Software Testing is Cool
Software testing is one of the least considered career paths in the SDLC (software development life cycle). Albeit the least considered, in my opinion it is one of the most rewarding.
I have been in the QA game now for ten years, and it is a constantly revolving and challenging career. Since I work for a professional services firm, I get to see applications being built in different and evolving industries. One of the great things about working in different industries is that you gain and absorb business knowledge pertinent to those industries. Personally I have learned the internals of reinsurance and prime brokerage. Along with learning how different industries work, I have also had the opportunity to learn different tools in the QA/application lifecycle management (ALM) arena. When I speak of tools I am referring to automation (capture/playback) and requirements/defect tracking (metrics gathering) . Some examples of these tools are IBM Ration Quality Manager, Robot and Functional Tester, and HP's Quality Center and Quick Test Pro.
Test automation tools not only speed up the execution of test suites, they also foster development skills. So, being a QA Tester could more often than not mean having development/programming expertise honed using various automation tools. From my experience it is very fulfilling to code test cases and then watch playback (simulated user interaction) of an application I have been working on. Along with the satisfaction of watching the playback, I realize (1) how much time I save the client (increased ROI), while (2) eliminating manual execution errors. Those two aforementioned points add coolness to the arena of software testing.
What you do you think? Is Software Testing cool to you?
Posted by Homer E. Pope on Thursday, July 30, 2009 12:26 AM EDT
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IBM Rational Software Conference
Saturday I am heading back to Orlando for my 15th or 16th user conference. The first was in 1994 and was run by SQA, Inc. Robot and Test Manager were the only products back then. In 1997 Rational took over and since 2003 IBM hosts the conference which features RQM, RFT, RPT, AppScan and dozens of other industry leading quality assurance testing tools.
RTTS will have a booth in the exhibit hall again and I am looking forward to Jeff Bocarsly's, RTTS Division Manager, presentation on Internationalized Testing with Rational Functional Tester.
I am looking forward to seeing everyone we have known for years and learning what is new from IBM. Hopefully it will be fun, but not as fun as last year.
Posted by Ron Axelrod on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 11:57 AM EDT
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Someone recently sent me an interesting article on recruiting blunders. It talked about candidates sniffing their armpits when walking into the interview room; receiving phone calls during the interview and asking the interviewer to leave the room so they could have some privacy; and other ridiculous errors that some candidates commit.
This reminded me of some of our most unusual candidates. While most of the candidates I have interviewed are excellent, some of them boggle the mind. Some are not only unprepared but they seem to speak without thinking. Many of the things they did or answers they gave were so off the wall that they just cannot be made up.
One candidate pulled out a 2-quart bottle of water and slammed it on the table at the beginning of the interview. Then every time he was nervous he would take a huge gulp and finish with a big “Ahh.” Another candidate asked where she would sit if hired. We showed her the cubicle and she said that would never do. Then she saw an office to her liking and asked if she could have that. I told her no, it is the President’s office. We also had a candidate that had greased up his hair with so much oil or gel that it looked like he had just come out of the shower. After a 45 minute interview his hair was still soaking wet.
One of my all-time favorite candidates had an interesting answer to a “tell us a little bit about yourself” question. Near the end of a long-winded monologue the candidate proudly boasted about being a very friendly and cheerful person whom friends have nicknamed, “The Cheerful Idiot.” Definitely not the best way to describe yourself to a potential employer.
We also ask the candidates what their strengths are followed by their weaknesses. One candidate gave us the standard answer for the former, but when we asked for weaknesses we were flabbergasted by the answer. First the candidate said they tend to be late, then said they lose focus when under pressure, then added they had trouble meeting deadlines and finally said they like to goof off from time to time. That candidate still holds the all-time record for weaknesses at four.
There have been other colorful answers from a plethora of other candidates. Some of the best are listed below:
Why should we hire you?
“I don’t know?”
Tell us about an event that really challenged you?
“That’s a silly question.”
Rate your self on a scale from 1 to 10.
When would you be able to start?
“In a couple of months, I need to rest.”
Would you accept the offer?
“Only if I do not get a better one.”
What do you know about RTTS?
“Not much. I had to travel to get here and did not have time to look at you web site. I was hoping you would tell me what you do.”
Why didn’t you wear a suit to the interview?
“It was hot outside.”
Why did you major in Computer Science?
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do and my brother told me to try it.”
What is your strongest programming language?
While many of the answers are very truthful and honest, they did not put the candidates in the best of light. But at least I have never had anyone smell their armpits.
Posted by Ron Axelrod on Thursday, July 03, 2008 2:58 PM EDT
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