Monday, December 19, 2016

How I Fell into Testing

Let me tell you the story of how I became a tester. To be honest: That I could do something like that never occurred to me until I actually did it.

If you had asked me as a child what I want to be when I've grown up, I would have told you something like robber's daughter, or artist, or that I simply could not imagine how it would be like as a grown-up.

If you had asked me as a teenager what I'm planning to do for a living, I would have told you that I really don't know. That we did some tests at school to identify our strengths and potentially fitting jobs; but they weren't quite helpful. That maybe teaching art might be awesome.

If you had asked me as a university student why I selected sinology as my major subject and what I wanted to do with it afterwards, I would have told you that I chose it purely out of interest. The point was that I always knew that I wanted to go to university, but I simply could not imagine which profession I wanted to pursue later. Side jobs only showed me what I did not want to do. As I was aiming for a liberal arts oriented degree, I would be a lateral recruit in any case so I would have to learn on the job.

Then the time came to select the topic for my master thesis. And I suddenly had a "crazy" idea: Let's combine it with a topic I love! I was quite surprised that my professor accepted when I told him that I want to write about computer games in China. But great, that worked out!

When I finally received my master's degree and I started searching for a job I thought: Why not take that further? When I could write about computer games, then what if I tried to get a job in the games industry? If not now, when then? Lucky me, I was hired by a small startup developing AI middleware for computer game developers. What a fascinating topic to work on! And no, I didn't apply as a tester. I did not yet think of that. Instead, I started as game designer. I honestly don't know how I got this chance without having any experience in this area, except for my passion for computer games, but it was one of those turning points in life. And my first contact with software development.

So how did I finally fall into testing, then? Well, the former tester quit his job one year after I started - and my boss offered me his position, telling me in the same breath that I wasn't so good as game designer after all; but that testing would fit me perfectly. I was shocked. My bubble had suddenly burst. And then I decided to give it a try and become the tester on the team.

It was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I quickly learned my boss was right - I finally could apply my strengths and much better contribute to the team. And I enjoyed it so much that I realized: This is it.

Recently I stumbled upon the article "Testers: The Origin Story" which nicely fit to what I wanted to write about. It seems I was not the only one who didn't consider "software tester" for their list of potential professions. And that I wasn't the only one starting in the games industry, either!

So if you would ask me today: What is it that you want to do? I'd tell you that I already do it. I want to test to develop great products to delight our users. I want to tell and show people how awesome it is to work if you love what you do. How happy you can be. Follow your passion.

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