Ep 25: A Year In The Life Of

Listeners, first, an apology. I have not, would not, could not abandon this podcast. Turned out I just needed a break. But I am back! Stronger than ever, and I’ve got a couple of podcasts recorded, so I can get ahead of the game again.

This Tuesday marked my year anniversary at my current job. This is my first job where I’ve felt fully like a tester – not also first line support, which took up more of my time – but mostly a tester.

I’ve learned a lot – mostly how much I need to learn. I started this podcast in order to learn, to force myself out of my comfort zone a bit, and I think it’s succeeded. I met some amazing people and realised how many amazing people I’ve yet to meet.

Its also taught me a lot about myself.

When testing a product you’re testing your own biases. The edge cases you miss that others pick up are really interesting, once you get over the feeling of failing being wrong. You can see what you missed and why. That’s why UAT is always an interesting time to me. It shows me the priorities of the client, how they interact with the system, things like that. And then you can look back over the project and see what factor may have affected you missing the bug:

  • Time/workload issue
  • Time constraints like work was finished later than expected for whatever reason
  • Lots of projects competing for time
  • Not fully engaging with testing the bug/feature

(All of the above applies to AC as well)

  • Misunderstanding of the feature by the tester or the developer

I have missed things; things that I probably should have caught. It was demoralising at first, but then I realised that it was something to learn from. My pre-tech job was a dispensing assistant in a pharmacy, and so the pressure (our timelines were measured in minutes, from script hitting the dispensary to meds in the patient’s hands, not sprints spread over weeks) and mistakes were different (I was in the position of having my work checked by a pharmacist, but the pharmacist, much like testers, should be sanity checking more than just checking for mistakes). And that took some getting used to, the idea that I could spend some time on each test without it blowing our figures and still hitting the deadline.

Another thing I’ve learned since becoming a tester is the community is excellent. Endlessly passionate and willing to help out. Not one to mince words, but I’ve never seen any outright meanness.

I’ve been encouraged by people I’ve never met to do this podcast, to keep on doing what I’m doing, and that’s amazing. I don’t always have the time to contribute as I’d like but I learn a lot from just reading the slack messages, the forums, and the blogs and comments.

I can make some new year in testing employment resolutions, right?

I need to get to a meet up, so I can get more involved. I am trying for November’s NWTG; I think this is the third I’ve tried to get to, and something’s come up? But I’m hopeful I can make this one.

I also really really need to get to a conference. I’m aiming for TestBash in Brighton next year.

I want to carry on doing this, I’m halfway to 50 now, so I may as well get there, right?

As always, if there is anything you want me to talk about, any feedback, suggestions, criticisms, if you want to collaborate, please get in touch!

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