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I have a dream..a software testing dream

Tester Tested wrote a post on the amount of ISTQB advertisment (direct and indirect) a testing magazine had. His main point was, if its a Professional Magazine for all testers why does it lean to ISTQB all the time? Talk was made of lawyers and being sued for blogging about it.
Whilst I valued the point of his post (many thanks Pradeep), it made me sad. It made me reflect on how divided we are in the testing community. In an area that obviously needs great minds to promote the benefits and value of testing, we instead waste them on picking holes in each others ways of doing things.

Why dont we use our energy on focusing on the real bad guys, like the CEO’s and CIO’s who don’t value the benefit of testing and place software testing under development in the company structure?

Why can’t we complement each other on the positive steps that are being taken in the testing world, instead of resorting to suing each other for defamation?

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the concept of critical thinking and the need to challenge each other, but with that goes the responsiblity of building people up too. My mum had a saying “for every one criticism, give ten encouragements” (or something like that!)

Criticising ISTQB testers alienates the thousands of testers out there who are certified. This us versus them mentality only further divides our community and testers inside it. Not everyone who is ISTQB certified did so because they wanted to. Not every ISTQB certified tester is unable to test in an intelligent way. Many ISTQB testers need to take the certification to get a job. Many ISTQB certified testers may be interested in exploring other testing avenues if their certification was not sneered at in blogs written by ‘experts’ who ought really to know better.

Our focus ought to be on educating and encouraging all testers to examine all testing ideas and make up their own minds on they believe.

After all, it is the tester who is central to testing, not the testing expert.

What in the world do developers, marketing and project managers think of us, squabbling between ourselves on the right and wrong of different types of testing. To these people, testing is all the same thing, they dont understand the finer points of context driven testing Vs IEE 829.

I know, I know  this is all very naive of me, but are we not mature enough now to put or differences aside, respect each others opinions and work together on promoting the importance and benefits of testing to those outside the testing industry?

I have a dream where we are building up testers to test better regardless of creed…….

16 thoughts on “I have a dream..a software testing dream

  1. There are many more practical, working testers out there in the field that feel exactly the same way as you do than one might think.
    I believe it’s important, when pointing out things that appear to be weighted heavily in one way or another, to realize that everyone’s excrement is equally odiferous. No one can say that ANY conference or magazine (and many blogs!) are not slanted in some way. Some due to funding and some due to deliberate choice. If Pradeep was threatened, I’m glad he spit in their eye. I’d do the same. At the same time, the number and type of ads don’t mean much to me. The content of the articles means more to me.

    It’s up to the individual to decide whether the information provided from various venues is of value to them and their individual circumstances.

    This phrase from your post pretty much sums it up for me –

    “After all, it is the tester who is central to testing, not the testing expert.”

    Nicely put.

    – Linda

  2. It’s a good point and there is certainly a divide in the community, which is a shame.
    I can understand why Pradeep wrote the post, especially after the silly threats.

    My fear is that the community divide will only get bigger.

    My policy in life in general is to ignore things I don’t like and focus on the way I’d like things to be and make steps towards them in a positive way. Instead of fighting against something, fight FOR something.

  3. I have a confession to make… I am ASTQB certified. What is that, some may ask… then google it. Why did I get certified? I was hired as a temp at my current place of employment. In order to get a permanent position there, I had to take a test. This test included a large portion of the syllabus for ISTQB. There were other things on the test, but this was something that I studied. After taking and passing the test where I work, I found out that the ASTQB was going to be holding annual testing for certification in a fairly close region. I took money out of pocket and flew down to take the test. When I passed, I placed the certification on my wall in my office. It still hangs there. Why? I will tell you that I am proud of what I did in spite of the fact that it does not help me in actual testing. What did it do then? Don’t I feel like I wasted my money?It helped me to prove my value and my passion for my job. Disagree if you will, but I was there for the after effects of it all. I do not feel like I wasted my money because I did something about what I love in order to show my value. How does getting this certification show my value? To my company it did, and that is all that matters.
    My thoughts on certification are that it does not help testers to learn how to test. It does not assure to a company that a tester can test. Most of the test was memorization. I have an ability to study for tests, so I passed. And, yes, that was all I needed to do… memorize.
    That, however, is not all I have done to promote my career and build my abilities. I read incessantly, I take online courses, I blog, I “cheerlead” at work. I am passionate about what I do and I attempt to inspire others to be passionate about what they do.
    I agree with all three of you in the points you make about tester unity. I do not however believe in testing utopia. There will always be a bit of division among testers and their beliefs. This diversity is what helps to make us think. The differences are what drive us to be our best… whatever OUR best is, it helps us to find our niche.
    As a community at large, I think testers are one of the most honest (maybe to a fault), sharing group of individuals on the planet. The best of the best share with the new kids on the block with patience… this is not common in the cut throat world of business. So instead of concentrating on the differences and the division, I try to see these qualities… when they exist I am quite thankful to be a tester in the 21st century.

    1. I do not however believe in testing utopia. There will always be a bit of division among testers and their beliefs. This diversity is what helps to make us think. The differences are what drive us to be our best… whatever OUR best is, it helps us to find our niche.

      Hi Michelle, thanks for replying, I really respect your work as a blogger. I agree with your point about a testing utopia and the need for diversity, but I dont think it ought to be at the expense of respect of others. But thats just me.

  4. I don’t want you to feel sad, Anne. You’ve written things that have earned my respect. I want you to feel good.
    But we’re in a struggle, right now. The integrity of the craft is at stake. The future of the craft is at stake. It’s not just a question of one school of thought against another school of thought. It’s a struggle between certification universalists who knowingly behave in ways that, if successful, will cause anyone who disagrees with them to be frozen out of the field, and those of us who believe that multiple schools of thought must be allowed to compete in an open marketplace.

    I’m glad that some people are polite and civil about this struggle, and I’m glad that some people are not. I am among those who are not. I am outraged, and my outrage is justified. I understand that outrage creates troubles all its own. But it’s a good thing there are SOME people like me or the entire testing field would be overrun with self-appointed regulators before you polite folks would even react. Indeed polite folks have been reacting, and they are being ignored.

    I’m self-appointed, too. Not a regulator, but freedom fighter. I’m trying to keep the craft free so that you can continue to get work and express your opinions without having to take a certification test that requires you to express beliefs you don’t believe, or promote practices that you don’t actually value.

    If I were to take the ISTQB test, I would get every single question wrong (LITERALLY, *every* *single* *question*)– unless I lied.

    If these ridiculous, shallow certification programs go unchallenged, no engineer or scientist or skilled artisan outside of our community should take us seriously. It’s as if testing is trying to look adult while sucking on a pacifier.

    1. I know I’m too polite, its my convent upbringing…I think challenging the ISTQB certification and the machine behind it is a good thing, and I’m glad you have taken up this cause. What I’m concerned about is the thousands of testers out there, reading testing blogs (presumably because they want to learn more) and being told their qualifications are worthless and in some cases they are worthless. Lets keep the fight clean and focus on who the real bad guys are.

  5. I dont know when the divide started to happen that has grown to an extent of what it is today but I certainly know that we people are fighting for the future betterment of the craft.
    Here is what one of my blog reader posted as a comment long back quoting Hindustan Times: The minority has often been sacrificed for the interest of the majority, no matter how foolish or ignorant the majority and how far sighted and knowledgeable the minority.

    James put up a challenge on his blog saying ISTQB plagiarized his definition of exploratory testing – Are they bothered about it? It does indicate they are ignorant of the benefit or lack of benefit to the testing community.

    I think people like James, Rosie, you, me and others are more caring and worried towards those ISTQB certified testers, the way they test and the way they add value to themselves and to the craft than people at ISTQB who are looking to launch Advanced and Expert level programs to make more money with Foundation level certified testers.

    Sometimes I feel ashamed that I am in a situation that I am fighting with cowards who try to threaten people for criticism but when I see the future where no testers would have to face a situation of being threatened by any organization, I feel it is worth every minute I spend on it.

    What you have written as a post or your dream is fantastic and it brings hope to me that there will be more people like you in the future.

    1. Hi Pradeep,
      I have always respected you’re blog and you have some great posts. Following your above comment, my estimation of you has only grown! Keep up the great work, and I know one day people’s view of testing and certification will change. It has to, to meet the challenges business throw at us.

  6. Anne,
    I like your software testing dream “I have a dream where we are building up testers to test better regardless of creed……” , but I feel as testers it’s our prime responsibility to question – and so even certifications have to be questioned.

    I feel certifications in the market are like “virus”. Some diseases caused by virus could be cured like a common cold, some not like the AIDS, etc. I feel testers who took up certifications because they were passionate, keen on learning might be curable, but if more testers take up these certifications because some X or Y requires it and not because they are very keen on learning. We could only see more and more clients wanting their testers to be certified, companies would invest more in certification institutes to get their testers certified, which might dry the fund for those testers who want to attend a workshop or so on, it’s like those not curable diseases.

    So, how do we protect from a virus? – Precaution or Vaccine, and I feel testers should start taking the required measures to be healthy.

    I apologize if I sound one sided, but I am very afraid of the not curable effects these certifications could have on our testing world.

    -Sharath.B

  7. Anne,
    I came to know about this post from Pradeep. The “suing” episode that he quoted was sad.

    In my opinion, advertising is not bad. Everyone does that. Those who do it and those who question it, both.

    If ISTQB certifications are bad, any reasonable tester would make out. Sometimes ISTQB is blamed for problems and limitations that are true for any certification or course. There would always be limitations with multiple-choice questions based exams but why blame ISTQB or any other certification quthorities for that. What are the alternatives? Are there any other forms established by non-ISTQB certification authorities? Are they perfect?

    I am not into the “regulation” argument. I leave this to the experts that have better understanding about the market scenarios.

    As far as the course contents are concerned especially for Advanced Level ISTQB certifications, I could learn a lot of things from related texts ( should I mention that I am not holding any sort of ISTQB certification, neither did I plan for the same while reading these texts).

    I have mentioned the above because as a tester I learnt from ISTQB texts, and from BBST course from Cem Kaner and James Bach, and from Rapid Software Testing course by Pradeep, and from Q-Patterns by Vipul Kocher, and the list goes on.

    One example is that I saw in BBST how BVA has been re-interpreted in terms of 4 values rather than 6. It made me curious but not much detail was there. I found the same in Rex’s book on Advanced Level Test Analyst exam. This is a beautiful example of how two different courses complemented each other.

    So, where’s the division? If James is against ISTQB, will I stop referring to it? No. If ISTQB authorities are against James’ or Pradeep’s comments and approach, would I stop reading literature by Context-driven guys? No. On the other extreme, I wouldn’t really be moved by any amount of advertising by any of the parties. My last interest would be to read about anything that questions the advertising by the other party.

    I look up to all the experts to write on things from which I as a tester can learn more about testing. Whenever they have chosen to write on testing mindset, techniques and approaches, it turned out into texts that are on every tester’s bookshelf, bookmarks or wishlists.

    May your dream come true.

    – Rahul

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