Interview with Santhosh Tuppad @santhoshst
Organization: Test Insane Software Testing Services
Current Role/Designation: Software Tester, Product Innovation, Security Researcher
Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India.
Santhosh Tuppad has been a great follower of his heart in personal and professional life. He has been software tester for 5 years now and his passion has been increasing every moment as the time passed [In short, his passion is like wine; it gets better by time]. He speaks skills and experience while he hates to measure the skills based on number of years of experience.
He loves to read technical books and has been a blogger (http://tuppad.com/blog/) for 5 years while he also contributes to several Software Testing magazines. He has been award winning Software Tester where he competed among Software Testers around the globe and proved to the world that it is SKILLS and not YEARS OF EXPERIENCE without skills.
His specialization is in exploratory testing and he has been hacker since 16. He has done free security testing workshops across many cities in India (Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai) and his travel and accommodation is taken care by himself. When people ask him, “Why do you do it for free?” He says, I just feel like. He is one hell of a “Feelings Driven Person”.
* Interviewed by Jay Philips
1. Tell us about your journey to becoming a software tester. How did it start and how this has been so far? Was it planned or by accident?
I have never liked accidents, I always make choice in my life and that’s where my heart feels happy. I started in 2009 where I was coached by Pradeep Soundararajan and during the coaching I identified that my passion is in Software Testing. Passion cannot be explained or shown to people, it can only be FELT. It was a hell of a choice. I am a wine lover, here is how I want to put it for the journey till date; Like Wine gets better with time, my passion for Software Testing got better with time.
2. When did you realize your passion was software testing?
When I started to find bugs in the software during coaching by Pradeep Soundararajan, I felt the blood gushing into my veins and I was so happy [Again, can’t explain in words]. And I felt like a billionaire whenever I found a bug or security vulnerability [Security Testing was something that I had been doing since 16 which was value addition to my software testing skills].
3. Do you regret being associated with software testing today? Given a chance would you move from testing to any other field in IT?
Somehow this question appears negative to me. No one would ask a great footballer this question as they already know his / her passion for the sport. Likewise, if I am being interviewed; it means that I am credible and a passionate guy (Grins). I have this mantra in my life, “Everything happens for good; No Regrets, No Mistakes, No Repents”. I am happy being a Software Tester and I wouldn’t like to move to any other field in IT. Period.
4. You recently started Test Insane. What type of specialty services will the company be offering?
Looking at our website, you may feel that; yet another testing services company. Well, some keywords that you may see on our website could be “Exploratory Testing”, “Check Automation”, “Web Application Testing”, “Mobile App Testing” etc. which look similar to those websites which are software testing services companies.
Here is what I love to say, our work shall speak for it. We really know how to do Exploratory Testing while people just keep fooling others by saying, “We do exploratory testing”. I personally understand what is “Mind-set” and “Skill-set” to be a Exploratory Software Tester. We do everything and anything to test better.
Ah, one more thing I would like to highlight; we have Research and Development wing which focuses on Test Frameworks Development & Open-source contribution in terms tiny utilities and tools which helps the testing community. We love building our own test frameworks instead of using some third-party or open-source like Selenium or Sahi, the reason being “It gives us happiness”. While I am writing this, we are planning to kick-start Check Automation Framework for Embedded Systems. In short, we are building Selenium for Embedded Systems. And we may make it open-source and out decision is based on happiness factor. That’s why the vision of our Test Insane is, “Being Happy By Doing What We Love To”. Plain and simple to understand, no corporate jargons where people love to understand it.
Well, not everyone can understand your vision, so stay calm. It is you who define it and only you can understand it most of the times or almost all times. A bit of marketing as I call myself “I’m a Bastard Of Marketing”, write to us at [email protected] to get more information which cannot be conveyed here.
5. You created a few crash courses. Can you tell me about some of them and what makes them different from other courses?
I have created crash courses because I felt like creating them. Some possible reasons could be, bragging rights or feel good factor or feel like a celebrity. I never wrote crash courses to make them different from others. I never compare my work with anything on this planet. I write for myself or being happy. It is up-to individuals to care about it or not care about it. I am a free-spirit and I do not have control over others, but myself.
6. As a hacker have you ever approached/crossed the line between ethical and unethical hacking? Can you provide details on this moment?
I do not believe in ethical or unethical hacking. I believe in Hacking and my brain can switch to anything based on the context. Today, someone says; I shall pay you 100 USD for hacking it, I would say NO, may be tomorrow someone says 1 million USD for hacking something, I would say “Oh yeah, I am game!” Here I am emphasizing on “Tomorrow is always tentative” and you never know what you are going to be as brain is a tricky part and is natural being human-beings. That’s one reason, I call myself Hacker and not Ethical or Unethical Hacker.
One of the article that is published in YourStory.com can be found at
[This may answer the question in a better way]. In short, ethical and unethical are relative words and everyone has their own definition and choice to make. I have been ethical or unethical? Only I can know that and wouldn’t like to disclose anywhere. Now, you know about hacking genes that resides in my body and soul.
7. Do you have any advice for our readers on what to look for/out when applying for a software testing job?
I have never liked advices for anyone in my life, I treat people that they are matured and responsible for their lives, learning or whatever it could be. I would like to say, “Follow your heart”. We all have to die one day, what remains in us is “Essence that we lived it”. Getting bogged down is so easy, that is why I love challenges and never think of being low or bogged down. Listen to Pharrell William’s Happy Happy [Google it or YouTube it].
8. What is your next big idea?
Only one? I have so many, I am man of ideas. As I have faith in my ideas, I never mind sharing them with the community because even if someone does it; I have much better ideas to implement. That is why, you can steal my Intellectual Property, but not my brain which is Intellectual++ property.
A sneak peek into what my research and development wing at my start-up is working on,
1. In-house bug tracker based on Exploratory Testing philosophy [We want to make it freaking awesome, while I see technology is great; why our bug trackers suck to the core?]
2. Check Automation framework for embedded systems [Set-top boxes, HMI devices automation, Consumer Electronics, Displays etc.]
3. Open-source HTML Code Parser based on the keywords or call it as comment extractor to find any sensitive data [Developed in Python, will be on the web soon for people to download and use it for their testing activity]
4. A quiz application which is core technical [We are done with server side implementation and UI is pending]. Starting with 500+ questions spanning across various categories like “Web Application Testing”, “Mobile App Testing”, “Test Reporting” etc. You are going to love it.
9. According to you, what is lacking in today’s commercialized training industry, especially in testing?
It is ONLY business and no value delivered. However, it sounds jazzy to say “We believe in making customers happy”. Come on, ask yourself; Really? Things will take time to change and I am okay with it. Anything that you want to hurry up in changing may disturb the eco-system of Software Testing, because you are dealing with human-brains and not machines / robots.
10. What qualities will you look for in a candidate when you want to recruit someone for software testing job?
I prefer Technical Skills (I love to see the person test and answer my questions on the go. Example: If a person is testing e-mail address field; my question would be – Do you know what’s the maximum length e-mail address can have? If he says no, then I would say, NO TO HIM. However, it is not only one question that I would rely on; I shall ask questions like these to see his skills or knowledge.) Over Attitude unless attitude is pissing me and my team members personally. Attitude can be faked, while (technical) skills cannot be faked in-front of Santhosh Tuppad 😉 You bet!
11. What will you suggest to people who want to join IT industry as software testers?
Stop finding the meaning of test cases and stop arguing about “Development is better or Testing is better”. While you are focusing on some non-sense things, someone is becoming better at his / her passion. Example: Santhosh Tuppad is learning something about load balancers and hardware firewalls when world is on non-sense stuff.
So, stop cribbing because there is nothing to crib about. It’s all in your mind. Testing is beautiful and freaking fucking (I do not want to mask this word by saying f***king which would be like insult to the beauty of the word) awesome. Only it needs great eyes to experience it, and I feel great to have got those eyes.
12. Name few people you would like to thank, people who helped you directly or indirectly in your career as a software testing professional.
Not in particular order, equally I am thankful to all mentioned below.
My brother, my father and my mother for always believing that, I am a Rockstar!
On a serious note (If you crib about your family is not supporting you to live your dream), even if my family had not believed; I would still follow my heart because following my heart is my biggest motivation which cannot be compared to anything. That’s what makes me THE ROCKSTAR.
List goes on!
13. One last question – Do you read Testing Circus Magazine? If yes, what is your feedback to improve this magazine?
I have been always straight-forward and I do not want to start the answer by saying “To be honest” which I hate saying. I have been not a great reader of Testing Circus e-magazine, whenever something interests me; I go ahead and read it, I may not read completely. So, you see that there are different styles of reading which I do.
However, I always share on Social Media like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn because I feel great to see the energy in the Testing Circus team. Improving the magazine? It is beautiful now while it may have great potential to become better every new edition (I mean, just like wine). As of now, I do not have any such feedback and I can share it anytime with the Testing Circus crew if I get one. Period.
Test Insane – http://www.testinsane.com
Blog – http://tuppad.com/blog/
Twitter ID – @santhoshst