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The New Testers: Critical Skills and Capabilities to Deliver Quality at Speed

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This isn’t your parent’s generation of computers and interaction, and the speed of change is only going to accelerate going forward. Software development, and software testing, is undergoing a radical change, but while organizations have embraced the idea of changes in development and delivery, why are we still looking at old, so called “best practices” in software testing as though we’re still testing the software the previous generation wrote?

In this talk, I will discuss a variety of ways that testing is moving ahead and proving to be just as relevant as it ever has, and how we can equip the next generation of software testers. Through initiatives like SummerQAmp, PerScholas, Weekend Testing and other environments aimed at delivering hands on, real world skills to up and coming testers. Emphasis on rapid learning, direct peer communication, and an emphasis on heuristics and their application can give that edge to new testers, and could also help spark creativity and curiosity in established testers, too.

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The New Testers: Critical Skills and Capabilities to Deliver Quality at Speed

  1. 1. Sponsored by
  2. 2. The New Testers: Critical Skills and Capabilities to Deliver Quality at Speed Michael Larsen Sr. Q.A. Engineer (SoftwareTester) Socialtext Blog: http://mkltesthead.com Twitter: @mkltesthead
  3. 3. Speaker Bio Michael Larsen is a Senior Quality Assurance Engineer with Socialtext in Palo Alto, California, USA. Over the past two decades, he has been involved in software testing for a range of products and industries, including network routers & switches, virtual machines, capacitance touch devices, video games, and client/server, distributed database & web applications. Michael is a Black Belt in the Miagi-Do School of SoftwareTesting, a founder and facilitator of the Americas chapter of Weekend Testing, Chair of the Education Special Interest Group with the Association for SoftwareTesting (AST), a lead instructor of the Black Box SoftwareTesting courses through AST, and curator of training materials for SummerQAmp. Michael writes the TESTHEAD blog (http://mkltesthead.com) and can be found onTwitter at @mkltesthead. A list of books, articles, papers, and presentations can be seen at http://www.linkedin.com/in/mkltesthead
  4. 4. In This Session, You’ll Learn… • A variety of ways that testing is moving ahead, and proving to be just as relevant as it ever has, and how we can equip the next generation of software testers. • Through initiatives like SummerQAmp, PerScholas,WeekendTesting and other environments aimed at delivering hands on, real world skills to up and coming testers. • Emphasis on rapid learning, direct peer communication, and an emphasis on heuristics and their application can give that edge to new testers, and could also help spark creativity and curiosity in established testers, too.
  5. 5. What’s wrong With The “Old Testers”?
  6. 6. What’s Wrong with the "Old Testers"? • Heavy Process, Heavy Scripting • Over dependence and belief in the capabilities of Automation • Regulated Processes where Regulated Processes are not needed • A false belief in the power and effectiveness of “certifications” that don’t actually focus on developing skills
  7. 7. What Will the New Testers bring to the Table? • “SapientTesting” – James Bach • Advocates for Issues – what’s more important, lots of bugs, or the championing of important bugs that actually get fixed?
  8. 8. – NewTesters don’t want to prove the software works.They want to find how it is broken
  9. 9. –NewTesters are not Bug Shields, they are Beat Reporters
  10. 10. –NewTesters deliver and tell the story of your product “What is the most terrifying headline about your company you could imagine seeing in the newspaper? Wouldn’t you want your testers to not only find out that terrifying headline, but inform you so that you could prevent it from ever appearing?” --Elisabeth Hendrickson, “Explore It!”
  11. 11. A focus on both the Scientific And Socratic Methods – NewTesters are Scientists – NewTesters are Philosophers – NewTesters are Skeptics
  12. 12. Where can I find these New Testers? • Computer Science departments at universities – Testers are coming into their own – Not content to be also ran programmers – Don’t consider testing a consolation prize, recruit testers for testing on its own merits
  13. 13. – Don’t assume good tester == good programmer. – It might, but the best testing skills often fall outside of any programming discipline
  14. 14. Other University Majors and Professions – Humanities – Journalism – Customer Support Representatives – Psychologists – Scientists
  15. 15. Who is Training these New Testers? • SummerQAmp – Program in conjunction with SummerJobs+ program – Working with 16-24 year olds w/ an emphasis on software testing skills – Published curricula focusing on scientific method, testing skills, bug reporting & advocacy, SDLC/STLC, context, bi as & debiasing and software/web skills.
  16. 16. • PerScholas – Mission: Break the cycle of poverty by providing technology education, access, training and job placement services for people in underserved communities. – Early pioneer in bridging the digital divide for families and children in the South Bronx – operate the largest and oldest professional IT workforce development program in NewYork City, now embarked on an ambitious national expansion.
  17. 17. • WeekendTesting – Worldwide gathering of skilled software testing crafts-persons – Commitment to teaching, learning and facilitating – Chapters all over the world (India, Europe,Australia/New Zealand,Americas) – An easily transportable model to your organization
  18. 18. • Miagi-do School of SoftwareTesting – Zero profit mentoring and development program – Focused on testing challenges, skills development and community engagement – Small group mentoring dedicated to bringing out the best in the software testing community
  19. 19. The Specialists • The Explorers • The PerformanceTweakers • TheToolsmiths (automation,CI, deployment tools, etc) • The Evil Masterminds (Security) • The Humanists (human factors, usability) • The Storytellers • The Mentors
  20. 20. • less scripting, more active thinking • less checking, more real testing • less blind faith, more scientific skepticism • creative, inventive, intuitive, mindful
  21. 21. Summary • The future is now, and I can introduce you to hundreds of them • better yet, why not come join us and see for yourself? – SummerQAmp: http://www.SummerQAmp.org/ – PerScholas: http://PerScholas.org/ – WeekendTesting: http://weekendtesting.com/ – Miagi-do: http://miagido.org/blog/
  22. 22. Any questions?

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