I posted a tweet today about what I considered to be the Testing Mantra – Observe, Question, Inform (OQI). Everything we do falls into these 3 categories in one way or another.
The other day, a friend of a friend asked me what I did for a living. I said I was a software tester. He asked me, ‘So what does that really mean and what do you really do?’ As he was not in the IT field, I asked him what he thought it meant. He said, ‘Oh, I guess you try and find bugs and try and break things right?’
This is a common misconception that many make when they hear that you are a software tester. This viewpoint is one of the common reasons other job titles have been spawned like ‘QA Engineer’, ‘Quality Assurance Analyst’, and ‘Test Engineer’, to try and professionalize the job. Finding bugs and breaking software, are causal effects of portions of testing, not the objective of testing.
I responded to him that what I really do is: ‘Observe products, systems, components, code and documentation, question what I find, and inform stakeholders and interested parties of my findings.’
Without getting into technical terms regarding tools, technology or process, I think I summarized it well what I do.
I think part of the challenge of professionalizing testing, is not to try and come up with bogus certifications and training, but in educating people on what it really means to be a tester!
Spread the mantra – OQI!