How the 'Tester's Mindset' Can Be a Barrier or a Bridge for Software Testing
Have you ever wondered what makes a good tester in today’s fast-paced and collaborative software development? Do you think you need to be born with certain traits to be a tester, or can you learn them along the way?
Below, I share my journey about how I learned to question the stereotypes and gatekeeping of the so-called “testing mindset”. I explain why I think anyone who is curious about how things work can be a tester and why testing is not just about finding bugs but about helping the whole team deliver quality software. This takes all kinds of people with all kinds of mindsets.
“The Testers Mindset”
“A tester must be slow, methodical, detail orientated and document everything they do.”
The above is a sentiment I have heard echoed in different ways throughout my testing career. As I have gained more experience, knowledge, and skills from working on different projects and teams for over seven years, I have come to question the notion that testers need to possess certain natural traits. This is especially true as we shift towards continuous or holistic testing and away from the QA bug swatter.
It’s so much more simple
I believe that, if we are going to refer to a “testing mindset”, we should keep it simple. I really think anyone could be a tester in some sense; however, to be a tester who will enjoy and stay in the position, I think you need one thing.
An interest in how things work.
Did you ever take apart something as a child just to see what made it work? Did an adult ever tell you to stop asking why and how, but you just needed to know?
That’s it; it’s that simple. With the right amount of work and dedication, you could be a software tester, and believe me, the industry needs you right now.
Build Bridges not Barriers
I don’t know how things are in other parts of the world, but here in the UK, we are desperately short of testers who are passionate about their work. Many testers are just using testing as a stepping stone to something else. The number of testers who are genuinely excited and curious about testing is so limited that I can’t imagine needing to gatekeep this industry at all.
I’m positive this industry has room for testers who are slow and methodical, I think there is also room for testers that are quicker moving and scrappier. There is room for testers who like to document and those who like to use their code and work as documentation. There is room for testers who like to get their heads down and not talk to people and those who like to do more talking and team building than actual testing.
In Agile/Continuous testing/holistic testing teams we need testers that are going to think about testing all the way through the SDLC, and this is going to require different types of people working well together. A tester should not be considered a last line of defense or someone who should catch every bug. Quality is down to the whole team and a tester is someone who is helping facilitate this quality mindset.
In my opinion we gain nothing from gatekeeping our industry by stating that testers are built a certain way and that you must be this way to join.
Let’s remember that we are all malleable. People have innate qualities that they can use day-to-day and they have other skills that come less naturally but can be learned for when the team needs them.
If we are going to continue using the “testers mindset” lets turn it into a bridge to reach out to people on the fence about testing and show them that they can do it; they can be the very thing we need.