Shrini writes: How does a good tester keep his testing abilities sharpened all the times. compare it with keep our body fit as we grow old ( walking, jogging and going to Gym, eating healthyfood etc) – what you suggest for keeping “Tester health”? in “fit and sound”? condition?
Testing is analysis and problem solving. Here is what I did, this past week:
- I solved about 50 problems from the book “Lateral Logic Puzzles” with my son.
- Paul Jorgensen sent me an exploratory testing challenge, in the form of a spreadsheet with a bug in it. I investigated the bug and wrote a play-by-play description of what I did.
- I wrote a Perl script to generate some experimental tests.
- I practiced Sudoku with my Nintendo DS Sudoku game.
- I analytically solved a conditional probability problem (the taxicab problem) that is often associated with the Representativeness Bias. This was part of working out a testing exercise based on that bias. (Then I tried the new exercise with Michael Bolton.)
- I read some of a testing book from 1986 that Mike Kelly lent me. I’m trying to characterize the difference between “modern” testing ideas and those from 20 years ago.
- This morning, I derived the formula for calculating the distance to the horizon based on eye level. It’s been a long time since I did trigonometry, but it was fun rediscovering sines and cosines.
- I listened to a few hours of lectures from the Teaching Company about Neo-platonism and other philosophical trends of the dark and middle ages.
- I skimmed several articles, including Knowledge And Software Engineering: A Methodological Framework To Symbiotic Software Process Modeling, and Blooming E-learning: Adapting Bloomâ€™s Taxonomy into the content of e-learning course to promote life long learning through Metacognition, and Third Cybernetic Revolution: Beyond Open to Dialogic System Theories.
It may not seem like it from the titles, but they have a lot to do with analyzing testing practices and becoming a better tester.
- I received Pradeep’s Soundararajan’s startlingly incisive answer to the Wine Glass factoring exercise I gave him (“Describe all the dimensions of a wine glass that may be relevant to testing it.”), which helped me see more angles and subtleties to my question. Then I transpected with Michael Bolton as he worked through the same problem.
- I worked on answers to testing questions submitted by my readers.
As you see, I stay sharp in testing by finding and solving problems, including testing problems; and reading or listening to philosophical ideas that I use to understand testing better; and by trying to help other testers learn, or by watching them learn; and by actually testing.
I’m not in a project, at the moment, for a paying client. If I were, I would be staying sharp by solving problems for my client. I do my best to find excuses to learn new things while working for pay.
When I worked at Apple Computer, I often stole away to the Donut Wheel, across the street, to read about software engineering. When I worked at Borland, I stayed late and worked on test methodology documents and articles. At SmartPatents, I learned Perl and formed my first thoughts about agile test automation.
Some people, and I know you are like this too, Shrini, sharpen themselves no matter what else is going on.