I was offered to present a topic for the ITB (Indian Testers Board) Testers Meet that happened in Chennai on May 21.
After much thought, I decided to talk about ‘Testers & Networking’.
There is a famous old saying that says, “Two heads is better than one” which essentially emphasizes on how a group of people can brainstorm, generate great ideas and learn more instead of a single person doing it.
Taking this concept further, I am here to share with you about Testers and Networking.
So what’s Networking?
Networking – the dictionary defines it as to socialize for professional or personal gain…What I imply on networking is getting in touch with other testers.
Before actually getting into the details, let me tell you, how I happened to know.
Ever since I started my career in software testing, I always wanted to better myself in this arena. One of the ways that I used to follow most commonly as others was to google for more information related to Software Testing or read testing books.
Also, while I was on my career break, I knew I had to keep up with the latest happenings and trends in the Software Testing Industry. But how would I be able to do it was a big question. Being out of work, I didn’t know how testing had grown in the mean time and how the organization looked at these new trends.
Even though I was able to look up a few things and read it on the internet, I failed to get the complete picture since it lacked the real time experience.
It was during this time, that I landed on Pradeep Soundararajan’s blog site wherein he had pinned his experiences in Software Testing. This caught my attention and I contacted him. Thanks to him that he was willing to share his learnings with me. Thus the journey of networking began and I happened to meet a whole bunch of many other passionate tester friends and my life in testing has never been the same since then.
My sincere ‘Thank You’ goes out to Pradeep, Parimala, Santhosh Tuppad, Bharath & Ajay who are constantly helping me learn so that I be a better tester .
So Let’s See why we should Network
Getting to know the other testers
When we network and reach out, we get in touch with many others with varied experience be it the number of years they have been in the field or be it the domain in which they are working on. We can share and receive wealth of information.
Gain Experience and Knowledge
I have read in one of the books that if we were to learn from our very own experiences then it would take a life time to learn things. Not guaranteed if it could be learnt by then too! And hence the best way would be follow the steps of the person who has already followed the route to success. Networking among the other testers gives you this advantage.
Isn’t it mind blowing that we get to learn so many different new things from many others in the best possible way?
As we network and learn and share from the others, we gain credibility. Gain credibility from our own perspective since it would help us to evaluate ourselves and know where we stand and where we need to improve upon.
Gain credibility from the others how? A person who is dedicated and passionate about what he does is bound to be well known and this is so true in this case also. As you start sharing your learnings and mentoring the others, you gain credibility among the others.
Heard about some passionate testers who are well known globally? – Pradeep Soundararajan, Vipul Kocher, Santhosh Tuppad, Shrini Kulkarni, Ajay Balamurugadas, Parimala Shankaraiah, Dhanasekar S. ? Isn’t it an honour that the above mentioned Indian testers are mentioned by James Bach himself on his blog posts?
And how much more worthwhile it is to learn from the leaders themselves..? Please do ponder.
Access to the right information when one wants to learn something new.
Have you ever realized when you want to know something new, how much you crave to access & learn the right thing? Especially when it comes to preparing for the interviews. Of course there are loads of interview websites out there that promises to provide you the needed answers. But what is the guarantee that the answer there is the right one? Only an experienced person in that particular skill set can be able to provide you with the right information on a concept.
So in that case why not learn from them directly and learn more too?
This is more useful for a person who has just started his career path in Software Testing.
I have seen a couple of instances where newbies have learnt about testing incorrectly going by the answers they read on the interview websites and surprisingly some testing institutes too. This is a serious concern that needs to be addressed because it’s a huge responsibility being a software tester since the stake holders rely on the information and feedback we give to them.
If a person doesn’t know the things right in the first place, how do you expect that person to give the right information? Aren’t the quality norms being violated here in the very first step? Then the whole effort of testing has no meaning at all. Think about it friends.
All said and done, now how do we go about networking and leverage its benefits?
(a) Weekend / Weeknight Testing – www.weekendtesting.com
This initiative was started by group of passionate testers in Bangalore – Ajay, Parimala, Sharath & Manoj wherein they could have a free environment to experiment and demonstrate their testing skills. They used to meet for 2 hrs during the weekend and test an open source application by setting up a mission and deliberate among themselves later and learn.
Now this has gained so much momentum and popularity because of its learning advantages that weekend testing chapters have come up in Mumbai, Europe, US, Chennai and Hyderabad.
Networking helped me make my break period a more productive one in terms of learning more and acquiring new skills in testing. I came across weekendtesting.com. This is was a perfect platform for me to pitch in and learn in my free time.
And what it takes to join there..? it’s just your interest and passion and spending just 2 hours out of your entire weekend.
(b) The Chennai Testers Group
It was started by Bharath to connect all the testers from Chennai. And it’s a great place to learn and share with one another.
Many blog posts are written by globally acknowledged testers and there is a wealth of information shared in their experiences. Reading blogs is one of the very good ways to learn more and equip yourself with good information.
Some of the noteworthy blogs are:
www.testertested.blogspot.com– By Pradeep Soundararajan
http://shrinik.blogspot.com/ - By Shrini Kulkarni
http://www.curioustester.blogspot.com/ – By Parimala Shankaraiah
www.enjoytesting.blogspot.com – By Ajay Balamurugadas
(d) Skype, Twitter and Forums
Forums are a great place to learn & share ideas. A few of the well known testers forums are:
Well then, how is all this going to help you, me and the testers community?
My growth curve is now showing a steady progress ever since I started to network with the other testers. I am getting to learn many new things. I am getting to meet new testers too and my network is growing big.
This was indeed a blessed learning opportunity during career break.
I built a good network of other testers and even to this day we are learning and sharing from one another.
I feel as though I have an entire testing institution with me and I can always learn the best possible way. They are always there to help you and support you…….Trust me :-)
Interaction with skilled testers
It’s a vast testing world out there with people with varied experiences. Interacting with them will definitely help us to a large extent since there is so much new to be learnt from them.
Freshers and experienced can improve their skills by taking part in the testing sessions on weekendtesting.com.
Opportunity to improve skills.
As one learns and explores from the others, they are definitely bound to improve their skills. Reading the blogs from the others, we might as well be inspired to do so. I have been and that’s how I started to blog my learnings. And if you are wondering why you should blog, then do check out Pradeep’s blog post on why there is need for testers to blog. Here is the link – http://testertested.blogspot.com/2009/06/why-good-software-testers-should-come.html
Whew! So much of information shared. so then what are the passionate testers from Chennai doing?
Chennai Testing Group – Highlights
This was started by Bharath. There is so much of information shared and learnt.
Bharath came up with the concept and organized Bug-De-Bug testing conference – It was a golden opportunity to meet many others testers from Chennai and outside alike. It was a privilege to meet & interact with the top notch people in the testing industry.
Then we have the ‘Star tester of the month’ wherein testers from Chennai who contribute towards testing community are appreciated and recognized.
Chennai Testing Group also has a dedicated blog site too wherein you can share your experiences – http://chennaitestersgroup.wordpress.com/
Those of you who wish to be part of the Chennai Testing Group, here is the mailing id – firstname.lastname@example.org
I sincerely hope that we all collectively help grow the software testing craft.