How to set up a testing portfolio

(Kim) #1

Does anyone use a digital portfolio displaying manual & automated test cases? I am wanting to build one for myself and have a few questions:

  • how did you go about setting it all up and how long did it take

  • free tools any suggestions

  • did having a portfolio make the difference in securing contracts

  • would anyone be willing to share theirs

I would appreciate any advice in this area or links as I am currently writing up a road map to guide me through the formation process.

Thanking you in advance - Kim


(Chris) #2

I don’t have a portfolio of test cases. I can tell you why if you want to know. What I do have is a portfolio of other artefacts:

  • Presentation materials including handouts
  • Records of process improvement projects I’ve designed and run, including numbers for results
  • Examples of test session notes (I don’t share these between companies without permission)
  • Examples of programs and frameworks I’ve written for tools, scripts and so on
  • A large body of knowledge on testing collected in one place, including many notes from self study

This tells people:

  • I know what I’m talking about, and can tell other people about it
  • I know how to code well enough to write tools and scripts to support testing
  • I can write clear and concise session notes to the resolution required by the project
  • I’m interested in process improvement and can and have actioned projects to improve processes including measuring that improvement
  • I research, learn, and take notes, and I have a valuable knowledge base I can bring to the company

For this I use:

  • Paper: Handouts, slides, notes
  • OneNote: Knowledge base, notes portfolio
  • PDFs: Handouts, copies of slides
  • JPGs/PNGs: For screenshots of my tools
  • Various file types: For code, slide decks, and so on

I keep some of this in Google Drive and some of it on OneNote.

If you’re interested in making a test case portfolio I’d imagine it’d depend on what you’re trying to say with it, and what format your test cases are in. It’ll also matter that under most contracts any test cases you write at work belong to the company you work for, and may be considered secure data, so you may want to talk with your local securification personette. If you’re going the test case route make sure that whatever tool you use allows you to comment the cases. You want to add the purpose of the case, and why you’re awesome for writing them, to your case examples. This is for two main reasons: 1. cases should have a purpose attached to them because it makes them readable, understandable and maintainable - it’s easier to fix or delete a case when its intent is explicit, and it should show that it’s serving the test strategy. 2. Reading test cases is even more boring than writing them and you don’t want to bore a prospective employer. Employers aren’t heroes who properly assess each candidate’s full experience and personality, they’re fallible and sometimes arrogant humans who usually size up a candidate in the first minute and don’t bother to read a CV properly. If you’re giving them examples of good work they should speak for themselves or you need to speak for them. If someone showed me test cases I’d ask “Okay, what’s great about that? Anyone could write a test case, why are these so good you’re decided to show them to me?”

I have hired before, I know things nobody should have to know about this process. People who hire can be busy people who don’t care about anyone and love to sit and judge others, and your job is to present yourself as perfect for the role (without lying) and better than the next person (by your presentation, readiness, examples of good work and astute self-examination). I’d say that being likeable outweighs a solid body of work, and a portfolio that requires any significant effort to absorb is worse than having no portfolio at all. If you’re going to present test cases as something you’re awesome at then take your best examples (they’ll assume everything you do is no better than what you show them) and display them in an obvious way and say why you think it’s worth their clearly valuable time to glance at it.

I went on a fantastic course once taught by the head of a recruitment firm. He taught me to see the hiring process from the perspective of the person hiring. We did an exercise where we had to find the best CV for a job advert… and it was obviously the one that matched the most buzzwords. This taught me to tailor my applications to job roles. This is what you need to do - have a master portfolio and extract what’s most suitable and exciting for your employer. Would you refuse you an interview if you were hiring for this position?

I have a vast portfolio collected over many years and I can only share parts of it at a time. I try to see what a company is looking for and organise my notes to fit their needs. I find it most effective when used at interview, as it’s impressive to have my notes suddenly extracted and presented as proof of the things coming out of my mouth. “Not only do I say interviewy things, I actually do them, and here’s a real example” is an impactful statement. Companies nowadays seem to want examples of behaviour, and much less waffle about what I think I’m like.

I hope any of that was useful!

(Kim) #3

Thank you for the feedback. I appreciate the effort you went to. :+1:

(Jesper) #4

I could never share the test cases I have as they are specific to the project and customer and under NDA etc.

Consider to host your portfolio either on GitHub or a blog/website. Depending on the content and what platform you want to look into learning. Perhaps consider to have the testcases aiming at

Perhaps one approach could be to share something technical, similar to this by @daniel.dainton

(Kim) #5

Coming from working in finance sector I wouldn’t share test cases either as I don’t own them and privacy reasons too.
What I thought of doing was setting up everything from scratch, web site including library, web/db servers, automation framework etc having this all on my local but use a Github account for display purposes. Include some API, UI UX Functional/Non-Function test cases created especially for my site. As proof to prospective companies this is what/how/why I do things and be creative using as many free tools as I can to complete the task. Fingers crossed it works.

(Maaret) #6

I just stumbled on this discussion, and wanted to thank you for a question that made me think. I remember considering some kind of portfolio of work samples before, and never ended up making on.

Instead I have other things I refer to:

My CV shares stories of some highlight successes from my most recent job (which reminds me, time to update).

My blog includes examples of how I exploratory test some features I have been able to share.

I have a story about almost everything. And a lot of materials on slides (creative common attribution, needed that early on to protect material when moving) from sharing what I’ve learned.

The stories have been very powerful for me.

(Kim) #7

Thank you Maaret, very insightful information and it seems there are many ways testers are identifying and displaying their abilities to prospective clients/employers.

I agree stories and taking ones on the journey with you is very powerful.

Cheers Kim