What Does It Mean To Be A Technical Tester?

(Heather) #1

Inspired by this article from @claire.reckless “What Does It Mean To Be A Technical Tester?”

What does it mean to you to be a technical software tester? When this topic came up at the Open Space at TestBash Manchester 2017, it was clear to see from the group of people there that technical meant something very different to everyone at the table. We were all software testers (or QAs if you prefer) but our experiences in the industry seemed to have shaped our feeling about this.

There were a few of us in agreement about certain aspects of what it means to be technical such as how knowing how to use proxy tools felt technical to us. Many agreed that you didn’t need to know automation to be technical. Many disagreed with this point. It was an interesting session!

Do you agree with Claire? Would you add anything to what she has written?

(Simon) #2

I read the article, and I’m probably being a bit thick, but I don’t understand why the need for the label. It feels like we have the constant desire to stick labels on certain skills (or groups of skills), when given the width of testing activities across different industries I’m not convinced of the usefulness of them.

(Jason) #3

I regard it as a bit of a spectrum, ranging from anything involving a bit of a command line access all the way through to coding. If you’re doing a lot of coding, then perhaps Developer in Test* is a better description of what you do.

  • Though in some environments, this term really refers to someone who is building test automation infrastructure, API’s for other testers to use in their scripts and so on.

(Kim) #4

It’s a hard one “labels” I agree with you. I know with some your label can make or break your career and I don’t believe Heather was trying to put labels on anyone but just trying to gain clarity around ‘What does it mean to be a tech tester?’

Interesting though my CTO who is amazing and ensures our team has the opportunity to work almost pure Agile had some great thoughts about that. She told me to tell anyone who askes what am I within the team… I am the Best ME that I can be and that’s what our team asks of everyone and THAT is how we run our teams. :+1:

Isn’t she awesome, so I can forget about the pressure of a label and really focus on the work at hand… The Blockchain

(Phillipe) #5

It’s an interesting question which makes me wonder what the core component of software QA is considered to be. I think if we understood what the core of testing should be then anything above that would be a skill modifier and depending on the level of technical detail required to do that function, would then tell us what technical tester may be.

Personally, I bridle at the term tester as it feels like a very input-output function. More product and less engineering focused. I love that my title is lead QA engineer. It means that not only am I required to understand basic QA modes of thought, organization, planning, and communication - I am also required to understand computer science as a fundamental practice. Given any software configuration, knowing how networking works, knowing a scripting language and an object-oriented programming language, knowing functional programming techniques, front end and back end technologies, APIs and middleware and presentation layers are all part of the engineering mindset. For me, that is technical testing. I can do manual QA, automation, and even developer pull request reviews in a very technical way. I guess, for me, technical testing is doing any of those things in such a way as to have deep knowledge on a subject so that you can understand the realities of your qa practice and how it may affect any level of the development stack.n

(Patrick) #6

To great extent,I think I agree with Phillipe’s comments above about ‘technical’. It’s about the deep knowledge on a subject. If you do, you should know how to do it. Hence I use a very simple way to judge if someone is ‘technical’ - If someone is able to actually execute the tests using whatever ways he/she is good at, I personally think he/she is technical. However, the reality is that some people out there always have lots of test theories/test ideas (knowing the WHAT), when it comes to doing it, they just can’t do it (ie they know WHAT to do but don’t know HOW to do it). Please don’t get me wrong, i was not saying the testing theories or testing ideas are bad, they could have brilliant ideas, which is the very important first step of testing. But to me, it’s not called technical. For example, when it comes to performance testing, most people would just use the buzz word ‘Jmeter’, but then how many of them really understand how to use it to test. Maybe I am wrong, ‘knowing the HOW’ is what I use to judge if someone is technical or not.