedication to quality, helping others in our community, commitment to uTest projects, and excellence in authored content on the uTest site.

Winners will receive a custom uTester of the Year t-shirt and prize pack, and their names will be forever enshrined in our uTest Hall of Fame. We also have a couple of tricks up our sleeve for this edition — we’ll be launching our first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award!

While our Project Managers, Community Managers (and for the first time ever, Test Team Leads) are already busily voting away behind the scenes, we’re happy once again to bring back the Community Choice Award so our uTesters have their say in the process. We’re looking to our community to nominate their rockstar peers for their work in 2014!

If you are already a uTester, get your vote in for the Community Choice Award category for this year’s awards by Friday, Feb. 6. Also, stay tuned for the announcement of the winner, along with all uTesters of the Year for 2014, in our full announcement on Feb. 18.

Good luck!

Categories: Companies

Top 10 In-Demand Careers for 2015 Include Testing

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 16:00

We’ve mentioned before that testers and QA engineers have some of the most job satisfaction out of anyone employed. Now, th7_top_sites_to_find_a_great_nonprofit_job_stk27423sigis already happy bunch may have something to be even happier about.

According to a recent report by Fortune Magazine based on data from job-seeking site Indeed, software quality assurance engineers and testers ranked no. 7 on its list of the top 10 most in-demand jobs for 2015 for US job-seekers.

It’s really a testament to just how hot the mobile app space is right now — and the burgeoning wearables and Internet of Things markets. As you’ll notice from the list below, testing is the only job here that is tech-skewed.

There’s bound to be plenty of opportunities to go around if testers want to make the switch in 2015, with companies itching to get their apps perfected in the hands of their users.

Check out the full report from Fortune Magazine, and the complete list here of the top 10 jobs for the new year.

Top 10 In-Demand Jobs (2015): 

  1. Registered nurses
  2. Truck drivers
  3. Customer service representatives
  4. Sales managers
  5. Sales representatives
  6. First-line supervisors or managers of retail sales workers
  7. Software quality assurance engineers and testers
  8. General and operations managers
  9. Managers (all other)
  10. Accountants and auditors
Categories: Companies

Apple Rolling TestFlight Into iTunes Connect

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 20:35

Apple will be closing its legacy TestFlightApp.com app beta testing site for good on February 26, 2015, moving the service entirely into iTunes Connect, according to TestFlighta report from our friends at ARC.

According to the TestFlight website:

The services offered at TestFlightApp.com will no longer be available after February 26, 2015. To prepare for the TestFlightapp.com closure, developers and team leaders are recommended to transfer their testers to the all-new TestFlight Beta Testing in iTunes Connect.

TestFlight is a free service that allows developers to test apps that have not yet been published on the App Store. Apple acquired the mobile platform just over a year ago, so the news that it’s being rolled into Apple’s portfolio doesn’t come as a huge surprise, but nonetheless could have implications for testers.

Testers — what’s your reaction to the news? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below. 

Categories: Companies

uTest Teams With TestIstanbul, Secures Conference Discount for Community

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 16:30

uTest is excited to announce that it has partnered as a Supportive Organization with TestIstanbul for the 2015 edition of its testing confe2067a79rence.

TestIstanbul is the largest software testing conference in South East Europe and the Middle East, hosting nearly a thousand local and foreign professionals from the software testing realm. The 2015 edition will be hosted, as always, in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 27, 2015.

Sponsored by IBM, this year’s show is themed ‘Performance Testing: High Performance Software Driven by the Business,’ and features sessions on topics including stress and load testing techniques, test tools and implementation, testing in the cloud and practical advice on testing careers.

Keynotes include sessions by Goranka Bjedov (Facebook), Alexander Podelko (Oracle), Martin Spier (Netflix), and Ian Molyneaux (Intechnica).

As a result of our support for the conference, we’ve arranged a special offer to our testing community. uTesters can receive a Super early bird registration fee of 270 Euro + VAT (currently 300 Euro + VAT) for new registrations to the show before Feb. 5, 2015. Email testers@utest.com for this special discount code (limited to the first three uTest community members).

Can’t make TestIstanbul 2015? Be sure to still follow along for updates from the show on Twitter @testistanbul and using #TestIstanbul. In addition to the March conference in Turkey, check out our Events calendar for all upcoming conferences around the world for the rest of 2015!

Categories: Companies

uTest Takes: Best Testing Blogs From the Week of Jan. 23

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 19:52

From time to time, the uTest Blog highlights some of the recent blog entries that uTesters have crafted on their own personal blogs, along with some standouts from the outside testing world.

Here are some such notables from the week of Jan. 23, 2015:

Blogs This Week from uTesters & uTest Contributors
  • Reading Recommendations #2: Continuing on last week’s theme of uTest contributor Daniel Knott’s favorite blogs of recent, he once again put together this list of 7 new blogs. They include topics in areas as diverse as expectations when speaking at conferences to designing products for wearables. One recommendation even includes a recent post from one of our own uTesters about knowing one’s testing profile.
  • Experience is Earned, Expertise is Granted: An ‘Ask the Expert’ interview we ran earlier in the week with Michael Larsen prompted this follow-up blog. It’s a great read and questions the very notion of ‘expert,’ and whether anyone can proclaim themselves as one, or if the moniker has to be imposed from the outside.

Others That Caught Our Eye
  • Introversion, social anxiety, and conferences: This was an honest piece from Hilary Weaver whom we had the pleasure of speaking with at CAST 2014. She touches upon the anxiety of conferences, something that affects a lot of people that aren’t natural extroverts. While you wouldn’t know it from her natural, relaxed interview at CAST last year, I appreciated her views here on something many can identify with when networking with strangers. She also puts out a call to testers to see how they cope with big social testing events.
  • Leveling Up Your Testing Skills: This wasn’t as much a blog as it was the contents of a survey that tester Jeremy Carey-Dressler put together, but it emphasizes an issue that has been hammered lately on the uTest Blog about the lack of ‘passion’ in the community. If testers find themselves not being able to answer a lot of these questions, the survey has proved that point.
  • How to Communicate: Tools of the Trade: Simple but effective post from Seth Eliot that boils down (into a matrix) of how software teams can better manage communication, and which mediums are best for which communications (take note that while he favors meetings, many organizations aren’t holding them for the right…or any…reasons).

Have ideas or blogs of your own that you haven’t yet shared with the world? Become a contributor to the uTest Blog today.

Categories: Companies

10 Tweets About Windows 10

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 21:22

Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled the next big thing in their operating system universe: Windows 10.

You may remember back in September that Windows announced they would go from Windows 8 to Windows 10, and skip right over the number 9. To make this seem like more of a bad math problem, the new Windows 10 fuses some features of Windows 7 and 8.

Confused? Don’t be. We’ve assembled 10 tweets about Windows 10 to help you get a handle on what’s happening.

First build of #Windows10 for the phone coming in February http://t.co/ly0SCYC4L7 pic.twitter.com/fQaKn2FGpw

— The Verge (@verge) January 21, 2015

This is Spartan, Microsoft's new browser to Challenge Google Chrome http://t.co/pO6px1qY1q #windows10 pic.twitter.com/lnwWeupr5u

— The Next Web (@TheNextWeb) January 21, 2015

Office available on Windows phones with #Windows10. Check it out: pic.twitter.com/Jk8f73qkVN

— Mashable Tech (@mashabletech) January 21, 2015

Users Running #Windows 7 or 8.1 Can Upgrade to #Microsoft #Windows10 For Free http://t.co/I0MjPJyeVF pic.twitter.com/SUKOAil7Uf

— Droid Valley (@DroidValley) January 21, 2015

Photo of journalists at the #Windows10 event really sums up the state of Win notebooks at the moment. #nonexistent pic.twitter.com/TA6x30FL9r

— Blaz Umek (@BlazUmek) January 21, 2015

#windows10 #hologram #microsoft http://t.co/mZaXYPD78i

— Mona Münnich (@MonaMunnich) January 21, 2015

.@Microsoft Unveils New Experiences for #Xbox One and #Windows10 Gamers http://t.co/n4LRaMpfJQ via @Xbox Wire

— Colin Masson (@colinmasson) January 21, 2015

multiplayer gaming, The @Xbox experience is coming to #wp10 & #Windows10. pic.twitter.com/nl5qYMrXCC"

— jonny test (@Slimroc007) January 21, 2015

The classroom presentation device of the future may have been announced today by #Microsoft – The Surface Hub http://t.co/w1O7ORYJva

— Rob Johnson (@RJmultimedia) January 21, 2015

Microsoft announces #Surface Hub, hides it in plain sight throughout the event http://t.co/W7L8x8xTBl

— Roman David DeSilva (@MetroHeads) January 21, 2015

Don’t forget to follow @uTest on Twitter to keep up with latest news, project opportunities, and events happening in the uTest Community.

Categories: Companies

Three Reasons Testers Should Test for Opportunities…and Not Bugs

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 16:00

In my opinion, the role of the tester is evolving. When I started testing in 2002, I had no conunnamedtact with the users or developers. As a result, I had a limited view of the system and what it could do. This limited view also translated into what was expected out of me. As a tester, I was supposed to find defects, and that’s what I did.

However, at least for many people, things have changed, and they have changed for good. Testers are often part of an integrated team now and their role is not limited to find defects. They help teams with whatever they can — from clarifying the requirements to streamlining the release process. Whatever it takes to deliver good-quality software, testers are expected to do that.

I believe the role of a tester is evolving from being a bug hunter to an opportunity hunter. As a tester, we hunt for opportunities that:

  1. Make products useful and usable
  2. Improve the efficiency of delivering software
  3. Increase prospects for the business

If I look back at my experience, I am convinced that opportunity hunter defines my role in a much better way. Let me try and expand on all the points I just mentioned.

I hunt for opportunities which make a product useful and usable

As a tester, I always started my testing exercise or project with a few simple questions. Why was this product built? Which problem does it solve and for whom? In which conditions do they use this product? These are simple questions, but they can reveal many interesting pieces of information and give plenty of interesting test ideas. In fact, I created a pause button for testers to ensure that I always start with the right set of questions.

So what are some of the things you can do to make a product more useful? Some of these might help:

  • Understand the domain
  • Speak with various stakeholders
  • Make yourself familiar with the problem a product is solving
  • Understand the context in which the software will be used
  • Speak with users — what are they doing now?

After we are convinced that product is indeed useful and is solving the right problem for the right user, we can move to the next phase. How do we make this product more usable? You can perform activities such as:

  • Testing software and finding defects
  • Testing with realistic data
  • Testing in a production-like environment
  • Testing as a user

Our bug hunter role fits well with this purpose of making a product useful and usable. However, it is good to see that we are expected to contribute much more than ensuring that a product is usable.

I hunt for opportunities which improve the efficiency of delivering software

I think it is a good idea to understand the entire delivery process — from the analysis right down to the production monitoring. A good understanding of various stages, processes and steps will help us in identifying places where things can be improved.

As a responsible team member, our role is to build and release software which meets expectations of our users and stakeholders. If we understand the process, we can identify the bottlenecks and improve.

Some of the things you can do to improve the efficiency of software delivery are:

  • Automating and looking for the right practices based on the context
  • Working with BAs, developers and the entire team to ensure that there is less rework
  • Keeping an eye on the release process, building pipeline to ensure that there are no bottlenecks
  • Working with DevOps to understand monitoring and using the same tools in the test environment

As a tester, if you can identify bottlenecks and improve efficiency of the delivery process, it will help teams understand that testers are not bug hunters, but rather a gatekeeper!

I hunt for opportunities which improve prospects for the business

As an entrepreneur, I cannot stress how useful this is for organizations. Specifically, for startups like mine. It is good to have testers who can make a product useful and usable, and the delivery process efficient. However, it is great to have testers who also understand what makes money for the organization and what will keep it in business. If you are specifically working in a startup, this can be the most useful contribution you make. You can keep the company alive.

Some of the things you can do in order to improve prospects for the business are:

  • Understanding what makes money for the company
  • Keeping key performance indicators for the product and company in mind
  • Having absolute clarity on which product risks are acceptable and which are not by the business
  • Consciously looking for resources which talk about your product, company and competitors
  • Always asking: How does it help the company?

This list is endless. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that testers are not bug hunters or script executors anymore. Often, organizations do not know our true potential and the value we can bring. If people at the top think about us as a bunch of people who test and find defects, we might not get the right recognition and responsibilities. However, if we promote ourselves as a group of people who hunt for opportunities to ensure that businesses remain in business, they will have a very different opinion.

So what do you want to become today - a bug hunter or an opportunity hunter?

Anand Ramdeo is one of the founders of Planned Departure. At Planned Departure, he finds different ways to manage our scatteanandred digital life. Prior to focusing on Planned Departure, Anand worked as an independent consultant in the London, UK and helped organizations such as HMRC, Transport For London, Channel-4, BBC, Amazon, and IBM Rational. He is an active member of the software testing community and blogs frequently at TestingGeek.com. He has also presented at various conferences such as Let’s Test, EuroSTAR, and the Selenium Conference. He can be reached on Twitter @testinggeek or on LinkedIn

Categories: Companies

State of Testing Survey 2015 Opening for Participation

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 18:52

Once again, the team at PractiTest is launching its State of Testing Survey for 2015, bringing together stories aUntitlednd pain points from the testing community around the world.

The 2014 edition of the State of Testing was a rousing success, having garnered over 600 responses. Once again, the study seeks to identify the existing practices and challenges facing the testing community in hopes of shedding light on these issues, and provoking a fruitful discussion towards improvement.

uTest is proud to be a supporter of the third annual survey, along with frequent uTest contributors including Michael Larsen, Stephen Janaway and Daniel Knott.

Join in on the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #StateofTesting, and spread the word through social. Want to be a part of the 2015 story? You can participate yourself tomorrow once the survey goes live. Stay tuned to the uTest Blog as well for a full recap once results have been tallied.

Categories: Companies

uTest Platform Update: New Features for the Week of Jan. 20, 2015

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 16:30
“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

– Steve Jobs

This week, we once again rolled out a bunch of new features for the uTest tester platform. We’ll do our best to live up to Steve Jobs’ quote by constantly rolling out new enhancements, and raising the bar for quality for uTesters on paid projects.

Edit Bugs in More Detail

Testers will now be able to edit bugs in more detail with the ability to change the build that an issue was reported against, and update the environments that were selected when initially reporting the issue. This removes the need for testers to use the +1 feature which was a workaround to confirming their own issues to add this data.

Never Lose a Bug Report Again

From now on when you leave the bug report form in any way, the data you entered will be kept in your local browser storage and will be restored as soon as you go back to the bug report form. This will keep all information except attachments, radio button and dropdown options you had selected. The restoring of an unfinished report even works when you close the browser by accident or have to restart your computer.

Please note that this currently stores only one last entered bug report that you did not submit.

TTL Duplicate Bug Warner

To further improve TTL workflows and reduce the number of duplicates, TTLs will now have a built in duplicate bug warner on each of the bug details views, highlighting related issues that were reported before the issue that is currently being viewed.

As a TTL with recommendation rights or approval rights, when opening bug details pages, an indication of the number of similar issues appears at the bottom right of the bug title (e.g. “5 similar issues”) with an exclamation mark icon in front of it. When clicking that link, the right sidebar expands a duplicate bug warner for TTLs.

 

The TTL with basic rights (recommendation only) sees the +1 icon as well as a gray “forbidden” icon that, when clicked, opens a prefilled “pending rejection” dialog, prefilled with the original bug ID and rejection reason.

As a TTL with approval and rejection rights, you have 2 icons — a red one that triggers the direct rejection dialog prefilled with “rejection” as the reason, and the original bug ID filled in.

As always, if you like what you see, feel free to drop a note in the Forums to share your ideas on these and other recent platform updates. We regularly share these words of encouragement to our developers!

Not yet a uTest community member? Learn more about becoming a uTester, and how to get access to training, discussions and paid testing projects. It’s 100% free to you, and registration takes just seconds.

Categories: Companies

Ask the Expert: Michael Larsen Answers Testing Careers Questions

Tue, 01/20/2015 - 17:28

Michael Larsen is a software tester based out of San Francisco, California. Michael started his pursuit of software testing full-time at Cisco Systems in 1992. After a picture-87071-1360261260decade at Cisco, he’s worked with a broad array of technologies and in industries including virtual machine software, video game development and distributed database and web applications.

Michael is a member of the Board of Directors for the Association for Software Testing, the producer of and a regular commentator for the SoftwareTestPro.com podcast “This Week in Software Testing,” and a founding member of the “Americas” Chapter of “Weekend Testing.” Michael also blogs at TESTHEAD and can be reached on Twitter at @mkltesthead.

In our first Meet the Expert piece, Michael fields questions from uTesters and gives advice on career success in testing.

Is there anything you feel was key for your career success (i.e. was there a thing you did — or still do — that you’re willing to single out as the biggest contributing factor)? Why have all of us have heard of you but not your fellow testers from Cisco? - Milos Dedijer

Michael Larsen: First of all, I think it’s important to realize that just because you have heard of me, it does not speak to the skills (positive or negative) of many of my testing compatriots at Cisco Systems. The reason you have heard of me is that I have made a point of becoming broadly involved in the software testing community. Six years ago, you would not have heard of me either, because I had not made the decision to engage in that manner.

If I had to say what the one thing was that I did to make for a successful career (and to be truthful, I have had more career-specific success in the past six years than I had in the previous sixteen), my blog was a big catalyst for this, as was getting involved in speaking, local meetups, and volunteer initiatives like Weekend Testing and the Association for Software Testing. These all need to be taken cumulatively, but they all stem from the decision to actively become an advocate for better software testing practice and education.

When a tester is looking for a new testing job, which aspects of a perspective company or role are most important, for testers specifically, to consider? - Lucas Dargis 

ML: I think the most important thing any tester can do is ask the company what their vision of software testing actually is, and how they can best help that organization meet its objectives. Too many people in too many careers focus on the job description, the pay, the perks, and not enough on “what problem can I solve for this company?”

Additionally, I would encourage anyone looking to work at any job to see which opportunities to “stretch” are available. If everything is comfortable and there is little to learn in the opportunity, I would consider that a warning sign that you may become bored there over time. I’d also counsel against too great a number of stretches. It can point to you not being a good fit for them.

What do you look for on a resume — both things that you want to see and don’t want to see from prospective candidates? How limited is someone with little to no automated testing experience? - John Schultz and Anshuman Tomar    

ML: The first thing I want to see is a variety of experiences. I want to see that someone is curious and wants to learn as much as possible and apply what they learn. This is why, truthfully, I do not look at their resume as much as I try to see if there are other aspects of their testing life I can observe.

As to automated testing experience, if we are looking for a toolsmith, then yes, it matters a great deal. If we are looking for someone who excels in exploratory testing or has experience with a particular product, then it’s not as critical to me.

Personally, I want to know more about what you’ve done with your programming skills and how they have informed your testing than just “I’ve used Cucumber to automate tests” (or fill in the blank with the technology and medium). I also look to see if any applicants have customer support experience. Truth be told, some of my best testing finds over the years have come from the customer support arena!

I would like to get your take on the relatively flat hierarchy that I usually see in QA or test departments, where most testers report to someone who may be a test lead, QA manager, etc. Does it mean anything if a tester has been at a job for 3, 5 or 10 years and they haven’t moved up the org chart? – John Schultz

ML: I think it depends a lot on what you want to accomplish in your career. Do you want to develop technical skills and be valued for those? Do you want to lead people? Do you want to manage people? Personally, I’ve been very content to lead projects and teams without needing to have the moniker of “manager” or “director” applied to me. Because of that, I’ve typically been an individual contributor on teams, or a team lead.

I think the more important question is, “What does moving up look like to you?” If it is holding an executive position in an organization, then that is something you need to make clear from the outset. Set goals to lead, actively court opportunities to manage teams, and then leverage those opportunities. If your goal is to be a solid technical contributor, then make that clear as well.

You may find, to get the results you are seeking, that you need to make some lateral jumps to different organizations within your company, or to other companies. Regardless of what you choose to do, or how you do it, remember that the curation of your career is 100% your own responsibility. Do not wait for others to recognize your skills or talents.

Be sure to also check out some of Michael’s other contributions to the uTest Blog.

Categories: Companies

uTest Platform Update: New Features and Enhancements Including +1 Version Two

Fri, 01/16/2015 - 16:30
uTestLogoBlack“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.”

– John Ruskin

A bunch of new features — and enhancements to existing ones — were rolled out this week to the tester platform for uTesters on paid projects. Here’s a preview of what was deployed this week.

+1 Feature V2

To further encourage use of the +1 feature, we have added the ability to +1 an issue directly from within the issues list and the duplicate bug warn feature.

Whenever you attempt to report a new issue and find out it is not unique via the duplicate bug warner, you can now click a +1 icon to confirm any of the referenced issues, without even leaving the issue report form.

The same feature is embedded in the issues list. When you hover your mouse over a row in the issues list, the number of testers that reproduced an issue is replaced with the +1 icon. When clicked, you can directly confirm an issue without having to navigate into the issue details page. This works hand in hand with the issue preview that you can trigger by hovering your mouse over the small magnifying glass in front of the issue title.

Environment Details

Previously, the community reproductions widget and the issue details listed the environment details in a rather verbose manner. Since this data was only used in a minority of projects, we have changed the rendering of environments so that they now focus on showing the most important aspects: device maker, model, operating system and web browser. This makes it even easier to see if an issue is happening on any of the environments you have available, and gets rid of the “Webcam – Speaker – Headset – Antivirus – Firewall” we saw before.

Rejection Reason in Issue List

To allow TTLs and testers better insights into why issues are being rejected, you can now see the rejection reason as a short code in the issues list. For example, something rejected as “Works as Designed” will show up as “Rejected (WAD).” This will allow you to understand much faster that the customer might be looking for something else in your testing and you can align your testing approach with their needs.

Role Identification

We want to make sure you know who you are talking to when someone writes a comment on any of your issues or test cases. We already improved chat to give you some insights into user roles, but we’re now taking this one step further.

When you view the tester messenger, customer notes or statuses such as ‘Info Requested’ on the dashboard, in issue details pages and test case details pages, you will now see one of the following roles indicating who posted the message or changed your issue status:

  • Tester
  • TTL (Test Team Lead)
  • PM (Applause Project Manager)
  • TM (Test Manager – this is the Customer)

We are hoping this will further highlight that you are exposed to customers in all your communication and that you are well aware who is contacting you. Of course we expect that you treat everyone with respect and communicate professionally.

A step towards greater fairness for the community

We want to make sure that you are treated fairly by our TTLs, PMs and customers. To help achieve this goal, we are putting more weight into the decisions that TTLs make in an effort to help our new customers understand how issue reports could and should be valued.

We trust our TTLs to make this call as they are most connected with the community (you), have a great understanding of the effort that goes into each of your reports, and know just how hard it is to find that critical flaw in an application that already has been tested over and over again.

With this week’s release, all TTLs will be able to suggest a value tier for your issue reports when recommending them and will also be able to suggest a specific rejection reason. This will help guide customers to choose the right Approval and Rejection reasons which are tied to various rating impacts and payouts.

This will not replace the ability of a customer to clearly tell you that the issues you are currently looking for are not very valuable to them. However, it will help guide customers in the right direction when they are unsure about their testing focus themselves or the instructions were not specific enough.

If you like what you see, feel free to drop a note in the Forums to share your ideas on these and other recent platform updates. We regularly share these words of encouragement with our developers!

Not yet a uTest community member? Learn more about becoming a uTester, and how to get access to training, discussions and paid testing projects. It’s 100% free to you, and registration takes just seconds.

Categories: Companies

uTest 2014: A Year in Review

Thu, 01/15/2015 - 14:45

The uTest community surpassed some amazing milestones in 2014, and our testers did some amazing things. From site features such as the Paid Projects Board and Public Profile, to huge community growth, to tester payouts, we hit records across the board. Check out the highlights of our landmark year in the following infographic.

uTest2014_Infographic (1)

Categories: Companies

uTest Takes: The Best Testing Blogs From the Week

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 21:56

We publish a lot of content here at uTest not only on our Blog (which you have the distinct pleasure of now reading), but in our Forums and uTest Universityimages as well. But there’s also a lot of great content out there that catches our eye on a daily basis.

From time to time, the uTest Blog will highlight some of the recent blog entries that uTesters have crafted on their own personal blogs, along with some standouts from the outside testing world.

Here’s some of our favorites from the most recent week.

Blogs This Week from uTesters & uTest Contributors
  • Reading Recommendations #1: Frequent uTest contributor Daniel Knott put together a nice list of his own personal recommended blogs of late, including those in areas such as exploratory testing, effective communication for testers, and test automation.
  • 2014 Year in Review: If you’ve spent any time at uTest, you know Lucas Dargis. He’s mentored countless amounts of testers in our Forums, uTest University, and on our Blog. On his own blog, he recently recapped his 2014 in our community — it was a busy and productive one.
  • Book Review: Design Accessible Websites: Accessibility Testing is a topic that gets covered from time to time on the uTest Blog because we know it’s an under-loved area, yet one of the most important tasks that developers and product managers overlook. Frequent uTest contributor Michael Larsen last week put together this nice review of a book that focuses on just this topic.
Other Blogs That Caught Our Eye
  • A Rant: QA Can’t Code: Who said coding was just reserved for developers? This is a nice (brief) post that sums up the notion that in an agile world, “every member is responsible for every stage of the development process in one capacity or another.” Oh yeah. And at the end of the post, you can even buy a t-shirt of the message “QA Can’t Code.” Great blog. My only gripe/suggestion is that the shirt almost admits to the statement. I’d add a question mark, and maybe a challenge/response of “Think Again.”
  • Ill Communication: Other than having the name of one of my favorite Beastie Boys albums, this standout post examines sound advice for not only testers (especially when communicating with devs), but for anyone. In short, testers may be finding themselves in a never-ending circular conversation because they aren’t going into the discussion with the right intentions.

Are you a regular reader of testing blogs? Let us know what you’ve been reading as well in our ongoing discussion over at the uTest Forums

Categories: Companies

STPCon Announces Spring 2015 Show Dates and Workshop Schedule

Tue, 01/13/2015 - 16:15

The Software Test Professionals Conference (STPCon) recently announced that their Spring 2015 show will take place from March 30 tSTPCONS15-LOGO1o April 2 in San Diego, California, and also unveiled a taste of the two days of workshops being offered at the conference.

STPCon is widely known as a leading conference for networking and education where testers can hear industry speakers such as Dave Haeffner, Joseph Ours and Christin Wiedemann.

Billed as “a program designed by testers for testers,” the full event schedule looks packed with lots of tester and developer offerings starting with an application performance clinic by Andreas Grabner on March 29. The opening event is BYOA (Bring Your Own Application) and will feature hands-on instruction.

Sweet: @grabnerandi leading a free "Application Performance Clinic" before #STPCon on 3/29 – http://t.co/8jEQkMKJhG (reg required)

— SoftwareTestPro (@SoftwareTestPro) January 12, 2015

Don’t forget to register for the conference before February 20 for early bird pricing starting at $995.

You can follow STP on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to keep up with the latest show updates. To see what other events are upcoming in the software testing world including STARWEST and CAST, make sure to check out our Events Calendar.

Categories: Companies

Know Yourself And Find Your Testing Profile

Mon, 01/12/2015 - 16:30

We live in a world of diversity. Everything around us exhibits multiple shapes, colors and textures. Looking at ourselves, we can see how dindexifferent factors, ranging from genetics to environment, ultimately will determine who we will be. It is this very diversity, far from being a threat, that enriches us, allowing for opportunities in a market where specificity plays a major role.

Similarly to how personal traits, experiences and acquired skills incline us to embrace a certain profession, our potentialities can be fully deployed when a career profile is wisely chosen.

Every job in QA demands a series of skills and traits common to the area. Finding our place means discovering ourselves to better fit in the landscape. In some of these roles, analytical abilities are most important, while interpersonal skills are emphasized in others. So what should we look out for? The following list, while not prescriptive, may help clarify several aspects normally needed.

Productivity

To better understand productivity, let’s set the stage with a practical case borrowed from testing: There are testers who can correctly report a great deal of low-to-medium-impact findings in very little time. On the other hand, there are those who, even when submitting substantially fewer issues, can yield similar value through the discovery of anomalies only visible to them.

Such situations frequently arise from the combination of uncommon scenarios, and would spell serious trouble in a production environment. Therefore, there is no single answer to what is meant by productivity. In any case, careful consideration of our capabilities is needed to provide the customer and the workgroup with best results for the given timeframe.

Critical Thinking

Thoughtful analysis is key for whatever QA activities we perform, and this implies a questioning type. Nothing is taken for granted, and everything is worked out. Creativity and originality are also fundamental in this respect, and contribute to foresee any unlikely circumstances.

Critical thinking may also find its way through strategy. In testing, for instance, strategy is mandatory when picking a subset of tests and data to execute from a wide array of possibilities. Effective use of ever-limited resources imposes mental clarity for defining priorities.

Organization

Organization and discipline are always crucial — not only for setting objectives and writing plans, but also for defining tests, their order of execution, dependencies, and environment preparation. This leads to work being conceived and carried out logically and step-by-step. Quality can never stem from haphazard or uncoordinated actions.

Pragmatism

Organization should not translate into hindered tasks, bureaucracy or excessive formalism. Pragmatism and even intuition also deserve a place, whether innate or learned through experience. These aspects become outright valuable in relatively open activities, where the practitioner’s freedom and discretion are larger. Such is the case with exploratory or guideline-based testing.

Attention to Detail

Sharpness, concentration and memory set aside the watcher from the mere spectator, and allow detection of potential or actual errors, which sometimes show only the tip of the iceberg. Apart from that, not all findings originate in a particular action, but may turn up as a result of relatively long or complex sequences. In such a context, the QA professional must be alert and on the lookout until getting the maximum expression of an issue.

Communication

Nowadays, in fields such as software construction, customization or deployment, where complexity is vast and work is performed by teams, it does not seem likely to find someone in QA doing anything in complete isolation. Furthermore, such teams are spread more and more often all around the world. Different cultures and languages converge in a single workplace.

Spoken and written communication skills are therefore pushed to their limits while having to exercise them in a global environment. Facing the customer, communication demands empathy and the ability to “change hats,” to feel and think like someone else to interpret and satisfy their needs.

Character

Communication also takes on specific forms depending on character and situations which put us to the test. Dealing with peers and superiors within a company or with clients and other stakeholders outside always means care and elegance, balance and moderation, tolerance and goodwill. In this respect, relevance is peak when the parts’ interests are not pointing in the same direction.

For instance, finding multiple flaws in an application may be desirable for a tester, but not for a developer. Different tensions and misunderstandings tend to appear in that picture. Being like that, some effort must be consciously put in to uphold work products in a confident but also respectful and sympathetic way.

Motivation

In time, careers go through varied circumstances which face us with our deepest emotions. Achievements and advancements are easily counterbalanced by occasional setbacks and frustrations, so without determination, even the most brilliant tester may not be able to adequately develop a professional path. Here, perseverance and resilience should get focus to keep us on the road. Firm self-esteem, without either false modesty nor arrogance, is hence of utmost importance.

In management positions, such as Project Manager, QA Manager or Test Manager, the aforementioned cannot be overemphasized. These people must be capable of feeling enthusiasm even in hard times, and to lead and convey it to their staff while presenting facts in a positive light.

Preferences

Natural inclinations and usual ways of working also play a role. A typical example may be viewed regarding two distinct areas: technology and methodology. Neither of them exist independently of the other, and moreover, both are necessary. Technology without purpose and methodological focus becomes useless. On the other hand, methodology which is not helped by technology becomes hampered.

But whereas technology-oriented work, with its innovations, rapid pace and growing complexity will appeal to the restless, methodology-biased jobs will be favored for those who feel comfortable in a more stable context. Some activities, such as those of management, will require a well-balanced candidate, with a solid grasp of both aspects.

As can be seen, different profiles demand diverse skills and abilities. To fit in one of them, we must know our resources, disposition and constraints; we must be aware of the way and proportion in which they mix. After all, getting to know ourselves is the first but most important step we can take to elevate our careers to the highest level of excellence.

Horacio Luz Clara is a Gold-rated tester on paid projects at uTest, and a software quality assurance university teacher and freelance test engineer. He also acts as a contributor and reviewer for the IT Quality Committee at IRAM (Instituto Argentino de Normalización).  Horacio finds great pleasure in the pursuit of excellence, from start to finish, which he tries to live by and convey in his profession. You can connect with Horacio on LinkedIn.

Be sure to also check out our recent course on further Tips for QA Career Success at uTest University.

Categories: Companies

Olympics Fever Has Us Wondering: What Would a ‘Testing’ Olympics Look Like?

Fri, 01/09/2015 - 22:57

Boston2024_LogoIt was just announced yesterday that the US bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics was awarded to Boston, beating out other bids from Washington, DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Many in Boston are dreading the logistical nightmare of an Olympics built around a 1600’s era, Pilgrim-founded roadmap that confuses even people that live in Boston. However, we here at uTest have Olympics Fever from the prospect of the 2024 Games being in such close proximity to our headquarters, which got us wondering: What would a testing-themed Olympics Games consist of?

Here are a few events we proposed could actually take place during the ‘Testing Olympics':

  • Spear-throwing for bugs: Tester-athletes would be armed with spears, chucking them at targets of bug classics, including “Heartbleed”
  • Usability Testing…With Trampolines: Testers of various strengths and sizes would put their jumping abilities to the test…along with their usability testing skills…by testing out the weight and build quality of new-to-market trampolines
  • Greco-Roman Wrestling…With Developers: Testers would be able to take out their pent-up frustrations with developers by wrestling them Greco-Roman-style for Gold and glory

Which event would you want to see most at an Olympics comprised of tester-athletes?

Categories: Companies

uTest in January 2015: The Return of Mentoring, New Contest, Rising Stars

Fri, 01/09/2015 - 18:26

Fresh off the holidays and a very Happy New Year, the uTest Community team is feeling refreshed. And because we’re feeling that ruTestLogoBlackefreshed, there is a lot we’re launching this month.

Here’s a look at a bunch of programs just kicking off this week here at uTest.

A.C.E. Testing Mentoring Program Returns

We’re proud to announce that our A.C.E. (Assisted Continuing Education) software testing mentoring program is returning for 2015!

You may remember that the program was launched to help testers, whether beginners to software testing or in need of a refresher on core concepts, build a solid foundation of testing education to help achieve professional success and grow in their testing careers. This is achieved through various course modules, each geared to the software testing professional at various stages of his or her career.

We’re currently crowdsourcing which courses you want to see next as part of the program, so voice your opinion today.

January Contest: A Contest Within a Contest

Yes, you heard that right. We pulled off some Inception-style stuff right there. This month’s community contest asks our testers to come up with their best testing-themed contest ideas. Not only will the winning idea net one of our uTesters $200 in cold, hard cash, but it will be implemented as our next contest!

Rising Stars for January 2015

We launched our Rising Star program last month with the stated goal of recognizing uTesters that have joined our community in the past two months, and have shown that they are on their way to becoming testing rock stars. We looked at how uTesters performed in test cycles and how they engage with the community when we considered potential candidates.

We’re proud to announce the folks for January 2015 that are making the biggest impact in our community in a very short amount of time:

A New Moderator Team @ the uTest Forums

And last but not least, we recently welcomed our brand-spankin’-new moderator team for Q1 of 2015 to the uTest Forums!

These folks were chosen by the uTest CM team and their moderator counterparts from the previous quarter for their leadership and already-stellar contributions to Forums discussions. They’ll be here to keep the uTest Forums the liveliest and most engaging place on the planet for QA and testing professionals to connect! Stop by and welcome them, and check out one of their discussions today.

Stop by our uTest Forums today to participate in one of the programs, or say congratulations to our community rockstars and new moderators. Not a uTester but a software tester intrigued by these programs? Learn more and get access to 100% free courses, networking, the latest news and trends, and the opportunity to work on paid testing projects with customers from all over the globe. 

Categories: Companies

CAST Dates Announced, Keynotes Featured from 2014 Edition

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 22:28

As you may remember, uTest attended the 9th Annual CAST (hosted by the Association for Software Testing) in NYC this past summer for the first time, live blogging from the show and sitting down with some influential folks in the context-driven testing community.

CAST just recently unveiled its dates for the 2015 edition of the show, which will be held August 3-5, in Grand Rapids, Mich. According to AST, “at our 10th CAST, in 2015, speakers will be presenting stories, workshops and tutorials regarding their experiences surrounding how to advance software testing.” With this background, this year’s CAST is fittingly dubbed “Moving Testing Forward.” Additionally, the call is out for participants for 2015.

While uTest will be covering CAST at some capacity on the Blog this summer, in the meantime, check out all of the keynotes from the show below (including lively and humor-infused presentations from James Bach and Ben Simo).

Matthew Heusser: Software Testing State of the Practice (And Art! And Science!)

James Bach: Test Cases are Not Testing: Toward a Performance Culture

 Carol Strohecker: STEM to STEAM Advocacy to Curricula

Trish Khoo: Scaling up with Embedded Testing

Ben Simo: There Was Not a Breach; There Was a Blog

Categories: Companies

uTest 2014: A Year in Review

Wed, 01/07/2015 - 16:30
The year 2014 was a landmark for our 6 1/2-year-old community.uTestLogoBlack

In May, when uTest as a company rebranded to Applause, the uTest brand lived on…in a big way.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before we get into the biggest news for our community in 2014, let’s take a look at some major milestones hit over the past year.

uTest: By the Numbers

uTest grew exponentially in 2014 both in tester headcount and in the number of learning opportunities within the community. Some major numbers were surpassed:

  • 150,000: The milestone surpassed in the number of testers in our community — this YoY increase was more than 50% vs. 2013
  • 20,000+: The number of testers joining uTest from TestHub of Germany
  • 300+: The number of blog posts at uTest
  • 70+: The number of new uTest University courses
  • 115+: The number of tool reviews in our Tool Reviews library
The Professional Network for Testers

Helping spur this incredible growth in our community was arguably the biggest news of 2014 — uTest’s rebirth as the ‘professional network for testers.’

We launched the new uTest in May of 2014 as a massive, open community existing solely to promote and advance the testing profession, and the people who do this vital work. What LinkedIn is to job-seeking professionals, uTest is to testing professionals.

And through two iterations of the uTest.com website, we’re closer to making that a reality with several features launched in 2014 not limited to:

  • uTest Blog: With over 300 posts in 2014, our Blog was home to interviews with testing giants including James Bach and Lisa Crispin, interesting presentations, contests, and practical advice for bolstering testers’ careers
  • uTest University: Over 70 courses were launched this year, from topics as diverse as Exploratory Testing to everything a tester needs to know about Android Lollipop
  • Tool Reviews: With over 115 tools in our library, testers can find everything they need to get their jobs done, and see feedback on which ones won the praise — or ire — of their peers
  • Public Profile: The social link between all peers in the uTest community — With one click, your peers can follow and receive updates every time uTesters post a new comment, pen a blog post or University course, or review a new tool. For example you could follow me on my public profile, and help make me famous!
  • Leaderboard: Who are the most influential testers in the community? This leaderboard was designed with the intent of showing who’s contributing most to uTest discussions, blogs, courses and more
  • Projects Board: Launched to streamline the search and application process, and easily call out which opportunities are most urgent for our testers on paid projects
  • Events: For the first time ever in our community, we were proud to offer uTesters exclusive discounts to major testing events including Let’s Test Oz, UCAAT, SQTM, STARWest, and STPcon
uTest Paid Projects: By the Numbers

uTest has also been the best place on the planet for anyone in the testing space to find paid projects. That still remains true — and did remain true in 2014. Here’s the proof in the numbers:

  • $10 million+: Amount paid to testers in 2014, up over 60% from 2013
  • $1 million: We hit our first million month in tester payouts – and then repeated it and blew well beyond this threshold in the 2nd half of 2014
  • 19,000: The number of test cycles ran for testers on paid projects
  • 50+: The number of vetted, trained experts has more than doubled in 2014, with new members of our Security, Load, Usability & Automation sub-communities
Major Advances to the Tester Platform

As many of our testers earn a living through these paid projects and full-time testers moonlight on the side, uTesters rely on our testing platform to make their jobs…and their lives…easier when working with our customers.

We’re happy to say that 2014 was a year of epic proportions for the tester platform with tons of new functionality added in order to drive the needle in our continuous pursuit of quality (and just make it an enjoyable experience overall). Long-time Gold-rated Functional and Security uTester Alexander Waldmann was welcomed to the Applause Product Team to help make a lot of these changes happen:

New Recognition Programs

Long-time uTesters may already be familiar with our most prestigious awards our testers can receive — the uTester of the Year Awards. And 2014 was no different, as our 5th Annual awards were announced in February, with Romulo BM De Oliveira taking home top honors amongst another rock-solid group of testers.

While uTester of the Year is no doubt the highest distinction our community members can receive, we here at uTest identified that once a year was just not enough to recognize all of the hard and impactful work going on everyday. Therefore, we launched Tester of the Quarter, a quarterly program recognizing and awarding the rock stars of our global community. Additionally, unlike uTester of the Year, the program is 100% by the testers for the testers.

In conjunction with this launch, Tester of the Quarter and uTesters of the Year were made part of a recognition hub for all uTest awards programs. The uTest Hall of Fame was launched, honoring the top testers in our community from 2009 through present.

Finally, uTest introduced monthly Rising Stars to showcase some of the quiet testers on the rise at uTest, based on quantitative data examining performance in test cycles and engagement with the community.

Big-Stakes Contests

We not only recognized uTesters with fame and the allure of forever being immortalized on our website…we recognized them with cold, hard cash, too.

The year 2014 featured some of our highest payouts ever for intense competition in our contests. They included the return of the Summer Bug Battle, uTest’s first in over four years, in which winners took home $1000 in prizes.

Other notables from 2014 included the lighthearted in our Best Testing Desktop photo competition and a testing Haiku showdown, to some of our most competitive and high-stakes contests ever ran — Ideal Testing Tool and a Best Testing Careers Content contest that netted our testers $1000 and $250, respectively.

Career Mentoring Program Launched

A first for uTest this past year, the testing career mentoring program A.C.E. (Assisted Continuing Education) piloted in its beta form for our community.

The program was designed to help testers, whether beginners to software testing or in need of a refresher on core concepts, build a solid foundation of testing education to help achieve professional success and grow in their testing careers.

New Faces in Community Management

The uTest Community Management team also saw four new faces join the team in 2014. Andrew Takahashi and Linda Frembes joined Ryan and Jessica at our uTest home base, while Sue Brown and Nico Grieger became our first CM team members in the United States West Coast and Berlin, Germany, offices, respectively.

And a Bittersweet Departure from CM

But it was also a bittersweet time for CM, as our fearless leader, Peter Shih, transitioned to a different role within Applause after 5 1/2 years of dedication to the uTest Community.

However, in December, a familiar face to us in Matt Solar joined us as our Director of Community. Matt has been with Applause for 4 1/2 years, so he is already quite familiar with our great community, so we are sure it will be a seamless transition!

What’s Next?

We’re going on 7 years here at uTest, but we’re just beginning to push the envelope in terms of what testers can expect in 2015.

From continued functionality being added to the tester platform and uTest.com to make testers more productive, to new opportunities for learning and earning money, we’ve got a lot in store for you as we continue uTest into 2015 and beyond as the Professional Network for Testers.

Stay for the ride, and let us know what features you’d like to see at uTest in 2015.

Categories: Companies

uTest Announces Winner of QA Career Advice Contest

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 22:09

As you may remember, we kicked off a contest last month via the uTest Forums in search of your best software QA and software testing career advice. We enlisted the help of guest judge Rob Lambert, Engineering Manager and author of the book “Remaining Relevant,” to award a $250 cash prize to the best entry. Rob had the fun-but-arduous task of reviewing all of the entries submitted by our global community of uTesters. Winner stamp

I’m happy to announce the winner of our QA/Software Testing Career Advice contest is Jennifer Kitzmann, who authored Four Tips for QA Career Success. Rob chose this winning entry because “the answers were based on working out what your goals and expectations were rather than just what technique or test approach to employ. I liked it a lot, and I believe people new to testing would benefit from understanding these ideas and then going away and working out how to put them in to daily practice,” he said.

Honorable mentions go to Ekaterina Gorodyanskaya whose entry compared software testing to role-playing games, Horacio Luz Clara who wrote about knowing yourself and finding your QA profile, and John Schultz, whose entry gives advice about asking the community and seeking help.

Please join me in congratulating Jennifer on her winning entry and to Ekaterina, Horacio and John for their honorable mentions!

Categories: Companies