Monday, April 18, 2022

Starting in Software Testing

Over the years, several people reached out to me asking for guidance to get into the testing and quality space. What drew me into this area, how to start this as a career, which resources to look into, how to practice, and so on. Today I answered a similar question once more and hence decided to make a blog post out of it - in case my (admittedly quite generic answer) might help more people.

First, credit where credit is due. This post now exists because of those people who had asked. I don't remember all of them, yet at least thank you to AfeezOdunayo, Chemierra and Abraham.

Also, I'm pretty sure there are more comprehensive or helpful answers out there. Here's the one I currently give, adapted to the context of the question asker.

Hi there! Great to hear you'd like to explore the testing and quality space! I relate to the overwhelming amount of (at times contradicting) information out there, it can be difficult to figure out on your own where to even start.

It most probably is not doable to get into software testing the same way I did, as I rather fell into testing by luck and opportunity instead of intentionally planning it as my career. In case you're interested to read about my story, I wrote about it here: How I Fell into Testing. I assume things are quite different these days. What I don't experience differently is that I'm still learning every day and I just love that. I feel in this space I can contribute to building a great product for people, and build that together with great people - as product development is a real team sport. Might be my personal bubble, yet I do feel we can have impact together and help move things to a better place.

Let me be clear that I can only share from my personal experience here and I'm aware I'm speaking from a very privileged position; so please know that any advice I can give you, anything what helped me in my context, might not fit to your situation at all. Feel free to see for yourself though, and I'd be glad if something turns out as valuable.

Coming to your question how to start in software testing. Let me give you a quite common tester answer: it depends! ;-) What's your context? What are you interested in? What do you enjoy? What's a current challenge you'd like to tackle? There's a lot more questions that would help provide you more targeted recommendations. Let me know if you have more specifics for me. For now I'll just go with generic recommendations, hoping they might help you already.

Resources: There's lots of great content out there. In general I can recommend having a look at the following to get started.

Practicing: Getting hands-on experience and trying things out is invaluable, and deliberate practice can make a real difference.

  • You might want to help out open source projects and practice there - probably the most real practice you can find. (Side note: I am sharing this as advice I heard from others, it's not part of my own journey so I cannot speak from experience here.)
  • There are lots of projects meant for practicing. A great list is this: Resources for Software Testers (You need to sign in to view it yet it should be visible with a free account.)
  • Consider joining forces and pairing up with people, or learning in a group. This sped up my learning so much I can't even emphasize this enough. For resources on working well with other people, see my page on collaboration.

In case you'd like to know anything in specifics, just let me know and I hope I can help or connect you with people who can.

Hope this helps! All the best for your journey.

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