What does testers like to learn these days?

I am curious what testers are interested to learn these days There are many conferences and workshops around us and they offer different types of workshops and talks addressing soft skills to technical skills. But what do you like to learn? What you think is missing?

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I’ve been learning a lot about Psychology and Cognitive bias recently. Not necessarily Testing related but it’s an area I’m really interested in.


Interesting! I’ve not thought about the psychological aspect. Is there a particular reason to learn about it? or just curious?

I think it’s very necessarily testing related. It’s a symptom of how we think and why we need science to discover truth and what applied epistemology is about. Science and epistemology are about learning. Testing is learning. So cognitive bias is a very real reminder, not only of the need for critical thinking and processes independent of raw observation, but of the humility required to reflect on our failings, why we use heuristics and the need for multiple oracles (which are falliable but workable) to arrive at a reasonable conclusion.

So if you’re interested in it you’ve got yourself a pretty fun career!


in my case i’m learning about SAP Process for example the latest one is SAP HCM, so if i’m going to be testing Human Resources module i want to understand exactly how do that work.


So it is a specific/ targeted skill you are learning that might be helpful in a future opportunity?

I’m reading “Management 3.0” right now which focuses on leadership, management and guidance in complexity within modern agile teams. Though management is not my ambition.
Instead of just criticizing people I’ll learn to also offer good alternatives and work towards solutions. :slight_smile:

The writer of the book suggests that management is the single most frequent obstacle for teams that want to work in an agile way.
My experience has been the same, but I figured I need to study up to tackle those issues.

Before that I’ve studied learning styles (as Kinofrost correctly said: Testing = Learning (and evaluation)), cognitive biases and systems thinking.

I’ve been trying to teach myself to code, which is interesting and challenging but I usually don’t get far.
It interests me less than other fields that bring equal value to the testing field.

It doesn’t matter too much exactly what you’re learning, as longs as it is applicable in your craft. You do need to find out what interests you and how it can help you.
Always be learning.


yes, in my case because this is not the only client who use the HCM module for example so i have more experience on the process and not only the technical side of the ERP.

So my testing can have more value.


I am all about cognitive biases, and psychology, and accessibility, and UX at the moment. I’m fascinated by how we access and interact with websites (I’m a web tester), and how this is evolving. Harry Collins touched on this at Brighton when he said that computers are social protheses and we as testers need to come up with better/more relevant Turing tests for AIs.

I recently read about a talk where the speaker mentioned people with ADHD/attention issues using ad blockers to help them focus on only the relevant info on the page, and cut down on distractions, which is something I’d never thought of. It’s these kinds of gaps, especially as we do more online on smaller/bigger screens, that I’m really interested in.

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I’m studying complexity theory and the Cynefin framework, and I’ve also recently started reading about different organizational subjects connected to lean and large-scale agile. Highly recommend reading “The Fifth Dicipline - The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization” by the way.

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I’m currently a software developer and for the past year I have been looking to make the move in to a test role.

In my quest to move I’ve been trying to asses what testers are up to these days, what the requested skill set is etc. I was surprised by how many roles requested ISTQB on the job profile but when I got to interview it was just a box ticking exercise and actually the interviewers stated they don’t really care about the qualification - they recommended the BCS Agile Testing or Rapid Software Testing!

In my quest to move disciplines I’ve also been really surprised by the number of companies who seek what I would consider fairly techy requirements. I work alongside some very talented testers who’ve been testing for 5+ years and so asked them about some of the job adverts I had seen recently like the below:


Experience testing web applications (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) and/or web services (REST, SOAP)
Experience with BDD, Cucumber
Coding automated tests with Java, JavaScript or similar languages. Experience with frameworks such as Protractor, Selenium Webdriver, REST Assured or similar
Experience with Continuous Integration / Delivery pipelines and tools such as Jenkins
Linux command-line / bash scripting or similar

Are companies being greedy and expecting to much or is this the natural shift in the testing world?

I was lucky enough to be offered the above role which unfortunately I had to turn down due to the travel but have since been offered two other lead test automation roles. In my attempt to switch from developer to tester I’ve applied for three jobs, all which have been offered to me but can’t help but think if I hadn’t come from a coding background I’d have struggled possibly?

It seems these days you need to be able to write or at least understand some basic html, css, javascript and possible get down to code level with Selenium Webdriver (which the last 5 jobs adverts I saw requested).

In each interview they ask some very basic testing questions (what is black box testing, white box, what is quality, boundary testing, regression etc…) and then it jumps quickly in to a very technical conversation. Is this because of my background or is this the way testing is going? I don’t know?

I personally think testers need to be aware of what’s going on in the dev world - go to meet-ups (www.meetup.com) or conferences (www.swanseacon.co.uk - sorry for the shameless plug :wink: ) and be aware of what’s going on, read some blogs or belong to this awesome forum and see what people are talking about, play around with some basic html/css/javascript, maybe tinker with Selenium Webdriver or the recorder.

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Some years back I took 3 day course on organisational change management, would like to revisit that.
Also I have a note of Coursera courses on leadership etc:

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Talking about my personal experience, I’ve been lately trying to get the most of the Postman-Newman-Jenkins combination. The main purpose is to run automated tests againt the most critical application modules. So, this naturally led me to learn some Javascript and JSON object navigation.

I’ve been spending time learning about statistics, AI and machine learning recently. Regardless of whether it will forever transform testing as we know it, it’s a very interesting and relevant topic. However very maths heavy,

This thread shows that testing is actually a multidisciplinary activity. Possibly the most effective test teams will be those with a broad mix of soft and hard skills (and in this context, ‘software’ is a ‘hard’ skill!).

Actually, surprisingly, one of the more useful skills that has furthered my career is my French fluency.

  1. In my first testing job, being the only bilingual member of staff at the time I was given the job to test the foreign language interface of our main product and develop and test the foreign language interface of our secondary data migration product. I also went on trips to North Africa to install and test our product onsite. It was a great opportunity.

  2. There are lots of tech resources and podcasts in French that are very interesting and I would have missed out on if I didn’t speak the language.

  3. There are some tech conferences (particularly Devoxx) where speaking French is an advantage for speakers.

For this reason I am considering learning a new language. Either Spanish or Mandarin.

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I’ve found learning Italian to be incredibly useful in software testing too. I’m not super fluent but I know enough to hold a reasonable conversation with folk.

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