My journey as a software tester

I have never thought that I would become a software tester in my life. And I have never thought that software testing was a really challenging career and requires more exploration on topics related to testing.

I would like to share my interesting two years of journey as a software tester and the important things that I have learned during my journey.

I have started my career in software testing as a test engineer in Siemens Chennai where I need to test a simulation software related to Mechatronics Engineering. I was hired based upon my knowledge in Mechatronics and basic programming knowledge on python.

When I started testing the software,I was really struggling to find bugs as the software was complex and I had no idea about software testing. I was just executing the scenarios mentioned in the QC document and did a free test after executing those scenarios.

Each time if I had found a bug, I would ask developers whether it was an expected behavior often. I felt a bit awkward that I wasn’t able to ensure that it was a bug. So, I thought of learning about testing from it’s basics and came to know a lot when I started exploring it.

Hands on testing a software is the best way to learn about testing:

I did the ISTQB exam by myself by learning from a book called ‘Fundamentals of software testing’ . Unfortunately, I was not able to crack this exam in my first attempt as I need to remember a lot of terms. And I was stunned to see questions on the ISTQB code of ethics. So, I was not satisfied with it. I thought that answering multiple choice questions won’t help me that much when I am doing real time testing.

So, I took the ‘Rapid software testing applied’ course taught by James Bach. In this course, I came across this definition which provided clarity for me on what testing is.

Testing is the process of evaluating a product by learning about it through experiencing, exploring and experimenting, which includes to some degree: questioning, study, modelling, observation, inference etc..

James Bach and Michael Bolton

I had an opportunity to test the software called ‘Meerodrop’ which was a file sharing website platform. I learnt how to use heuristics and oracles during the course. I had received comments for my session reports and bug reports which helped me a lot to improve my testing and came to know that I need to learn a lot. After taking up this course, I had an opportunity to attend the testing lab workshop by Ajay Balamurugadas where I learned to work in a team and identified the mistakes that I made. The feedback was really useful for me to improve my testing, particularly note taking.

Networking leads your career in a right path:

I thought of sharing my thoughts in testing in order to evaluate my knowledge. So I have started writing posts and articles in Linkedin. Comments from my posts and Linkedin from different people shaped my learning and got connected with new people who were experts in testing. I constantly pinged people personally in Linkedin messenger to learn from them. That’s how I got the contact from James Bach, teacher of rapid software testing. He was the one who exposed my weakness in asking questions and helped me to improve my testing through his valuable comments and suggestions.

I have even presented my learning experience with rapid software testing. Thanks to Brijesh Deb, the enabler of ‘The Test Chat’ group who motivated me to learn and to deliver a talk to the group. That is how I got connected with many people and my performance in my work also improved.

Testing heavily depends upon the context:

During the interview, the interviewer asked me to write some simple python program on the board.I thought that I would be writing automation scripts. Later I came to know when learning about the simulation software that I need to test, there were features which use python programs to simulate the models and do mathematical calculations with plot display.

I have even written python automation scripts for this software using a tool called Squish Qt. When I started testing deeply, I came to know that learning the basics of programming with OOPS might help to test such simulation softwares very efficiently which was used by Automobile, Aerospace, Robotics, Mechanical and Mechatronics engineers.

Key Takeaways:

From these experiences, I have understood that

  1. Doing hands-on testing on any software that a tester would like to test would make them better than doing certifications. Even though they did a certification, they would need to apply those learnings so that they would understand that it was right for them.
  2. Networking would help testers in developing their skills as well as their personality both in personal as well as in professional life. Joining in the testing communities at an early stage in career would be a lot helpful for new testers to get proper guidance from testing experts.
  3. Testers do not need to learn to code but if they know coding they could be involved in testing complex simulation software and it would be useful for automation also. It made me realise that testers should be ready to test anything such as websites, mobile apps, Desktop apps , embedded systems software and AI systems.

Overall my journey as a software tester was really challenging and exciting. But my journey will continue as there is a lot more to explore and learn new things as my quest for knowledge never ends.

About the Author:

Balaji Santhanagopalan | Test Engineer

I am Balaji Santhanagopalan working as a Test Engineer in Siemens Chennai. Before Joining in Siemens, I was working as an Engineer in a startup company called Sysenso systems in Chennai where I have been trained in Matlab programming and python programming basics.

I am passionate about software testing. I love to read books and recently started writing posts and articles in Linkedin.

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