Friday, 4 January 2013

Testing: What Will 2013 Bring?

I don't make New Year's resolutions. I tried to once and got a stressed and disappointed when I didn't achieve any of them. I think failing at New Year's resolutions is a common occurrence, particularly with the "lose x kg in weight", "exercise y times per week", or "cut z out for a month" ones. There's probably been a study on it and everything! 

So, I don't make resolutions. 

What I do make is a list of things I would like to do in the coming year. It could be mistaken for a list of resolutions, but it's not. It's not, I tell you!!!

 What is on my list of resolu things to do this year? Here goes...

Blog More about Testing

I am a software tester, test manager, consultant, networker, social media user, blog reader, and uTester. I get a lot of exposure to testing, both in practical and in theoretical terms. I often find myself coming up with little tips, tricks, and ideas that make me think "I should blog about that!". And then I don't. So, the first item for me this year is to blog more often. I am not going to go silly by blogging every day! That would lead me to not blogging at all (the old failed resolution pressure again)! I am going to aim for once per month and see where that gets me. 

Learn Enough Coding to Develop Something

I have spent the past few months learning Selenium, and have really enjoyed it. I have been using resources by Alan Richardson which are excellent. The flavour of Selenium taught by Alan uses junit. I get along fairly well with Selenium-RC and Webdriver using junit, but that is mainly just running tests.
What I want to do is actually make something in code! I have a few ideas, but do not have the coding skill to get them to point of going public just yet. This year I want to put at least one item which I made from scratch out there for people to look at, use, refactor, whatever. I already have a little text adventure on github which was written in python. One idea would be to take that and write it in java. This isn't difficult. I think I could handle that already. What I would do beyond that is extend the number of rooms, add a little ASCII art, and a few other bits and bobs. It will never be Zork, but it will be a way for me to work through the odd coding problem on my own. 

Present to my Peers

I spent some of 2012 talking to some of my testing contacts about talking at a networking event, or a conference. The ideas for talks that I have were well met and I have been gently encouraged to put a talk together. When I say gently gently encouraged, I mean "Stop dicking about and get a talk together!" is gently encouraged. This is one item on the list I feel I may actually complete. I have already got the skeleton of a talk. I now need to target a meetup to give me that final push. Watch this space!

Learn a New Testing Skill

This one is a bit vague, but is on the list nonetheless. There are a few areas of testing I would like to explore more, but always make excuses for not doing so. The two main ones that come to mind are performance and security testing. One of the specialities of my company, The Test People, is performance management. I was not hired to be a performance tester and so have had little exposure to the tools we use. Since I usually don't have cause to conduct any performance testing or similar, the way to use the software has been largely forgotten.
As or security testing, I just want to have a play around. I have no wish to become a security specialist, but I definitely have an interest in the field. It is just a case of making time to take a look at tutorials that are available, and see where they take me.

Contribute More to the Testing Industry

And finally the most general item for the list,  contribute more to the testing industry. One could argue that all of the above can be summed up by this point. But then you haven't seen me present or code!
What I actually mean by this point is that I will comment on other tester's blogs more often, put more questions and answers on SQA Stack Exchange (an excellent resource by the way), and maybe keep an eye on the Software Testing Club forums a bit more. That kind of thing.
My reason for this is simple, if you put a balanced well thought out comment on someone else's blog, you open a conversation or debate. Through the replies, you will learn more, and perhaps help others to learn as well.
By asking questions on places like SQA Stack Exchange, one has to think of the correct way to phrase the question, lest ye be marked down! The act of doing this usually sets me on the way to solving my issue. Instead of continuing to plug away at my solution, I am going to also ask on SQA Stack Exchange as that will help me to find other solutions, as well as help others when they encounter the same problems as me. 

And that's it. Five items. That should be doable right? Right!? I tried to do much the same last year, including writing a similar blog post to this one. I didn't manage to post my entry but did manage to complete a couple of the items, the most important of which was learning an automation framework. I hope to build on that this year.

Have a fantastic and prosperous 2013, dear reader. Let's see where this adventure takes us.

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