Looking ahead at 2013

2012 was a good year in my development as a software tester. I’ve slowly started writing about my experiences. Some articles were better than others (I’m not as concerned with popularity to an external audience as I am about my own internal, undefined standards). I’m making progress in my ability to detect and tell stories which helps me gain confidence as both a tester and writer. This year should see me writing more articles about testing and although it’s not my primary goal eventually perhaps other people will find my writings helpful or informative.

Here are a few of the things I did in 2012 to develop my testing skills:
  • Traveled to Orcas Island in July for the first ever onsite Rapid Testing Intensive. I got to do some testing, learned a few things I’m applying today in my work, blogged a bit about the days and got to meet some testers from around the world.
  • Joined the Association for Software Testing on June 1st!
    • Through the AST I enrolled in the Black Box Software Testing Foundations class which I completed in December.
  • Joined Stack Exchange, specifically SQA forums.
  • Joined Miagi-Do school of testing as a Student in November.
  • Read some good books and added dozens more to my Read List
    • I need to finish a few books including Lean Startup, Code and An Introduction to General Systems Thinking.

I’ve read more articles and publications this year about testing than all my other years combined. It was pretty cool to go through the BBST Foundations class and have already read an assigned paper. My circle of testers has grown considerably by joining several online communities and forums. I’m subscribed to about 20 testing blogs and through twitter, G+ and the aforementioned communities I now have a much wider base for learning and discussing problems.

So what does 2013 have in store?

Tomorrow I start the Rapid Testing Intensive Online which will be my first training session of the New Year. I expect to do quite a bit of testing over those 3 days and be able to use that information / work to build my testing portfolio. (One of the outputs from the first RTI onsite was supposed to be a report built by James using the participant’s content but it seems like the amount of work involved was a bit much for James to do on his own. This time around I’ll see what I can put together myself.) In fact I’ve got a cool bug report I’m hoping to publish very soon (thanks for sucking Microsoft).

I’m not sure when (in terms of dates) it will happen but I want to get through the additional BBST courses this year: Test Design and Bug Advocacy before moving on to the Instructor class. Through Miagi-Do I’m signed up for an online test competition in April and I plan to ask for a few test challenges through Miagi-Do and maybe via Skype with James or Michael.

An important goal this year is to become comfortable coding so I can break through this barrier of understanding how to do test automation. I’m thinking Python and Java are good languages with Python being my primary language. I want to get to a point where I’m comfortable enough that I can build some type of application and then test it along the way. As I said before my reading list is quite extensive (long) so I’d like to dedicate more time to reading and I think I can do that by teach scuba diving a little bit less. Reading lots of books sounds great but I think it’s more important to be able to relate what I learn through reading back to testing through writing.

It’s almost the end of January and I’ve got my goals set for the next 11 months. Here I go.

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Jamie Larson