We Need Better Testing Bloggers

I don’t understand the mentality of bloggers like this guy. His view of the history of testing is a fantasy that seems designed to insult people who study testing. It applies at most to certain companies, not to the field itself.

He says we need a better way to test. Those of us who are serious testers have actually been developing and demonstrating better ways to test for decades, as we keep up with technology. Where have you been, Steve? Get out much do ya?

He thinks automation is the answer. What a surprise that a programmer would say that. But the same thing was said in 1972 at the Chapel Hill Symposium. We’ve tried that already. Many many times we’ve tried it.

We know why automation is not the grand solution to the testing problem.

As a board member of AST, I should mention the upcoming CAST Conference— the most advanced practitioner’s testing conference I know. Go to CAST, Steve, and tell Jerry Weinberg to his face (the programmer who started the first independent test group, made up of programmers) all about your theory of testing history.

Also, Jerry’s new book Perfect Software and Other Illusions About Testing, will be available soon. It addresses misconceptions like “Just automate the testing!” along with many others. Jerry is not just an old man of testing. He’s the oldest among us.

Conscientious Uncertification

I’m thinking of having badges made which say “Conscientiously Uncertified.” It’s for those of us who want to resist the dumbing down of our craft by cynical consultants promoting bogus tester certification programs.

For me, when I see that someone is certified as CSTE, ISEB, ISTQB, or CSTQE, I immediately think “there goes someone who was bullied into compliance.”

Any suggestions for what the badge would say?

Here are some options:

  • Conscientiously Uncertified
  • Certification Objector
  • Uncertifiable
  • No Bullies
  • Proud to Be Uncertified

I should have a logo made, so like-minded freedom fighters can post it on their blogs. By refusing to give in to the thugs of certification, a tester shows he can follow a more difficult and more admirable path: self-education and self-certification.

Side Note: There is one certification program coming along that looks worthwhile, to me: the AST BBST certification. It will be difficult to obtain, based on demanding online coursework. It will not claim to be anything more than a certification that the tester has successfully made it through the course(s). Some of it is already available through the AST. The rest is coming. So far, the courses are free to AST members.

I will probably not be able to get this certification (I’m too disruptive in class), but at least I helped create it.

A View From Inside ISTQB/ISEB

Alan Richardson writes this commentary from inside one of the stupidest of the certification programs: the ISTQB (well, he says “ISEB”, but by all accounts, it’s being taken over by ISTQB stormtroopers).

Long ago I also tried to change a certification program from the inside. I also failed. Now I do my best to cultivate the community of people who rise above it. As Alan points out, rising above can be difficult, because of all the poor fools who’ve been duped into believing that an ISTQB tester certification actually means something important.

What such certification really means is that, in England, and several other countries, certain unscrupulous or plain ignorant consultants are able to hold the testing craft for ransom, and almost no one will call them to account. Some of the perpetrators know full well what they are doing, but many of them, I think, know so little about testing that they honestly don’t realize what harm they do to the industry.

— James