I’m very grateful for my career and everything I have experienced, but I wish I’d been mentally stronger at times and worried less about certain aspects of my career. That’s why I have written a new book. It’s a book for myself now, and 20 years ago. It’s a book I wished I’d had back then, and a book I’m glad I can refer to now.
The book is called How To Thrive As A Web Tester. It’s useful for those who aren’t testing websites too, but the second half of the book is all about how to test websites (it’s an updated and tidied up version of my Web Testing Basics mini-site – now defunct). The first half is about how to be a great tester and thrive in the industry.
I do hope the book is helpful for anyone working as a tester or thinking about starting out in this industry. Below is the Table Of Contents and some sample content.
You can buy the book on Amazon UK, US, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, India. (All in English. No translations available). It’s a short book, but mightily useful.
- IT’S SUBJECTIVE
- WHAT A PERFECTLY AMAZING TIME TO BE A TESTER
- THE INDUSTRY IS IN TURMOIL – APPARENTLY
- THE INDUSTRY IS RIFE WITH MEDIOCRITY
- YOUR JOB IS TO SHIP SOFTWARE
- BETTER IS A BEAUTIFUL WORD
- AUTOMATION IS THE FUTURE AND TESTERS WILL BE OUT OF A JOB
- THINK BIG
- COMMUNICATE WELL
- WHO DO YOU WORK FOR?
- TREAT PEOPLE LIKE PEOPLE
- MISTAKES ARE AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN
- AVOID SILOS
- JUST ADD VALUE
- SOLVE PROBLEMS AND STEP OUTSIDE OF YOUR JOB ROLE
- DON’T AVOID BAD WORK
- MENTOR AND FIND A MENTOR
- IGNORE THE EMOTIONAL VAMPIRES
- RISK IS SUBJECTIVE
- DON’T PUBLICLY CRITICIZE OTHER COMPANIES AND TELL THEM THEY SHOULD HAVE TESTED MORE
- GO TO CONFERENCES
- DON’T TRY TO MEASURE THE PRODUCTIVITY OF TESTERS
- LOOK BEHIND THE SCREEN
- ASK QUESTIONS
- ACCESSIBILITY TESTING
- CROSS BROWSER TESTING
- BROWSER EXTENSIONS AND ADD-ONS
- SNIFFING HTTP AND HTTPS
- CHECK FOR DEAD LINKS
- IS IT SECURE?
- CHECK THE PERFORMANCE
- TAB ORDER
- API TESTING
- EXPLORE THE COMPETITION
- COMPLIANCE AND CLAIMS
- CHANGE THE URL
- MULTIPLE SESSIONS, TABS AND WINDOW
- SOME IDEAS FOR EXPLORING AROUND SECURITY FLAWS
- AUTOMATE TEDIOUS CHECKS
- BACK TO THE BEGINNING AGAIN
- SEE THE SOURCE
- RESIZE THE WINDOW AND RESOLUTION
- DISABLE CSS
- USER ACCEPTANCE TESTING
- IS IT MOBILE FRIENDLY?
- RACE CONDITIONS
- TEST IN-SITU
- TOO MANY BROWSER EXTENSIONS
- REFRESH DURING PAGE LOAD
- THROTTLE THE BANDWIDTH
- BLINK TESTING
- PRINT IT OUT
- CHANGE THE LOCALE
- USER EXPERIENCE – UX
- BLOCK POP-UPS
Like most Testers, I fell in to the industry and spent a turbulent few years wondering whether I should continue as a Tester, or jump ship and find something else to do.
My day was spent clearing up the mess caused by poor design, poor code, poor management and poor communication.
It felt like my job was nothing more than verifying that the product did what the specification described. Not. Very. Thrilling.
Why was I not allowed to ask questions about what the product should do before we built it?
I was bored.
It’s not that the people were boring, or the product was boring, but the approach to testing was boring.
I was so disillusioned with how we were testing that I would ignore the pre-defined scripts and explore the product hunting for bugs. It made testing interesting.
I would ask deep searching questions of myself, the product, the specification, other people, the process, the business, the management – anything.
I started to explore the product and found more bugs than anyone else. I found obvious problems, not so obvious problems and some bizarre ones too. I caused trouble. I deviated. I was restless. I got told to follow the script.
I was done with this industry.
That was until a few things came together.
- I found a great job testing websites, rather than client apps.
- That same company were agile – they wanted to ship software with the least amount of friction and were willing to do what it took to get there.
- I got involved with the testing community and realised there were other people as restless as I was.
- I started a blog – I found a creative outlet for my thoughts and writing. It was therapy.
I’d discovered how to test websites and thrive in my career at the same time.
This book contains over 30 ideas on how to test websites. It also contains advice on how to thrive as a Tester and have a career you can be proud of.
I haven’t held back. I’ve created a book I wished I had read 20 years ago.
I do hope you find what’s contained within useful. I do hope you enjoy it.
Rob, Winchester, 2018.
Being a good Tester is subjective. What I look for in a Tester will not be what someone else does.
We are all on our journey and path in life. No-one can say their path is better than anyone else’s. We are in different seasons of life too where we are motivated by different ideals, goals and drivers.
There are Testers who code. Testers who manage. Testers who teach. Testers who write. Testers who do all of this and more.
We are all, thankfully, different. There is no single model we should all fit. The world would be a pretty dull place if that were the case.
So, ignore those who try to pigeon hole, label and create divides and say you MUST do this.
Be the best that you can be.
And you will likely find people like you and managers who are looking for someone like you.
Saying that, observe the trends, stay relevant, but conform to your own beliefs about what a good Tester should be like. And don’t force this belief on others.
What a perfectly amazing time to be a Tester
The world is grappling with mobile, cloud, distributed systems, big data, data protection, security, social media and a whole host of exciting tech challenges.
You’ve picked a good career.
The industry right now is in a boom and it’s an exciting time to be a Tester.
Nothing’s changed though really. Sorry.
It was an exciting time to be a Tester when I started out too. Imagine – my first testing job was when the World Wide Web had just launched. Mobile phones were just about becoming a “must have”. I feel old.
Your job is to keep up to date with what’s happening, ask how it might affect your job or how you approach testing. Your job is to get involved with new ideas, movements and embrace the technology that floats your boat.
Don’t worry too much though, just keep your eyes on the news and keep learning.
Pick something and learn it. It will likely be out-of-date soon, or surpassed by something else. Don’t let that stop you though – just pick something and learn it.
What never goes out-of-date is a Tester’s ability to find problems, ask tough questions and work well with others. Focus on developing those skills and you’ll make a great Tester whatever the tech stack you’re working on.
And now is a perfectly amazing time to be a Tester.
Why aren’t you already the best Tester you can be?
Maybe you are. Maybe you aren’t.
If you aren’t as good as you can be, it’s because you haven’t yet decided to be the best version of yourself yet. It’s as simple as that.
Decide today to be the best Tester you can be. Done. Easy.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t blindly follow what others are doing. Don’t try to be better than anyone else. That road leads to misery, burnout and frustration – trust me – I went there once.
Focus on your own path and your own journey and be the best that you can be.
It all starts with deciding to be the best version of yourself. Decide.
Grab the book here
You can buy the book on Amazon UK