It is my pleasure to meet you in the first issue of Testing Circus in the New Year. I take this opportunity to wish each one of you a very happy and prosperous new year. I wish that all your dreams come true.

Let me start with the second most important plan from a New Year perspective – New Year Resolutions [New Year Party seems to take the first position]. Did you write down your list of resolutions for this year? Are you still on track? As a tester, have you set any resolutions for yourself or your team?
If you are interested in five New Year resolutions for a tester, here they are:

Resolution 1: Read books and blogs
How many of you read every day? No, I am not talking about the product requirement document or user guides of the product you test. I am talking about reading as a hobby, reading books, articles to improve your knowledge. I like Robin Sharma’s quote – “To double your income, triple your learning”. Wise words indeed. As a tester, we can start with reading books on software testing. I do not recommend books from other disciplines yet if you have never read a book on software testing. Here are two books to get you started: Lessons Learned in Software Testing and Testing Computer Software
If you are really interested in improving your knowledge on software testing, these two books will give you a great foundation for your career. Talking about blogs, there are hundreds of testers who blog regularly. Which ones to follow, which ones to read – it is very easy to fill your blog reader with all the blog posts but will we really read all of them? Instead, follow this simple tactic. Go to Software Testing Club every morning and read the blog posts published under the Bloggers Feed section. Reading 5-6 blog posts should not take much time. As you read these blog posts, you will know which interest you and you can follow them.
If you are someone who is active on twitter, follow Joris Meets. He publishes the latest news from the software testing weblogs. It is easy right? Follow them, read the blogs daily.

Resolution 2: Work on improving your skills
We live in a competitive world. Our credibility is highly influenced by our approach to day to day tasks and how we perform. In the busy and competitive world, one question arises – are we working on our skill-set? There will be a time when we will be easily replaced by someone who has the needed skills. Instead, what if we develop the skills needed?
I see three areas where we can improve our skills:

  • The skills needed to complete our daily tasks
  • The skills we are interested to explore
  • The skills we don’t have to move to the next level in our career

Once we work on our skill-set, I can guarantee you that we will be well-prepared to take on the opportunities and sometimes create them too.

Resolution 3: Practice Daily
Now that we have got the foundation right with reading books, blog posts and accepting that we need to work on our skills, the next resolution is to practice daily. As a child, when I asked my uncle what is net-practice, he told me how cricketers practice and why it is essential. Then I saw army personnel train daily and athletes train even when the competition was months away. So, tell me how many of you practice daily? As testers, we demonstrate multiple skills everyday even without our knowledge:

  • Questioning – We question the behavior of the product, the requirement document
  • Investigation – We strive to be like Sherlock Holmes . Every bug we investigate, we demonstrate bug investigation skills
  • Social skills – We interact with multiple stakeholders. We are asked a quick question about the product or asked to present a demo or write the bug reports.
  • Technical skills

One way to improve on any skill is to practice daily. If you really want to be a good tester, start practicing today. Continue practicing till you get good at it.

Resolution 4: Get better at networking
Do you attend conferences or tester’s meet in your city? Do you even attend workshops or have an online presence? How many testers from other companies do you know? Do you interact with other testers or programmers online? The one word I want to get through all these questions is ‘Networking’. How strong is your network? Before I say that we need to get better at networking, let me highlight how networking helps:

  • Different contexts: Your friends in the same company are experiencing the same context as you. When we interact with people from different context, we gain information which is not specific to our context. This additional knowledge about different contexts might help you in testing.
  • Information source: Suppose you are stuck with a problem and need a solution. Someone from your network might already know the solution or have discovered a workaround. Why not take help from your network?
  • Different time zone: Not everyone in your network will be from the same time zone. It is an interesting experience to know people from different time zones and locales.
  • Friends: Everyone needs a break. Such friendships teach you more than testing and understand the problems testers face.
  • Opportunities: One might get to know of an opportunity through the network. It could be a contract or long-term opportunity.

Resolution 5: Blog
You are now reading books, working on your skills daily, making new friends and learning so much, it is time to start a blog. There are many good reasons to write a blog but the one compelling reason is that you will have a journal about your learning and testing activities. Your online presence is boosted by a blog. You can start with writing about your experiences, learning and problems faced. If you blog regularly, you will have a regular reader base. They will be interested in interacting with you. Do remember that the first priority of blogging is to note down your thoughts, practice writing and then build your online presence. Get going, blog often and interact with your blog readers.

Congratulations if you have come so far. Try these resolutions for three weeks and see if you experience any improvements. Becoming a good tester is a long journey and like every journey, the first step needs to be taken. My best wishes to you and wish you a happy new year again. If you need inspiration, you can get the mind map printed in colour and kept near your desk as a reminder.


Ajay BalamurugadasArticlesNew Year ResolutionsIt is my pleasure to meet you in the first issue of Testing Circus in the New Year. I take this opportunity to wish each one of you a very happy and prosperous new year. I wish that all your dreams come true. Let me start with the second most...
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Ajay Balamurugadas

Ajay Balamurugadas, goes by the handle ‘ajay184f’ in the testing community and is always continuously re-inventing his testing methodology. He loves being involved with Weekend Testing, Test Maniac, ISST and STeP-IN Forum. He is currently the Director of Quality Assistance at 99Tests. His passions include conducting online and in-person workshops on exploratory testing, mobile testing and helping testers discover their potential. Ajay shares his testing activities and learning through his blog and tweets under @ajay184f

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