Senior Testers @ Datacom

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olivernz

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Jun 12, 2011, 10:44:38 PM6/12/11
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Hello all,

We're looking for permanent testing staff for several positions in my
business unit. So if you are keen for a change or know of someone
please get them to apply through here:

http://www.seek.co.nz/Job/senior-test-analyst/in/wellington-wellington-central/19868039

Regards
Oliver Erlewein
Test Manager
Datacom

John Dutson-Whitter

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Jun 13, 2011, 12:32:48 AM6/13/11
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So, I know this isn't the place for it, but let's have the discussion, anyway.

You want senior permanent testing staff.  As someone who's picked up the ANZTB Foundation level certificate without corporate sponsorship, I now find myself wanting to get the heck out of my current, pitiful, mildly embarrassing, not-in-the-least-related-to-my-testing-qualification job and move onto greener pastures.  Green pastures filled with opportunities to get the next ANZTB cert (which requires, if I remember rightly, 3 years of working as a tester before you can even apply to take the exam), and, as a more personal benefit, the opportunity to get off of minimum wage.

So, where do I go from where I currently am?  All the work I see listed is asking for management positions, or, as with your own post, senior positions, which one can presume has an experience criteria associated with it (Oh, here we go. "More than three years' experience as a Senior Tester is desirable."  It's vague, but I can safely assume I don't fit the bill).  What can I start doing right now that can move me closer towards work as a tester?  What can I do that I can put into my CV without feeling like I'm making stuff up.  I've rooted my phone and I'm using an in-development ROM.  I've submitted and followed through on bug-reports, but we both know that listing that as 'testing experience' is simply padding the paperwork.  I may as well mention that I'm a user of the Minecraft Beta.

I appreciate that any company's sole purpose is to maximise profits, and training up a tester, from near-scratch, to work within the company is an expensive and risky move - they might take your training and leave, or, for one reason or another, simply be untrainable.  What can an individual do to begin to move towards a role like this, or at least get a foot into the door?

Sorry if this came off as a bit of a rant.  Initially, I planned on going into a tirade about how this forum has had a discussion on whether we'll allow job advertisements or not, and the answer was a rather resounding 'no', but got sidetracked by my own issues.  In good news, we now have a discussion about what a 'just starting' tester can do to become a professional in the industry.

Regards
John Dutson-Whitter
Deli Assistant
Pak 'n' Save




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Oliver Erlewein

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Jun 13, 2011, 12:53:59 AM6/13/11
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Hi John,

1) ANZTB....oh my. Look at previous discussions here to get my take on THAT. ;-)

2) Good on ya to show initiative! That's worth more than a dozen certs!

3) You send me an email directly and I'll get you to meet me for a coffee and we'll have a chat (hope you're Wellington based). Because although I'm looking for seniors we're a company of about 3500 people. We always need good "new recruits" that can grow into senior positions. So even if I can't employ you there might be another unit that can. Not a guarantee but we can both give it a shot.

How's that?

Cheers Oliver

John Dutson-Whitter

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Jun 13, 2011, 1:22:46 AM6/13/11
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And they say that whining on the internet never helps anything.

An email will come along shortly (let me just stop being utterly flabbergasted at your amazing response to my childish moaning.) but, for the sake of the message board (and heck, myself) let's keep the topic going.  A few quick questions:

  • Outside of the general 'mindset', what are some useful skills to have, coming into this business?
  • Care to recommend a good scripting language to learn?  
  • Any toolset you'd recommend people to start picking up?
  • As we've ascertained that you feel that flashing paperwork is pointless, what can a person start doing to make a 'worthy' CV?

Brian Osman

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Jun 13, 2011, 5:13:02 PM6/13/11
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The job ads that have appeared here have two things in common.
 
1. The courtesy of asking if it was okay by the author :) and
 
2. It was posted by a member of this group suitable for their purpose (i.e. recruiting was not their fulltime job.)

In saying that, each job advert is assesed on a case by case basis. :)

Lets get to the juicy part...work.

I've rooted my phone and I'm using an in-development ROM.
>>>  I've submitted and followed through on bug-reports, but we both know that
>>> listing that as 'testing experience' is simply padding the paperwork.

That shows experience, initiative and possibly the ability to think outside of the box. I remember when you sat in on the course that i was running, you struck me as someone that was quickminded, very intelligent and more importantly, willingly to try stuff! That is a trait I look for when I've hired - not so much the certificate - I want to know how you think! I have a testing buddy in India who followed the same path as yourself - did a lot of beta testing, www.utest.com, blogged about it and built his online reputation...with the key word being reputation and now is in a very successful *space* = reputation + work.

With all due respect to Oliver, he *started* where you are (all of us have), built his reputation, is a conference speaker, context driver, community leader and blogger...it took time but he's built his reputation to the point where i consider him one the top testers in NZ. 
THERE are a number within this forum that have and are doing the same thing (Aaron Hodder is presenting at STANZ 2011 in Wellington, Anne Marie Charrett - STANZ 2011 in Melbourne - we are fortunate in the sense that Anne-Marie built her reputation in the Northern hemisphere before coming down under - just google!)

Whilst this doesn't help you RIGHT now, the long term affects are tangible. If i was hiring now, I would want to know about your *presence*, what do you know about the industry, who do you know/met/talked to? I've lost count of the number of people (nice they may be) when i ask what testing books have you read, i get a "What? Which twilight book Ive read - i thought this was an IT job??".

First step - build your presence - be active online (linkedIn, groups, blogs etc) - put your thoughts out there...

Engage with community leaders (e.g, James Bach is coming to NZ  next week - he's currently in Australia - he is an industry leader and i'm picking someone that you may relate well to).

(All sense within the context of your own situation of course)

If you build it, they will come...

What do others think? Don't be shy, this is a very important topic to discuss!

Tama Stevens

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Jun 13, 2011, 5:16:11 PM6/13/11
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Hi John,

Where are you based?  I would like to take this off the group discussion.  We are based in Hamilton.  Send me an email.  I want to take our discussion off this forum.

Kind regards,

Tama Stevens | Software Test Analyst | Research & Development
Gallagher Group Limited | Kahikatea Drive | Private Bag 3026 | Hamilton | New Zealand
TEL +64-7 959 3777 | FAX +64-7 838-9801 |
www.gallaghergroup.co.nz | tama.s...@gallagher.co.nz

olivernz

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Jun 13, 2011, 5:59:30 PM6/13/11
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@Brian:
1) Thanks for the flowers! But I think you're pushing it a bit ;-)

2) I agree to all you said and I'll add that what I look for on top of
that is engagement and a critical mindset. but....

3) I think we're the exception with these expectations. I think more
companies look for ISTQB (and the like) qualifications and more
standard fare. The common understanding of testing is a bit...oh well
i won't get into that discussion here. @John, what I want to say with
that is, that there are some companies that will look at your
engagement and say that's cool and others that will dismiss you
outright for lacking experience.

Oliver

@John: Still waiting for that email ;-)

On Jun 14, 9:13 am, Brian Osman <brian.os...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > The job ads that have appeared here have two things in common.
> > 1. The courtesy of asking if it was okay by the author :) and
> > 2. It was posted by a member of this group suitable for their purpose (i.e.
> > recruiting was not their fulltime job.)
>
> In saying that, each job advert is assesed on a case by case basis. :)
>
> Lets get to the juicy part...work.
>
> > I've rooted my phone and I'm using an in-development ROM.
>
> > >>>  I've submitted and followed through on bug-reports, but we both know
> >> that
>
> > >>> listing that as 'testing experience' is simply padding the paperwork.
>
> That shows experience, initiative and possibly the ability to think outside
> of the box. I remember when you sat in on the course that i was running, you
> struck me as someone that was quickminded, very intelligent and more
> importantly, willingly to try stuff! That is a trait I look for when I've
> hired - not so much the certificate - I want to know how you think! I have a
> testing buddy in India who followed the same path as yourself - did a lot of
> beta testing,www.utest.com, blogged about it and built his online
> >>> On Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 2:44 PM, olivernz <oliver.erlew...@gmail.com>
> >>> wrote:
>
> >>>> Hello all,
>
> >>>> We're looking for permanent testing staff for several positions in my
> >>>> business unit. So if you are keen for a change or know of someone
> >>>> please get them to apply through here:
>
> http://www.seek.co.nz/Job/senior-test-analyst/in/wellington-wellingto...

Brian Osman

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Jun 13, 2011, 6:24:55 PM6/13/11
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@Oliver - recognition where recognition is due... :)
 With regards to point 3. agreed - i've found that the cert hiring companies do so either because HR said (and have no real clue), the hiring manager is sold on the idea or the companys' client ask for it (or more likely, the vendor dangles the certification carrot to the client and the client thinks they are onto a winner). In my summation, it is the individual that makes the certificate not the other way around.


For those looking for work, I subscribe to the mud theory, throw enough and something will stick! I've been to countless interviews, rejected from alot of them but i've always had work. You learn to develop a thick skin to the no's because there is a yes waiting.

@John - I would *pad* your CV as you put it because i think its valid. I would send my CV out (even to senior test jobs - let *them* figure it out if you are a *senior* - don't let their title/terminology define you - if they like you great - if not, it cost you time and an email - thats it - then NEXT and MOVE ON!).

Tap into your network - don't underestimate the power of relationships.
Eventually a company will come calling... :)

Tessa Benzie

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Jun 13, 2011, 6:48:48 PM6/13/11
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@Brian - such good advice as always J I have actually been practicing some of what you preach lately and am proof that networking and engaging in conversation and debate creates opportunities. Building your reputation is key, it is always a work in progress, but it doesn’t take too long to gain traction.

 

@John – I would be wary of wanting to gain the next qualification simply because it looks good to a prospective employer. A better strategy, in my view, is to consider what it is you want to learn and then, if it serves, complete the qualification in order to gain that knowledge. Follow any path out of passion, not obligation. Your passion for the testing craft will shine through, that is what employers will see. Of course there will always be employers who rigidly stick to certifications, but there are plenty who don’t. There is probably a clue as to the type of company they are if they do.  Also, don’t be afraid to approach anyone for help, advice or simply to chat. “Big names” in testing (or any profession) are ultimately still people, just like you and me. My experience has shown me that these people are willing and available for conversation so take advantage of that and build your network.

 

Good luck



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Brian Osman

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Jun 13, 2011, 9:23:10 PM6/13/11
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@Tessa - Your last paragraph to @John is gold! 
An example of this is Tessa being invited as one of the thought leaders to KWST#1 next week with James Bach and local thought leaders.

Farid Vaswani

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Jun 13, 2011, 10:19:39 PM6/13/11
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Some great discussion here. Thanks John for igniting it.
Software Testing in NZ is a small community and now with social media it is equally easy to interact and form communities around the globe. Being part of those communities, participating in forums, voicing your opinions (rants, etc :) ) will certainly get one lot of attention.
And as long as these contributions are positive and sensible it will get you a foot-in-the-door. But what happens after that is how well one performs and gets the results.

Brian and Oliver hit the nail with the mention of 'initiation' and enthusiasm. That is really a key for me personally and whoever I work with.... but again what matters is the *bottom line*. The bottom line for testers /i think/ is their quality of work, understanding of the technology, readiness to learn new skills. Gone are those days when testing an application's UI and logging bugs was enough to be a tester.


(Oo)ps: I know I might have started another set of discussion here.  




Farid Vaswani
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http://www.geek4eva.com/

jo...@webtest.co.nz

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Jun 14, 2011, 4:14:16 AM6/14/11
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Hi John and everyone,

Couldn't resist giving my 2c worth.

>You want senior permanent testing staff.  
Some roles come up for juniors. If you were in Auckland we'd be keen to talk to you.

>As someone who's picked up the ANZTB Foundation level certificate without corporate sponsorship
I differ with many in that I consider that valuable as it shows that you can learn standard terminology, have done so in the testing space, can apply yourself and have some initiative. I don't quite get how people (Oliver ;-) who I suspect are comfortable with the term Domain Specific Language (DSL) in a test automation context seem not to see value in learning the generic testing DSL that I think ASTQB teaches.

>...Green pastures filled with opportunities to get the next ANZTB cert 
I do agree with others that this should not be your next focus.

>So, where do I go from where I currently am?  
There are junior roles, and volunteering on an open source project imo is the best way to make yourself standout, now you have Foundation cert.

>All the work I see listed is asking for management positions
No offense intended, but you can't have looked very hard! Not all punters want to pay $80k+ when some testing roles are less challenging than others especially in teams.

>What can I start doing right now that can move me closer towards work as a tester?  

Test on an open source project, and track what you do so you can give examples.

>What can I do that I can put into my CV without feeling like I'm making stuff up.  

Test on an open source, oh, just assume that is my answer to the rest of your questions unless I say otherwise!

>I've rooted my phone and I'm using an in-development ROM.  

The fact that you've rooted your phone is hardly something to put on your CV, unless there is a technical meaning to that term that I'm unfamiliar with. Let that be an important lesson on the use of jargon in CVs!

>I've submitted and followed through on bug-reports, but we both know that listing that as 'testing experience' is simply padding the paperwork.  

Not for "junior" roles it most certainly is not. Did you know AST do a whole course merely on this skill and I found the course both challenging and useful?

>I may as well mention that I'm a user of the Minecraft Beta.

Not without explaining it's relevance to the uninitiated boring old managers (live myself).


>I appreciate that any company's sole purpose is to maximise profits, 

Not at all in my view. That would be like saying the purpose of life is breathing. It is necessary but not sufficient.

>and training up a tester, from near-scratch, to work within the company is an expensive 

Not necessarily though you haven't said what salary you are seeking! Training can be on the job and may not cost employer money.

>and risky move - they might take your training and leave, or, for one reason or another, simply be untrainable. 

The former is possible with any employee, but in my experience no more of a risk for juniors. The latter is no more of a risk than all sorts of other issues that can occur with any employee. Remember most employers are arrogant enough to think they are good judges of character! And there are 3 month trial periods for small companies and probably soon for all.

 >What can an individual do to begin to move towards a role like this, or at least get a foot into the door?

Finally I have to add that not knowing how to do automation of particularly functional but also load etc testing and claiming to be a tester is a bit like being a builder but saying you don't know how to use a hammer or drill, or that you can only use manual rather than electric tools. So learn Selenium IDE and JMeter at least, and ideally FitNesse/FitLibrary/FitLibraryWeb or Cucumber. Learn a little about agile and because web is becoming the ubiquitous architecture learn a little html, xml and xpath which in my view is more important than SQL these days. A bit of regex wouldn't hurt and below all of those I would add a scripting language. Doesn't matter what one e.g. groovy, VBA or equally C# or Java. If you can write a GreaseMonkey script for Firefox or a serious Excel macro for example that shows a lot.

By the way as an aside, if anyone knows a senior tester with infrastructure and application and particularly disaster recovery project lead experience who can work in Auckland please let me know!

cheers,
       John Lockhart, jo...@webtest.co.nz

Richard Robinson

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Jun 14, 2011, 4:39:48 AM6/14/11
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Okay, okay, my turn in this. I have been following this thread quite closely. 
My background is 6 years at pure testing, starting as a project tester, then senior, and recently a TM on my current project. I hold a piece of paper that has the words ISTQB Adv TA on it. There are some parts of the course that I use every day, but I can also learn these from books.

Blogs are good too. But I would recommend starting to read these once you have read 2 or 3 testing books. Get the lingo sorted. 

@John
If I were hiring you, I would want you to be able to speak the testing language. If you are a beginner, then I would expect you to speak the basic principles of the test phases, and known why we have them, and what types of testing we do in them. I would like it if you understood test analysis and design techniques such as equivalence partitioning, boundary value analysis and decision tables. I would like you to have a reasonable attention to detail and can be instructed and take ownership of your testing tasks.

But overall, I would want you to have an active mind, and not assume anything without checking, or let anything go because it seems right or you dont quite get it. I like people who can think. I require my testers to have insight.

Hope that helps. Conversation and forums are an excellent way to share your ideas, attitudes, opinions and experiences/learnings. Send me an email if you want to talk testing. Im very open and candid - which gets me in trouble most days.

@Oliver
You are a champ. Thanks for sorting me out for the last 7 months. My best experiences on a difficult project are all due to your insight.

@Brian
When can we work together on a project? 

Cheers
Richard Robinson
skype:richrob79

Ilott, Laurence

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Jun 14, 2011, 6:34:20 AM6/14/11
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Some great posts of which I can find something to agree with in all of the discussions...
 
I completed the ISTQB foundation course with Brian some months ago and found it a wealth of content, not only with regards to the confirmation that I have been following best practice but also the small insights that I was able to add to my test tool belt.
 
Like many real world testers that I come across, I don;t have any real IT tertiary related qualifications, but I do have some years of experience.
 
In my small test world I see the test role forever changing, especially where budgets are tight or timeframes are cut short.
 
More often I see the senior test resource being brought on earlier in the project stages to aid in the review or creation of outputs such as requirements and design. Traditionally for a number of NZ businesses, the test resource was brought in after these stages because of project costs.
 
I tend to very much agree with Richards post .....
 
"But overall, I would want you to have an active mind, and not assume anything without checking, or let anything go because it seems right or you dont quite get it. I like people who can think. I require my testers to have insight."
 
However, personally I rate speaking the lingo and being able to regurgitate principles and phases in an interview less important as being able to identify experiences where you have:
- being able to communicate across the business like a Business Analyst
- being able to interpret documentation (technical and requirements)
- being able to think outside the square and continually asking questions and not making presumptions
- can do attitude with a drive to learn
- bread and butter test executions and defect management
 
Anyway, rant over, if I look at this it is a cut down summary of what is below..
 
Personally I still look to upskill and attempt (which recently is pitiful) to improve myself. My reading of test books has been cut back to reading internet articles so I would imagine myself completeing another ISTQB course in the future as it seems to be the only time I can get away.....
 
Laurence
 
 
 
 
 


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Aaron Hodder

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Jun 14, 2011, 7:19:18 AM6/14/11
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I have 2c too!


>I differ with many in that I consider that valuable as it shows that you can learn standard terminology, have done so in the testing space, can apply yourself and have some initiative. I don't quite get how people (Oliver ;-) who I suspect are >comfortable with the term Domain Specific Language (DSL) in a test automation context seem not to see value in learning the generic testing DSL that I think ASTQB teaches.
 
In my mind there is no correlation between ability to learn "stand terminology" and being a good tester.  And as for "standard terminology", standard to who?  Just because ISTQB says "these are standard", does not make it so.




>So, where do I go from where I currently am?  
This is a great talk about how to become a software testing expert.  The great thing to learn is that there is really no such thing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FTwaojNkXw

Another thing is, get on Twitter and start following testers, begin reading the blog posts that come through and find out which resonate with you. 

There is also a weekend testers group; I don't know the details, but someone here will know.






>and training up a tester, from near-scratch, to work within the company is an expensive 
Not training them up and having them stay is more expensive :P






Oliver Erlewein

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Jun 14, 2011, 8:32:02 AM6/14/11
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Hey John,

DSL?! Testing and many other areas do not have a DSL. For example what is a senior tester? If you ask 5 companies you'll get 5 different answers. All ISTQB certiwhatevered. 

I have worked months of my life trying to get a DSL going for ISEB end of the 90ies. I think I know a bit what I'm talking about. It isn't really possible. A set of words that make sense in company A and will just not work in company B in the same way. Yeah, the words are the same but you can't pin a definite meaning to them. And I'm convinced you shouldn't. And I think too much time is spent on these discussions rather than showing people how to test. 

Just had an interview a couple of days ago with a certified tester. I asked who Rex Black was. I got asked if he was someone in my company. Admittedly not something you must know but it's not a common or difficult name but I think a tester should have looked at the cover of whatever they are reading. ...

And here I go again. Thanks John for triggering my ISTQB flag. ;-) was next to totally off topic. 

Btw, you at Stanz this year? 

Cheers
Oliver
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jo...@webtest.co.nz

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Jun 14, 2011, 9:50:38 AM6/14/11
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Hey Oliver,

>DSL?! Testing and many other areas do not have a DSL. For example what is a senior tester? 

Does ISTQB attempt to define "senior" tester? Almost by definition I'd say senior is relative and it also isn't exactly a technical term. I would have thought DSLs always vary and definitions are always somewhat arbitrary. 

>A set of words that make sense in company A and will just not work in company B in the same way. 
>Yeah, the words are the same but you can't pin a definite meaning to them. And I'm convinced you shouldn't. 

Not questioning your experience, but I've seen many terms used in similar ways across companies. Some of these are useful and some are not, and none of them are definite but that is true of a DSL within any company too e.g. people talking about airline bookings in Air NZ will use all sorts of different terms for the same thing or the same term for different things. I thought the purpose of a DSL was to select and agree on terminology to attempt to use together that helps us avoid confusion in communication, documentation, training etc. If you're saying you see no point in this process then maybe you are right. I must admit I can't claim to have seen it ever fully and successfully done, just as never in my life have I seen a glossary really completed, maintained and providing value to a project or document, which feels like a bizarre admission to make. Maybe definitions are inherently a waste of time - is that really what you're saying? If so it's very Zen!  But just because the map doesn't equal the territory ever, doesn't mean they aren't useful, and I don't know how you can have a map or a model without defining some agreed terms and meanings.

>And I think too much time is spent on these discussions rather than showing people how to test. 

I have certainly seen that happen in spades when people try to define test processes for an organisation for example and don't get past definition of terms! But just because something is done badly some or most of the time doesn't mean it has no value if done well and in the right context.

>Just had an interview a couple of days ago with a certified tester. I asked who Rex Black was [snip]

Interesting, but it's amazing what people don't know, certified or not. I don't think you can blame all the failures of certified people on their certification!

>Btw, you at Stanz this year? 

I must admit I haven't really thought about it this year, which I think means no. Don't get down to the capital much (in fact ever) these days. Do you ever get up to shallow yet decadent Auckland?

You've inspired me to revisit the BBST lecture material (http://www.testingeducation.org/BBST/#tab1) and I may try to focus our staff more on that for training than on the ISTQB material. I certainly learn more and was more challenged by it and embarrased given what an awesome free resource it is that while I've done two courses with them I haven't read/watched the other material.

cheers,
        John

Sharma Vishav

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Jun 14, 2011, 6:12:46 PM6/14/11
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Hello Guys,

Good to see some healthy discussion. What I have noticed is  ISTQB certification gets a  lot of bashing in testing community as compared to similar certifications in other parts of the trade  e.g. sun java certification, Oracle Certifications ,CCNA etc ? In my opinion these certifications should be looked as any structured training be it a class room or self study. 

People can argue that difference between Java or oracle certifications is person who has passed the certification can be assumed to have knowledge of standard language syntax etc. In similar way a ISTQB certified tester is assumed to know and understand about certain testing techniques in the book. But we would agree cramming syntax of a language or test techniques does not help you to become a better programmer or a tester. It is mixture of experience, exposure, practice and other things. .

I am glad to see testing as a field is getting more matured and recognized in the IT industry. Testers contribute way above validation a lot towards successful IT projects. I would agree testers should build there online reputation. Testers should be prepared to learn new technologies .

 Testing is being more challenging and enjoyable now a days.

Go testers go

Cheers
Vdeep

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Oliver Erlewein

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Jun 14, 2011, 6:44:11 PM6/14/11
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Hi Vdeep,

The thing is that you cannot compare ISTQB to Oracle/Sun/Java/Microsoft training. The vendor trainings are for their products. THEY ARE the experts for that and HAVE the mandate for doing certification. It might still be bad certification or good but that then is a question of quality only. With ISTQB they try and represent the industry. It would be like a "Programming" certification for any and all languages! And that'd be ludicrous too becuse how can dev concepts for Cobol, C++ and Algol be the same????

If we'd have Certification for Mercury/Rational/... tools in testing you wouldn't see me complain one bit. But since ISTQB is representing TESTING they need to get it right and that's where the problems start. I can see similar issues arising out of ISO standards around testing. See current ISO 29119 discussions. So I think the so-called bashing is valid and in my opinion healthy for the industry, even if painful at times. 

I heard that actually the system/software architects went through something similar as we testers are doing now but I have no real details about that (this was talked about at a Wellington TPN meeting on ISTQB/Certification a couple of months back). Since architects are similarly generalized as testing is it seems likely though. Apparently they pretty much canned certification because it WAS a toothless tiger. 

Cheers Oliver

Brian Osman

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Jun 14, 2011, 6:50:42 PM6/14/11
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Brilliant discussion - sorry @Oliver I think your job ad has been lost in the discussion! :)

@John - i counted at least 2-3 potential discussions with potential employers (the power of asking and networking) AND a wealth of information (I know and have meant everyone that has contributed to this thread AND their knowledge and experience is pure gold!)

@John - webtest - The geeky side of me actually has a number of Cem's video lectures on my player and watching *regularly* - www.testingeducation.org IS absolutely brilliant and has a ton of good information AND is free (other than your time and passion to watch). 

I recently had a project meeting whereby we discussed and agreed to terminology and definition - it took 45 minutes. The term you won't find in a glossary BUT it is meaningful to us (the team also includes the business owner) and that's what matters. It also meant that I understood what the PM means, the devs mean etc - i did not insist they use *industry* terminology because it was easier for me to adapt than the team to adapt to me). In my experience, this is at the 'exception to the rule' end of the spectrum and far from the *norm* - (i too have been in those "lets debate the terms for the next hour" meeting!)

@John-webtest @Oliver - yes NOT knowing Rex Black is not a crime and is not the fault of the certification BUT it does indicate either a non interest in the industry OR you've just started your learning journey.

@Richard - with regards to working together - have your people call my people :D


On Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 1:50 AM, <jo...@webtest.co.nz> wrote:

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olivernz

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Jun 14, 2011, 7:02:24 PM6/14/11
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Thanks Brian. I do realise this is hijacked! I had a look but you
can't split a discussion.

I'll say this much. I'll employ a good tester with ISTQB BUT I'll also
employ a good tester. I will definitely not employ a bad tester with
an(y) certification. And I will think about employing a bad tester
without certification because it isn't clear why he's bad (yet).

So when applying for the job think about which one you are ;-)
> >https://groups.google.com/d/msg/software-testers-new-zealand/-/ZXJtc8...
> > .

olivernz

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Jun 14, 2011, 7:09:08 PM6/14/11
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BTW, it's of note that certification from ALL topics here gets WAY the
most attention. I think that is a reflection of the fact that we're
REALLY interested in the topic and see the discussion as a vital part
in our profession. It shapes the way we see testing and how we execute
our profession.

Personally I think these discussions around certification is the
single most important event that made me realise testing is a
profession and that me and all testers have a valid part in shaping
it's future. James B takes the honors of shaking me awake and
implementing the thought that nothing should ever be believed without
questions. Granted that has probably tainted my take on the topic BUT
I read all responses (& blogs) and am generally able to change my mind
but so far no compelling argument ;-)

On Jun 15, 10:50 am, Brian Osman <brian.os...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >https://groups.google.com/d/msg/software-testers-new-zealand/-/ZXJtc8...
> > .

Brian Osman

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Jun 14, 2011, 7:09:58 PM6/14/11
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I agree - THE *bashing* is healthy if it makes the end result better. My bugbear within the ISTQB syllabus is an (over)emphasis on standards/maturity models that *may be* irrelevant to our marketplace. It is unlikely that most testers in this group will use FAA-DO178B or care about ieee 1044 or TMMi or TMap.

But I would hazard a guess that alot of testers here want to know about performing a risk analysis or threat modelling or using different approaches to testing or how modified decision coverage is ACTUALLY helpful to you in your work - you know, practical stuff....stuff that will make you think and learn and grow.

Personally, I look to learn from many different avenues regardless of where they come from (ISTQB, OWASP, other testers, speakers, conferences, twitter etc) AND then apply what is useful, discard what is useless - im actively involved in my learning.

IF, we as an industry, don't *test* the assumptions/comments/ideas of what is slowly becoming a prevalent voice in the marketplace then we run the risk of becoming automatons and not testers. Sorry for the rant/warning (and WAAAAYYY off topic but...) but as i've said, these discussions are pure gold - i HOPE that a tester somewhere is at least pondering the opinions/experiences of these messengers.

Tessa Benzie

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Jun 14, 2011, 7:19:53 PM6/14/11
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Wow, this is such great discussion. I learn so much from tuning in to these debates. All these passionate people sharing their views in a respectful way makes me glad to be part of this profession. If we didn’t have these discussions I would wonder at the point of it all. I believe this kind of debate contributes to the improvement of our craft, which ultimately benefits us all.

 

So to continue the debate...if there was only one prescribed “authority” on testing how could we evolve? The IT industry in general is evolving so quickly that I fear we would lose the ability to adapt. We’d lose the ability to challenge and question – which is precisely what makes us good at what we do. The international testing community includes many varied individuals with a multitude of ideas and inspirations. These individuals should be encouraged and celebrated for their pioneering spirit, not beaten down because they don’t fit into a particular box.

 

@John – Finally I have to add that not knowing how to do automation of particularly functional but also load etc testing and claiming to be a tester is a bit like being a builder but saying you don't know how to use a hammer or drill, or that you can only use manual rather than electric tools.

 

John, I heartily and respectfully disagree. I have four years’ experience as a tester but have never done automation. Are you saying I can’t call myself a tester? If not, then I wonder what it is I do all day. I consider myself a student of the testing craft and am always seeking to improve my skills. (Perhaps you could liken me to an apprentice, but I’m not sure how “Testing Apprentice” would look on my business card.) My point is that there is no one definition of “Tester”. Many of us fulfil valuable roles in our specific jobs but still come under the umbrella term of “Tester”.

 

Thank you all for engaging in this and all debates.

 

Tessa

 

From: software-teste...@googlegroups.com [mailto:software-teste...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Oliver Erlewein


Sent: Wednesday, 15 June 2011 10:44 a.m.
To: software-teste...@googlegroups.com

Farid Vaswani

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Jun 14, 2011, 8:24:15 PM6/14/11
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@Tessa >> "My point is that there is no one definition of “Tester”. Many of us fulfil valuable roles in our specific jobs but still come under the umbrella term of “Tester”"

Google, Microsoft, Facebook, (and from what I've heard TradeMe as well), etc they all have their testing automated. Most of these companies develop, test and release to PRD almost 3 times a day!!! All their automation is obviously done by Test Engineers (testers, SDET or whatever they call them). 

Imagine:
1 - more companies started to realise the advantage of automating 80-90% of testing. 
2 - 10-20% manual testing any UAT tester, or even automation tester is happy to do it.
3 - FACT: Test engineers are paid as well as developers. So more developers started seeing the *fun* side of testing and moved to testing.

I'll leave the rest with you :)

Farid

Tessa Benzie

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Jun 14, 2011, 8:46:16 PM6/14/11
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@Farid – thanks for your comments. I’m not disagreeing with the benefits of automated testing. No doubt the fact that these companies use automation facilitates their ability to release as often as they do. Also, it is something I wish to learn but my current role doesn’t allow for this so it is limited to my “spare” time. My objection is to the comment that a tester who doesn’t know automation is not a tester, that’s all. That’s like saying a developer who doesn’t know C# is not a developer. (I’m sure someone will disagree with that analogy, just as I disagree with John’s builder analogy J)

 

Thanks.

Sharma Vishav

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Jun 15, 2011, 1:55:43 AM6/15/11
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Thanks Oliver for clarifying and elaborating bit more with examples.

@Tess "We’d lose the ability to challenge and question " This is vital skill of  a tester to have, so be proud of your self that you have these skills and keep working on the learning additional skills. 

cheers

Vdeep
On Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 10:44 AM, Oliver Erlewein <oli...@erlewein.net> wrote:

Tessa Benzie

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Jun 15, 2011, 5:58:27 PM6/15/11
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@John – the topic has certainly drifted with the tide of opinion over recent days but with regard to your original question about how to get started with a career in testing you may find this post useful.

 

http://www.thetestingplanet.com/2011/04/show-stopper-how-can-i-begin-a-career-in-testing/

 

From: software-teste...@googlegroups.com [mailto:software-teste...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Sharma Vishav
Sent: Wednesday, 15 June 2011 5:56 p.m.
To: software-teste...@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: [stnz] Senior Testers @ Datacom

 

Thanks Oliver for clarifying and elaborating bit more with examples.

Oliver Erlewein

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Jun 15, 2011, 6:22:02 PM6/15/11
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Hey Farid,

I think you're a bit off base with your assessment. Yes, these companies do the "automation thing". Didn't see them go majorly bug free of late  ;-) And I also think a lot of that is more of a unit test than actual functional automated testing.

Yes automation is important but especially with front-end system I can never see them reaching 70%+. That's physically impossible because you cannot verify as much as a human can. Yes you can test flows but to judge, whether that dark grey text on a black background is readable or the GIF flickers twice before being displayed is not really possible in an automated world. Automation is a slice of testing but I'd put it in the 30-40% mark. Batch/message based systems are different, as are mainframe based applications (CUI).

Farid Vaswani

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Jun 15, 2011, 6:34:29 PM6/15/11
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I am not denying the fact that manual testing will always be required, whether 20, 30 or 40% - and I did agree to it in my previous post. Question here is who is best fit to cover for that bit?

Cheers... 

John Dutson-Whitter

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Jun 15, 2011, 7:32:51 PM6/15/11
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@Tessa I don't know whether to be bothered that the discussion has gone far above my head, into a discussion about the value of certification and the needs of the testing community, both of which I can't really comment on.  I've found that finding information with regards to corporate testing methods to be either difficult or expensive (though really, I probably should have just asked you lot...) requiring knowing who to ask, or going on a course to meet people who you can ask.  In an interesting contrast, the testing methods employed by the videogame industry are quite widely known, though it's mainly because they use it as a bit of an excuse for buggy releases  Modern videogames are rather difficult to test, and, due to factors like multi-core concurrency, and the sheer number of variables at any given time, are hard to reproduce.  Also interesting is the consumers' reactions to those bugs - gamers often find them hilariious, rather than irritating, and as long as they aren't particularly detrimental to the program's ability to run (segfaults, etc), become a part of what is known as 'emergent gameplay', where the bug becomes a valid mechanic of the game, mostly because they require very specific sets of commands to reproduce, meaning that only people who're already good at the game get to use them.

At the opposite end of the scale, you have gaming companies like Valve, who spent untold millions on a machine to track playtester's eye movements while they played their games.  Why?  Because nobody had really studied UX in a first-person, three-dimensional, mouse-controlled world.  Once you know roughly where a player is looking, you can begin to reshape the game's world to draw their attention to specific things.  People having trouble finding a door?  Find out where they're pointing, put a giant arrow in their face with a sign marked 'exit'.  Alternatively, move the door to where they're looking.  While not much information has come out of the program, they have specifically said that one of the most difficult things they have to do is 'make the player look up'.

I imagine that the corporate world is vastly, vastly different.  Issues raised against a program cost money to fix, and (While other have disagred, I still stand firmly by this), a company should be maximising profits (seriously.  Ask the shareholders) whereever legally possible.  While the program is in development, you have the (albeit small) luxury of time in which to fix things.  Once issues are raised by clients, though, you risk losing their custom should you not be able to fix bugs in a timely fashion (semi-related note from my customer service background: Studies have shown that a satisfied customer will tell, on average, about 1/10 of a person about their experience, slightly more, if asked.  If things go badly, they'll tell 10.  More interestingly, a study has shown that People who received a bad experience which was then put right in a timely manner both felt more positively about their experience than if things had just gone right in the first place, and are likely to tell the 10 people they moaned to that things were put right, along with some more.  I should be citing sources, and apologise for not doing), and throwing man-hours at the problem can get pricey, even more so if your regression tests fail as you're patching.

Dammit, I had a point when I started typing this.  No idea what it was, now.  Stupid stream of consciousness...

Oh, wait, yes.  So, the discussion here is out of my league, at this point, though I'm trying to keep up.  For some reason, testers are quite the secretive bunch, as far as specifics of the industry go, though that may partly be because I don't know precisely what to look for.  A perfect example would be learning some basic automation.  On the recommendation of a friend, I installed Firefox/Selenium.  While using its 'click to make a script' feature is nice enough, it's hardly professional-level test case creation.  So, let's look at the available scripting languages. There's the built-in 'Selenese' option, which is obviously Selenium-specific, and probably won't be much help in other tools.  So I'm looking at Perl, Javascript, C#, and a couple of others.  Well, I have some experience with Perl regex, from my MUD-playing days, so that's a good start, I guess, though again, I don't know what support for it is like.  Javascript, while great for web-based testing, probably isn't going to be much use outside of that context, and C#, well, I actually don't know much about C# (All opinions stated here are my own, and possibly not based in fact.).  Picking a language to learn is nigh-on impossible, from where I stand, and there's simply no advice out there on which to pick (which brings me back to the 'should have asked you lot, but didn't really want to pester a bunch of professionals' thing).  Obviously this isn't the only 'trade secret' that I don't know, and a great many of them fall are probably questions I don't even know I have to, or can, ask.

@Oliver While Farid has replied since I started typing this, I imagine that an 80% automation of regression testing is not an unreasonable figure.  The companies listed are almost entirely web-based, and the vast majority of the changes they'd be making with such a rapid deployment would be in the backend.  The code that renders the page would probably still work, even if parts of the outgoing data were malformed, as they only act on specific elements of it, and ignore anything that isn't a part of the viewed page.  To say that MS are sending Windows updates out 3x a day would be an obvious exaggeration.  Obvious benefits to extensive automation exist, though - run tests on your lunchbreak, push it out when you get back.  Run them overnight, push in the morning, and so on, depending on the scale of your testing (though of FB, MS, and GOOG somehow run out of resources with which to speed up testing, they've got bigger issues than a slow turnaround.  Even an amateur can use things like www.browsershots.org to check that a page is rendering correctly across multiple browsers, and load testing can often be farmed out by submitting your page to reddit at the right time of day.).  Once a rule has been decided on, it can be automated - create design with readability in mind, then use browsershots and an image processing library to make sure that colours are rendering correctly (I'll bet good money there's a better way to do this, but this is off the top of my head) and in the right places.  Alternatively, run your browser screenshot through an OCR program, then compare the output with the original text.  Instant, automated readability test, not to be run on a page that presents a CAPTCHA :D

But yes, there are, of course, still going to be certain parts that cannot be easily automated.  You can define the 'right' behaviour, and see that things adhere to it, but there will always be an allowable level of imprecision that meat-based testing can cover.  Sure, your embedded flash video at 1080p takes forever to buffer, but is it long enough to stop anyone from watching?  Actually, that's probably something automatable, too, once you set a time.  Boy, do I ever suck at examples, today...

Shutting up, now


John D-W

Oliver Erlewein

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Jun 15, 2011, 8:52:49 PM6/15/11
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@John: Well we can ask Goranka in August when she's at STANZ. She currently works for FaceBook. I'll let you know what she said ;-)

John Dutson-Whitter

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Jun 15, 2011, 9:04:04 PM6/15/11
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Now, now, let's not ruin my layman's speculation with facts, shall we :D

Katrina

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Jun 15, 2011, 11:57:47 PM6/15/11
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I just stumbled across this discussion.

> Picking a language to learn is nigh-on impossible, from where I stand, and there's simply no advice out there on which to pick

My advice would be to just pick one. Once you start, you'll be solving
the same problems and using similar concepts, just writing slightly
different commands syntactically. My experience is that a good mind,
demonstration of a willingness to learn and evidence that you succeed
in your learning are equal to possessing the exact skill that is being
asked for.

Katrina

Oliver Erlewein

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Jun 16, 2011, 6:50:41 AM6/16/11
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Ok, if we're now at that point... My top picks for languages for testers are:

1) Ruby - if not my personal favourite but very common in open source
testing environments)

2) Python - A very good first language and well structured. Good for
data generation, not so good/common for test automation.

3) Visual Basic & derivatives - Most commercial test products use some
flavour or another. Ghastly lamguage though.

4) Unix Shell Scripting - not a language really but does convey
similar concepts. It's excellent for data generation and analysis.
Very powerful mojo and has been around for eons and won't go away
anytime soon. Special focus on things like diff, grep, sed, awk is
good.

Now, when I say learn the language I am talking about procedural
components only. All the object oriented difficult parts can be
skipped as a tester. The worst you'll get confronted with is most
likely to be a for-next loop or a procedure call. For anything more
complex there's a dev team right next door that do this stuff for a
living ;-)

So testers must not know a lot but enough to write simple code that is
enough to make our testing lives easier and more fun.

But what it will also do is give you a sense for development and it's
trickiness. That means you'll become a better tester as you can now
anticipate some of the common development issues or... Translated
you're getting into the developers head ;-)

Anyway now I'll probably be accosted here by all the C#, Perl,
.Net,.... Developers. So have at it and tell me what you think the
right language is and why.

Oliver

Brian Osman

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Jun 16, 2011, 7:22:29 PM6/16/11
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With regards to ruby, there is a very good book written by Brian Marick (original signatory of The agile manifesto, tester, speaker, agile advocate, trainer - you name it, he's done it) called 

Everyday Scripting with Ruby: For Teams, Testers, and You


(see http://www.amazon.com/Everyday-Scripting-Ruby-Teams-Testers/dp/0977616614)

olivernz

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Jun 16, 2011, 8:21:10 PM6/16/11
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Thanks for that Brian! Just ordering it now to put it in our library! ;-)

olivernz

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Jun 16, 2011, 8:21:58 PM6/16/11
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Oh and here with free shipping to NZ:

But might end up being the same price...

Cecile

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Jun 16, 2011, 10:35:26 PM6/16/11
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Amazon UK is also currently doing free shipping for book, music, and dvd orders over £25 (until at least August, I think).

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Everyday-Scripting-Ruby-Teams-Testers/dp/0977616614/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308277955&sr=8-1

Free shipping details:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=200627060

________________________________
From: olivernz <oliver....@gmail.com>
To: software-teste...@googlegroups.com
Sent: Friday, 17 June 2011 12:21 PM


Subject: Re: [stnz] Re: Senior Testers @ Datacom


But might end up being the same price...

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John Lockhart

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Jun 18, 2011, 8:49:17 PM6/18/11
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@Tessa: I have four years’ experience as a tester but have never done automation. Are you saying I can’t call myself a tester? If not, then I wonder what it is I do all day. ... there is no one definition of “Tester”. Many of us fulfil valuable roles in our specific jobs but still come under the umbrella term of “Tester”.

Hi Tessa, 

My more moderate analogy was to a builder who doesn't use electric tools. Just as there are roles in the construction industry  that don't involve hammering or drilling there are roles as "Tester" that don't involve mechanical and repetitive execution of tests. In fact some don't even consider that testing but call it "checking" to distinguish it from exploratory and other testing activity involving creative or imaginative or reflective activities and then there is the whole analysis/planning aspects of testing. However that aside, most people who call themselves "testers" carry out lots of repetitive testing, and potentially would and should carry out more if it was able to be done more efficiently. In that situation not being able to use automated tools for a core part of your job, if they make that work much more efficient, seems to me very odd - apprentice or otherwise.

regards,
            John

Sharma Vishav

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Jun 20, 2011, 4:40:39 AM6/20/11
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Hi guys

I am investing in the book :)  
on the reputation and recommendation of the group
will let u guys know how it is 

cheers 
vdeep

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