Tuesday, September 4, 2012

10 Signs that you're not cut to be a tester

I had quite some fun reading trough signs indicating why you would be not cut for IT, not cut to be a developer or an IT consultant on the Tech republic blog:

I don't mean to say that it made a whole bunch of sense to me, but I did notice that one particular blog post was still outstanding... so I decided to suggest this one myself:

These are my top 10 signs that you're not cut to be a tester:

1. You get nervous from buggy software

The software you're facing on a day to day base is going to be full of bugs and will look like a poor Picasso imitation. You'll need to find workarounds. And when a bug has been resolved, you'll be facing the next problem. You'll have to go trough again.

2. You're unaware of business expectations

If you're not aware of business expectation, you'll look over half of the defects that are in front of you. You'll read over inconsistencies and you won't question the rationale behind an architectural solution that has been proposed. An overview of what business wants and why they need an application, gives you structure and focus on finding the defects that potentially are of high impact.

3. You get tired from explaining defects occurrences

Not everyone knows the system like you do. Not everyone understands the reason why a bug is a bug. You'll need to explain it... again and again. Even when it works on their machine...

4. You don't read blogs, books or attend conferences about software testing

A tester keeps up to date on the latest evolutions on tools, techniques, methods and can learn from practical experience of other testers. It's no use to invent what already has been invented for you. It is  even less useful not to learn from others mistakes.

5. You're ashamed of your role in the project

A tester could also be an analyst, a developer, a designer or an architect, but chooses to be a tester. A tester is not a developer or analyst, coming close to retirement. A tester is proud of their job and aims on improving software quality. They aim on challenging development, analysis and architecture on their correctness, completeness and coherence. A tester is proud of and dedicated to find the human flaws in a program before it is released to production.

6. You know how to check but you don't know how to explore

Checking against expectations is a given. This needs to be done. After this, the software needs exploration. How else are we going to find those undefined features and prove that if you click on the left mouse button 6 times, then do a page refresh, while keeping your right mouse button clicked and then releasing the right mouse button after which you disconnect the keyboard, your money has gone from your account, but has not been transfered?...

7. You are not keeping up to date on the technical aspects of IT

IT terms are not just hype words for a tester. A tester has to have an understanding of OO, has to know what a web service is or a message queue, what the function is of an isolation layer or why server and client side validations can be implemented while building a website. A tester needs to constantly improve and understand what they are technically dealing with as every technicality has it's weakness. That's where most probably the defects will be.

8. You don't like to communicate

Communication, communication, communication. Testing is about finding bugs and inconsistencies and communicating about them.

9. You are not aware of the application development life cycle

A tester needs to know about architecture, design, analysis, development, infrastructure, release management, ... and also how they fit together. A testers could even carefully address flaws in the application life cycle, since they might result in software bugs later on.

10. You can't get over defects you found and don't get fixed

Face it. You'll find those defects that are obvious and you would never want to see in your software. However, you're not paying for every single defect to be fixed. Decisions will be made that might not make you happy. Your job is to point to the risks and issues of not fixing a defect. Your job is not to get them resolved.


  1. Very nice post. I think that probably the "root cause" of half of those signs, is the lack of curiosity and desire to learn, which is also related to sign #5 above about the lack of pride in the tester's job.

    I'd just like to say about sign #9, that although I tend to agree with you about it, some would say that it's not the tester's job to test the development procedures. I'm not sure what the exact title of the person who's doing it (process improvement/management) but I'm just saying it's a bit controversial to say it's the tester's job.


  2. Dear Alon,

    Thanks for your comment.
    I think you're right about point number 9. How I tend to pick it up is that when I discover flaws in project processes and procedures... I find it personally an early detection, as those might translate into software bugs. Yet I have to agree that I'm on dangerous terrain there, out of the safety zone, and need to choose my words extra carefully not to step on management toes... I'll update the post!

  3. Great summary Mike, the list provided can work as well as a roadmap for testers that are in doubt or stuck in uncomfortable positions!

    I'd highlight the original sign #3 in the IT list "You refuse to work outside 9-to-5", not in terms of actually "working" but in terms of testing or having a testing mindset: if you are a "tester in the heart" you just can't stop testing, whether you are in the office with a brand new app in your hands or just in watching how popcorn gets cooked in the microwave. Life itself is full of bugs, and real testers are aware of them and always ready to come up with an explanation.

    Maybe it is not a healthy attitude (everyone needs to disconnect from their daily jobs sometimes), but it is not a 9-to-5 decision for sure, and if it is... warning ;-)

    Glad to meet you, you have a new reader.



  4. Hi Mauri_Edo, Thanks for your input.
    I agree with you totally, that passion is not exercised from 9 to 5 and also agree that this attitude needs to be carefully balanced out with a private and or family life. This can not only be mind-refreshing but also can create a space for new refreshing ideas to come to the surface.
    Thanks for reading. I'm Honored!

    Best regards,