Darren McMillan

Organization – Sword Ciboodle

Role/Designation – Software Test Engineer

Location – Glasgow, Scotland

Darren McMillan has been working in the testing field for just over three years now.  Having only become aware of the vibrant online testing community in the past year, he is already making big impressions via his web viral blog http://bettertesting.co.uk

With a genuine passion for all things testing he actively seeks to solve the problems others tend to accept.  Having quickly made waves in his workplace he is now seeking to share his experiences with others, in the hope that he can help people near and a far.  He strongly believes that opportunities are there to be taken & actively promotes self learning to others. 

When he is not testing or writing about his experiences he enjoys nothing more than some quite family time.  A proud father to a beautiful daughter he hopes that from leading by example he’ll encourage her to follow her own dreams.

Q: How long have you been associated with software testing?

And how did you become a software tester?

A: It’s been close to four years now, having finished up as a fresh faced graduate from University and falling into the land of software testing by chance, having applied to become a Network Engineer with the company I now work for.

I remember it well; I was running late for a university class one morning and was just about to catch the train that would have gotten me to my lecture with minutes to spare, when my phone started ringing.  I took the call, missed my train and spent the next ten minutes discussing a role as a tester with the personnel manager of what was then called Graham Technologies. If I’m being honest I wasn’t expecting to take the job, but I went along for the interview in the hope that it would give me some more experience for when a role as a Network Engineer came along.The next day I got a phone call saying I’d been offered the job, cool I thought, but I had another interview lined up for a role I really wanted in the field I’d studied in, so I went along to that and got offered that position as well.

So sadly I informed the first company I’d not be taking the position after all.  That day I received a phone call from the personnel manager who’d interviewed me for the first role.  After about thirty minutes of buttering me up as I’d call it and offering me more money I said I’d give it some serious thought.

So here I am nearly four years later as a Software Tester, probably down to money if I’m being honest, but hey!  Perhaps it was fate?  I’d certainly like to think so, as to me this role has become more than just a nine to five job; it’s a hobby that I love!

Q: By any means, do you regret being associated with software testing?

A: I dislike the stigma that some associate with it.  I dislike the lack of understanding in our field by non testers and testers alike.   Testers just test right?   Developers, umm, they write code?  Those documentation guys, hmm, well all they ever do is write stuff.  That’s what I and many others want to change.  I really do think the community is doing a fantastic job of it already, bringing more of an understanding of what testers actually do to each other.

It’s bringing that understanding into a common language which is understood by all that’s the problem.  Just now I think we are some way off from that, having about twenty definitions for every discussed technique.

The bigger challenge though is bringing an understanding that “testers don’t just test” to the rest of the world.  That’s a challenge we can begin to solve in our workplaces by bringing understanding of what the modern day role of a tester is and how it has evolved from traditional views of what a tester should and shouldn’t do.

Q: Do you think software testing is less respected than other departments in IT industry?

A: Possibly, but I think most of that is down to ourselves sometimes.  Do I think documenters earn less respect than developers?  Possibly, but I think that’s down to them as well.

If you demonstrate your skills as a testing to others, you’ll quickly earn their respect.  If you collaborate with them solving difficult problems you’ll earn their respect.  If you take the time to show you care they’ll respect you even more.

Here’s a pro tip that will instantly earn you the respect of others, well three tips: Communicate, communicate, communicate!   While we’re in there why don’t we toss in another three pro tips: Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate!

Seriously, don’t underestimate the power of both, they’ll not only gain you respect, they’ll make you job so much easier.  They’ll get you places too!

Q: What will you suggest to people who want to join IT industry as software testers?

A: Firstly just like any job I’d ask you to make sure you’d actually enjoy it. Now that’s the great thing about testing, we have that open forum to try it out with others via activities such as the Weekend Testing chapters all over the world.Secondly if you find you do like it, share your experiences with others!  There must be about two hundred testing blogs around now?  People might be scared they’ve missed their chance for an early audience to share their experiences with.  We’ll you’ve not!   If you’ve got interesting things to say, people will listen! Now you could also reverse that question and ask yourselves “Why do you think people don’t want to join the IT industry as software testers?”  How many like me found a love for testing when they didn’t have intentions to be testers in the first place?  Well no one’s teaching testing right?  How many universities offer dedicated courses on Software Testing?

Q: Where do you see software testing in next five years?

A: People think it’ll change a lot!  I don’t.  Sure new technologies and tools will appear which will make things easier and harder in some cases.  However, the role overall I don’t think will change much.I hope that understanding of testing will improve.  Hopefully more will recognise that traditional testing methods don’t work in reality and instead work to becoming diverse, multi talented, social creatures that all good modern day testers are.Who knows perhaps in five years time I’ll hire a graduate with a degree in Software Testing?We can’t tell the future, what we can do though is make paths towards a better, brighter future for all.

Q: What qualities will you look for in a candidate when you want to recruit someone for software testing job?

A: A good communication skill is a key!  A bit of an ego is ok.  A bad attitude is a no no!  I want team players, who all have their own qualities that compliment the team.  They can be as opinionated as they like, just as long as we’re all working towards the same goal.

I’d preferably want you to come to me with your skills on display.  If you’ve got a blog and write about your experiences in testing then you’ve probably got my interest already.  If you participate in Weekend Testing sessions or can display me some form of testing report and I like what I see you’ll no doubt get an interview.

I’m less interested in what you can say and more on what you can do!  Anyone can answer questions, but how many can test?

Q: Your weekend routine?

A: Weekends for me are family time!  A might get onto Twitter a little bit, but apart from that I’ll be spending quality time with my beautiful daughter and her talented mum, who despite everything I achieve or might achieve in the future will always outshine me just because she’s such a wonderful mother.

Q: Movie you would like to watch again?

A: I’m a big fan of films!  It doesn’t even require a good plot for me to enjoy it, just some action and I’m happy.

A film I watched not so long ago that I’d like to watch again would probably be Kick Ass!  What an amazing film!

I’d probably have to go with “Fallen” though since it’s one of my only favourites that I’ve not watched in a few years.

Q: “I am a social networking site geek” Or “I hate facebook /orkut / twitter”?

A: What’s Facebook?  Seriously I don’t have one, or want one for that matter.  I do love Twitter though!

In fact I could write a whole blog about Twitter and how useful it has been in gathering information about testing for me. If I don’t talk to you on Twitter already, look me up and let’s get to know each other!  I love getting to know other testers.

https://i0.wp.com/www.testingcircus.com/wp-content/uploads/Darren-McMillan_Testing-Circus.png?fit=219%2C213&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/www.testingcircus.com/wp-content/uploads/Darren-McMillan_Testing-Circus.png?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Ajoy Kumar SinghaInterview with TestersInterview with TestersDarren McMillan Organization – Sword Ciboodle Role/Designation – Software Test Engineer Location – Glasgow, Scotland Darren McMillan has been working in the testing field for just over three years now.  Having only become aware of the vibrant online testing community in the past year, he is already making big impressions via his web...