Lead Test Engineer Daniel recently produced a blog tackling the myths around software testing, one of which being ‘testing is boring’. In this post, fellow Test Engineer Hannah delves a little deeper into this misconception and things we can do to dispel it.
Recently, six testers from around the world got together on a video call and talked about selection issues in testing. I mostly listened, with it being my first Tuesday Night Testing and being so awed and fascinated by the experience and knowledge of the people talking. There was one issue that we covered that I feel pretty strongly about; the topic of how to rectify the perception that testing is boring. I did chime in for that one, and was subsequently encouraged to blog about my experiences. I find this topic very interesting as I've been lucky enough to work at places where testing was generally kept interesting and fresh, but I know that a lot of people have this misconception.
In this blog I don't want to discuss ‘why’ people perceive testing as boring (that's a whole other blog post!), but rather what can we do to dispel this myth. In this blog I'm going to share what I've personally been involved with, to help spread the word that actually, testing is fun!
Starting at the beginning
The first thing that I got involved with was the STEM Ambassadors, which is all about encouraging children and teens, from primary school to sixth form to choose STEM subjects or careers. For some of the activities I signed up to help with, I had a chance to chat about my job and my experience. It was rewarding to see people who had never heard of testing before have a chance to learn about and question it. I'd like to think that at least one person has gone home with the words Software Tester in mind and will consider it as a future path.
The second thing that I’ve been involved with is career mentoring at Newcastle University. I was partnered with a second year student from a Computer Science course who had a keen passion for testing. Our first session was simply getting to know each other and figuring out what she wanted out of the mentoring time. For the sessions after that, I encouraged her to read about certain topics, and then we would discuss what she had learnt and what she was interested in. I also brought in my laptop with some buggy software and showed her how I would test, getting her to explore the software as well. I think guiding and showing someone who has an interest in testing is a great thing to do. So few people have the chance to even talk to someone about what testing is before they decide on their career path. I would encourage anyone to get in touch with their local university and see if there are any similar opportunities.
At the start of November fellow Tester Jack and myself gave a talk at Newcastle University - instead of just telling the students what testing was, we told stories of our real world experiences with testing. Hopefully hearing what testing is actually like in a real scenario will have interested a few people who perhaps aren't set on a developer role in the future.
We can all help!
If people don't know about testing, or all they’ve heard of testing is what they've learnt at university, then how can they know how to pursue it as a career? We have a fantastic community of software testing professionals out there, and we have the experience, knowledge and passion to inspire others to learn more about testing. There are so many opportunities out there for us to get involved and teach. I hope through reading this blog that some of you are inspired to inspire others: through STEM Ambassadors, presentations, mentoring, or any other opportunity you can find. Perhaps one day testing will be a career that people consider long before they enter the working world. We can start by informing people about testing. We can start by creating opportunities. We can destroy the myth one step at a time.
If you're interested in starting a career in testing why not take a look at our Graduate Software Tester Programme.