How to grow from a junior tester into a good tester? Opinion of Alexander Alexandrov

    Where beginner testers learn more or less is clear to everyone: there are many articles, courses, books and manuals. But what to do for those who have grown from June to the middle is not clear. In anticipation of the DUMP conference , we decided to ask well-known testers what they would recommend to juniors who want to grow. The first to answer our questions was the “grandfather of Russian testing” Alexander Alexandrov, test manager at Luxoft, candidate of physical and mathematical sciences, RSTQB expert.

    After what event does the june cease to be a june and becomes a tester?

    Testing is an area that, at first glance, seems very simple for mastering and working in it: "You don’t need to know anything, click on the buttons and that's it."

    June ceases to be a June when he shows interest in this engineering, in this activity. Then the roads to the profession open before him and then everything depends on him - he can grow. He can be a June in terms of experience, qualifications, completed projects. But he may have an inclination, talent, luck for this work. And formally, he is June, he has been working for you for the second week, but he does things that you, a qualified person, do not succeed, because he "kissed my dear forehead." This is very important because some things can be developed to a certain level. Moreover, if you do not want to, but are obliged to do this, it becomes difficult work. June will cease to be a June, when he becomes interested in what he does, when he is awakened with excitement and ambition to become the best. He’s interested in digging, working better,

    Testing is a very complex activity. The tester is looking for software bugs. He does not know if they are, how many of them, where they are, how to find them, but he finds them! Like a sapper, only without a mine detector and blindfolded. If he does, then he is not an ordinary person. And testers - they are all like that, they all have blindfolds. No one knows where these defects are, but they find them. Therefore, testing is a difficult task. This is a task for a person who, on the one hand, is interested, and on the other hand, for a person who is not afraid of difficulties. If a person does everything as it is written, from these to the present, then this is similar to cooking a recipe - you can eat, but wow will not.

    How much does the team influence the development of the tester?

    The team can influence very much, and here I would not highlight the tester. After all, she and the team that all influence each other, and it is important that the process of this influence is properly built. That the process was aimed at achieving common goals - to manufacture a product with high quality. This is the so-called team spirit - team spirit, cohesion.

    Very often, scapegoats are made from testers. As they say sometimes, the success of the project is this, well-done developers wrote great code, the manager did a good job too. And they are testers, they just looked for errors and would have found them without them. But if an error is found during operation, then “why did the testers miss it, why didn’t they find it?” It turns out - to whom the tops, and to whom the roots. This in no way contributes to the focus of the team. Because if you do your job and you don’t get anything but negativity, then at some point your motivation disappears, your desire to work in this team disappears. And 3-4 such teams - and the specialist will start to think “why should I do testing if nobody needs it?” Therefore, the tester should have two important qualities: tediousness and the iron nervous system.

    There are a lot of courses and materials for beginner testers, but what to do “continuing?” How to find really good conferences and events?

    No general recipes. As Tolstoy wrote: “All happy families are alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Testers deal with misfortunes inherently - with problems in projects. I am sure that each project has its own problems. Therefore, to a large extent, continuing testers need to be able to look back, notice their own mistakes and mistakes that everyone has. And try to overcome them. And when the tester overcomes them, he will look for a specific solution to problems. The answer to the question "how not to miss such a bug" can be found in books, training, at some conference. But the universal council "the treasure is buried under that tree" - no.

    It is very important not to calm down and see your weaknesses or ask someone else to point out them, while this should be absolutely real shortcomings. Not so that all dogs were hung on you - “look, the defect is in the food”. Yes, testers missed it, but its developers created it. Nobody ever remembers about this - everyone blames the testers. Therefore, the activity of the tester is also good because it is a profession in which you have to constantly study and continuously improve.

    There are not many testing conferences, so I would suggest continuing to watch everything. But even this does not guarantee that the tester will find answers to his questions there. Because all the same, there must be someone first who will cope with a new problem.

    From the materials I would recommend paying attention to the international organization for certification of testers ISTQB . It has regional departments, including in Russia, it is headed by Andrei Konushin. ISTQB has a fairly large expertise. The materials that are in this organization are absolutely available. They can make a person think and act. There are no answers to questions, but there is world experience in testing, which can be useful to those inquisitive boys and girls in testing who want to grow and develop. There is a large line of levels, each level has its own syllabus.

    At the same time, of course, I do not discount the conferences like SQA Days , and sites(lead by Alexey Barantsev) and (lead by Alexey Lupan). But then again, this must be done quite regularly.

    An experienced cool tester of your dreams. How do you recognize him from a thousand?

    We need to see how he fulfills his production duties. You cannot recognize him from the “crowd” until he begins to engage in testing. And when he starts, then everything will fall into place.

    It’s like in any field. If a person is not “in battle”, then he reasones, he says, praises or scolds himself. Well, why praise when you can show that you can.

    What would you do if not testing? :)

    Of course, I would like to deal with my grandchildren, but, unfortunately, I don’t have any grandchildren yet. I don’t know, I’ve been testing for a long time, since 1974. They even presented me with a star on SQA Days, which says "grandfather of Russian testing." This nickname was invented by my friend and colleague Sergey Smirnov, and then someone heard and as a result they presented me with such a memorable sign.

    I don’t know - for a long time I was also a developer, and I wrote large programs, say 30 thousand lines in assembler. The fact that I am engaged in testing is a great merit of my supervisor from the 3rd year, from a term paper to a dissertation, and my great friend, with whom we maintain relations, now Professor Vitaliy Kaufman. He has been living and working in Finland since 1991, so we rarely see each other. This is a man whom I owe a lot to in terms of my formation, both professional and personal. He is an absolutely wonderful man, and we constantly chat and chat via skype. Communicating with him made me interested in testing. Because it was he who in 1974 just “felt” for that subject area, which I began to deal with under his leadership. In fact, this was the first way into testing.

    I don’t know, I probably would have been someone :) Most likely, I would have been a developer or technical writer, because it also works out. Now, for example, I combine the work of a tester and a technical writer.

    I am too many years old, and I have been doing testing for too long to “rewind” everything now and imagine what I would do 40 years ago. But I hope that it’s much more interesting to deal with grandchildren :)

    In the next post - advice from Maxim Zakharov (SKB Kontur), Ilya Vakhrushev (Exadel), Arseny Batyrov (Badoo) and Anastasia Aseeva (Alpha Laboratory).

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