Where to start?


A personal story…

It has been a question that kept me busy for a long time, and it is probably a question that many people ask themself once in a while in different situations… where to start???

When I started as a full-time tester a few years ago, after a career as developer and designer, I started with TMap, that is what all testers seemed to do, here in Holland. I never did the exam: I just couldn’t get motivated to get through the book. It was often enough to throw some words around, not that it meant that I understood everything I said. Or that I knew what I was talking about, but, hey, nobody seemed to be bothered. But I still felt I didn’t really know how to /TEST/ anything…

Because I did something good, my employer let me go to Eurostar, in 2007, in Stockholm. That is where I first  saw and heard (of) Michael Bolton – ‘the tester, not the singer’ – with this keynote: … why I am not yet certified … that hit home, hard! There was someone who had a really compelling story. I started following his blog, and other blogs and articles, bought books and began reading and reading.. (and more)

Was I a better tester now…? Did I understand it all? Not really, far from it, I think anyway. But I noticed that many people I met didn’t really know either. And a lot of them spoke as if they did, and I began to see what didn’t add up in some of those stories. Claims that were, well, wrong, in my view.
But how could I become a better tester? How could I really know that what I did was ‘good’? Could I ever? Who could help me?


By accident I read that Michael Bolton came to Holland for a Rapid Software Testing course. I had to be there! And I went. A truly great experience!! And not only that: but other people struggling with similar problems and working and tinkering how they could improve on what they did.

I was already following James Bach’s blog, when I read this one: My Stockholm Syndrome
I just had to react to that. I knew a few people from the RST course and DEWT was born. Now there was a place to talk, discuss, share and get ideas with great people.

I wanted more: I became a member of The Association of Software Testing. And I registered for the AST BBST Foundation course.. that was fun. Hard, too. Much information to digest. Discussions with other testers. Oh.. and I had to grade the work of others (as they did mine, with energy) and I had to explain why I thought something was not so good… Or that it was… And that is not so easy… really.
It was the first course in a long time that really demanded something from me: time, dedication for a few weeks and a lot of hard work with assignments and quizzes and a final exam.

In my daily work I increasingly started to use what I had learned, and learning more while applying it, and discovered I enjoyed talking about testing and discussing testing with my colleagues.

I also did the AST Instructors Course: that might help me even better to understand ‘what the heck’ I was doing. Teaching to others means at least understanding it yourself and also provides a great opportunity to learn from ‘your’ students…

Now I was hooked: I did the BBST Bug advocacy course, too. Telling a compelling story about a bug. When is it credible? When are you just a pain in the a…?

And today I finished the new AST Test Design course, with Cem Kaner as instructor. I was a bit intimidated at first: many people I knew as instructor or at least as very very very experienced where now my fellow students. But what a great group to learn from! One of my fellow students already blogged about it.

But.. I almost lost track of my original idea: “where to start?” or did I? And I discovered that my learning the past few years was a real exploratory journey. I wanted something to learn. And I began walking. Went left, and right and back a few times too. But I learned something every step I took. And I am still learing… from many different people. So, am I a better tester now? I don’t think that is an important question anymore…

The Challenge of Testing is an enjoyable one and I know that there is much I don’t know.

So what would be my final answer to the question I began with…?

I think it is: Begin and explore. Discover and see where the journey brings you. Change course when the direction doesn’t appeal to you. But go! Start! Today!

And for one of those other big questions, I have?
Where to start… blogging… ??

Well, here I think, now…. 😉

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5 Responses to Where to start?

  1. Panna says:

    As I read your blog, I felt someone has put my experiences in a blog.
    But I havent reached there yet is what I feel.
    I was a developer for 10 years before plunging into ‘Testing’. And, when I started, I always felt that I am missing something ( and still feel ). It is then I started reading James Bach, Michael Bolton and Pradeep Soundararajan, Cem Kaner. I underwent BBST course too.
    It has been 2+ years of testing. I am still learning.
    thanks for the post, feels good to know that there are a lot others like me.

    • Ray Oei says:

      Thanks! There are many more, really. Ever did RST? If you have the change, take it.
      It is all about learning, that never stops. That is also why it is fun 😉


  2. Pingback: New in the Blogosphere | DEWT

  3. Coach Rye says:

    Nice read! I am actually looking for inspiration to start writing about my testing experience. This helps a lot. Thanks.

  4. Pingback: Why I am context-driven – Ray Oei …. I think….. | DEWT

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