Recently, I got to thinking about the different roles of developer and tester and how on projects there is sometimes a line dividing the two. Being a developer turned tester myself, I then thought about how my skills transferred across and vice versa.
What can be gained from becoming a hybrid?
How does it help you?
How does it help the team?
This blog is a list of reasons why being a dev-test hybrid (the term I have coined, not official) might help you and your team, so let’s begin.
On a project, one of the main things we as a team do is…you guessed it…communicate. Being able to have honest conversations can help with collaboration. For example, a tester with coding knowledge can help cut through the tech talk and get right to the point. It can help developers understand what a tester is talking about when they run through scenarios so everyone understands what is happening.
2, Ability to participate in reviews
Reviews are a key part of the development cycle and for getting tickets across the line. Having developers take part in test reviews and having testers review developer code can allow for many different perceptions to come together, allowing the team to find issues that may have slipped through the cracks. This results in a more robust and optimised code base.
Reviews are also a great way and place to showcase skills and contribute to the team.
3, Understanding technologies
Having knowledge of both pools can give a person some perspective. This can link up to the first point as it allows a common language between disciplines. Testers with Developer knowledge can have a deeper understanding of the technology, which helps them to avoid writing tests that are based on wrong assumptions. Having knowledge of a range of technologies can also help on a project-to-project basis because, for a tester, the issues observed in one project may be similar to those seen using the same tech stack on another. For developers, understanding the tech can be knowing how tests run and knowing how to update them when they make small changes.
4, Understanding logic
Knowing what something does is different to knowing why it is doing it. So this point is going to look at how by understanding logic testers and developers can come to an agreement that suits them and helps the project. By understanding logic, we can see how a person thinks – and when we see how a person thinks, we can understand what they are doing. In the case of code, this can help when you encounter a section of code by a developer that at first looks intimidating; when you look at it through the developer’s eyes, you can see there may be reason to their madness which actually makes sense when solving a problem in a thinking-outside-the-box sort of way.
5, Narrow down defects
This point is more aimed toward the testers reading this. Having coding knowledge is immensely useful as it can help you generate useful details. Viewing the code in a different light can let you see defects in relation to the code. This means you can have better conversations with your developers and hone in on where defects might be coming from with ease. For the developers, this will make their lives easier as they can have an understanding of test suites and know which ones to run when they are looking at specific areas of the project.
In conclusion, being a dev-test hybrid can only bring good things to you and your team. New skills, better communication, better code. All the things you can want and more for your project. As time goes on, hybrid testers especially are more and more common and it might be that the manual tester is a thing of the past a few years down the line.
Piqued your interest in the other field, have I?
Well, there are several ways to upskill if that is what you wish. Talking to your friendly neighbourhood developer/tester (often seen roaming around near the coffee machine) is a great start and – lets you see how they view the world – I mean project. Getting involved in communities of practice and learning from others is another way. Also, the internet is a great source of information, you could always start with the Scott Logic blog for example 😉.