"Some birds aren't meant to be caged, their feathers are just too bright"- Morgan Freeman, Shawshank Redemption. This blog is from one such bird who couldn't be caged by organizations who mandate scripted software testing. Pradeep Soundararajan welcomes you to this blog and wishes you a good time here and even otherwise.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Are you a Tester or Toolsmith ?

Hi Reader,

Thanks for all those mails and hope you have received my individual replies !

I finally found a good reason to make a post today and I consider this post to be a very important one because ....

"Well are you a Tester ?" has anyone asked you this question and if "yes" , by default can you guess what is the next question ....

"What tools do you know ?" Am I right ? As a tester I have come across the above question soooooooo many times and each time ..... can you guess my answer ....zero.... Surprizing isnt it ?

__ Are you a Tester or Toolsmith ?___

Many people after reading my post have mailed me asking for tools I know or reccomend them to learn , some guidelines about the tools and lots more on tools .... only a handful asked something about testing. Why did the majority of people ask about tools ?

There is a general misconception about testing in India !
( I have not been anywhere else , if it applies take it , else ignore at your own risk )

Where have we been misguided -

1) There are umteen number of training centres who have a board and ad claiming that they teach testing , really. I am still wondering whether testing can be taught by those people. Ah ! Pradeep then what do they do ? They simply teach you tools and make you a ............toolsmith.

2) Now Pradeep , what/who is a toolsmith ?
To know this answer talk to those people who have attended the tools training and ask them to speak about testing for 10 mins without mentioning a single tool [ of course should make sense ]( If you are one among them , talk to yourself )

3) How many people who have undergone the tools training in those centres know really what testing means ?
Again a handful only (i am optimistic here ) ! Most of the people spend time in learning the tools and simply ignore to learn about testing. Wait , if you are not convinced here this is your second chance to stop reading this.

4) Are you a member of any Test/QA focussed yahoo group or any forum or any other such group ? Can you open and see how many questions are there on tools and how many are there on learning the concepts about testing ?
I too notice as you have may would have noticed that discussion is more on how to use a particular tool and lots of gyaan about career options , openings and tools to know to get into that job.

a) Try putting up a simple question in such a group as to "What is regression testing?".You will see different people answering different things for the same question instead put up a question on tool , you will get the best answer from many. Are we going in the right path ?
b) Go through a few resume/CV of Test/QA engineers and more people back their tools experience than their knowledge about testing/technology.

5) Industry people are misguiding - Its a cycle , unfortunately , yes , industry people also contribute to misguiding the young fresh minds to learn tools or get a certificate of tool knowledge. The paper ad says "We want testers with knowledge of xxxrunner , xxxrunner , silk , cotton..." but when you go and sit in interview you would have to answer more questions on tools than testing , do you know that they actually are not looking for testers but looking for toolsmith's ?

6) Now how come I am offered as a Test Engineer when I just know to operate tools ?
Yes , in this industry you are a Test Engineer becuase the company recruiting you knows if its printed in offer letter as "We are happy to appoint you as our toolsmith" , either you would not join or would look for an change at their expense.They are T(f)ooling you !

7) Oh ! Then what is a tool and what relation does it have to a tester ?
A tester should be a person who is able to architect the tool and should be able to harness the tool for his creation of test cases. A tool should serve as a helper to a tester and the tool ideally should not be your bread butter or jam.

8) So do you mean a tester should not know any tools at all ?
Absolutely not ! I mean first a person should be a tester and then learn tools or do it parallely.

9) So you mean to say you will not learn any tool ?
Absolutely not ! I will learn when it is required and not because some XYZ company wants people with a particular tool knowledge.

10) Is it because you dont know any tool you are talking like this ? ( nonsense , if it can make you happy )
Absolutely not ! I too know a couple of tools but those are custom written tools based on project requirement and I have wrote one tool in my life in Perl ( although i sought help to write it ).

11) Stop the crap and tell what do you want to say finally ?
I simply want to make sense to all those Toolsmith's (Test Engineers) who are being misguided that "a tester is a person who knows tools" and also want to tell them "wake up and progress , the fun is more at higher altitudes"

__ End of __ Are you a Tester or Toolsmith ?___

If someone has helped you to reach here , help your friends if they too were misguided by someone :-D !

"Tools dont make testers , Testers make tools (to break the system) "

Thanks and Regards
Pradeep Soundararajan

Disclaimer : (If you have read above please read this too) The intent of the post is to make a small effort to augment a toolsmith to become a great tester in the future.All above are my own opinions based on experience I have had as a tester and do not get biased by any of the above statements.I am not responsible if you complain or get into any issues against your training centre or the company you are working as a toolsmith or anywhere , the above learning( if at all ) you may would have had is at your own risk , False.I could be wrong anywhere or everywhere and that is my limitation.Just in case you are angry on me after reading this please check guilt-o-meter before you fire me.

T(F)ool Joke : My friend spent 4 lacs for his engineering degree , he didnt get a job , after an year the same friend's spent 2000 to get a tool knowledge certificate , he then got a job , he then realized 4 lacs was a waste.


Anonymous said...


The informations provided by you on testing through this blog is very useful and intresting.

All the best

Keep posting more articles on testing and happenings in testing industry.

Thanks and Regards

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Thanks Jagen ,

Will for sure keep meeting your expectations !

ratish said...

Hey..good one again.. keep them coming...

Brad said...

Great post - especially your reference about Yahoo groups. I've joined a couple wanting to share/get experiences on testing approachs and techniques, but 90% of the conversation is on automated testing tools. Not that tools aren't helpful - they are and I think every tester should have a toolset that they can pull from. But I agree wholeheartedly with you - if you don't know how to test, then a tool can't help you!


Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Thanks a ton Brad ! Hope I come out with more posts that let people know What is testing ?

Marjana Shammi said...

Great post! I must say that's reality. your innovative expression on such is quite impressive. People do tend to focus on tools rather than knowing what testing actually is. Keep it up! Hope to enjoy more of your exciting posts.

kitu said...

I want to know how can we enter into this field. Am currently working in an e-learning industry...and my job profile includes checking whether client adheres client standards..a sort of user acceptance testing..I have no knowledge of automated tools...Should i join some course. pls suggest.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Hi Kitu,

Ideally you should first train yourself to Testing , its concept and the mindset/attitude needed and if you have passion towards it , nothing more than that ... Tools , do go for a course BUT after you learn them ... write your own documents of what you think about the tool , why do you need such a tool , can there be anything better , will you be able to make one such .. Asking a lot of questions is a must , Best wishes in the road ahead

Anonymous said...

You are practical and I do appreciate your research. I must say you think very well on testing and it is very much visible with your blogs which is a great piece of work. I am going through your blog for the past 2 hours and it is worth more time.

I being your senior in this field wish you the best and hope to see you become the best out here. No ego and I am sure as you said somewhere you like people who do not have ego and I know you would like me :D



Anonymous said...

Good work dude. Nice way to make people think. But what do you say about getting a job. Tha requirements which they ask for makes us a toolsmith as you said..So what are we supposed to do as the interviews and requirements are concerned...i dont know wether you got what i mean...im naive to this..

Pradeep Soundararajan said...


You said "I made people think" and I am sure you too belong to that category of people and I am pretty sure you would find the solution to the problem you have put up here even without me helping you much.

venkat said...

Hi Pradeep, what you have told in this post is a fact!!!I was actually in a mindset to shift my current organization and as many do even I uploaded my resume in many job sites!!!I got/still get loads of mails from recruiters asking for Automation/Performance Testers...I really feel pity why they do not realize the importance of functional testing prior to Automation!!To highlight its importance, in my current project our team has identified over 3000 defects(u won't believe yet that's the truth)..Its the first major IT implementation for the client(CRM project with approx 2-3 integration with external systems)..Large requirement gaps have been identified during the analysis stage...Fortunately the management was aware of the importance towards SIT/UAT phases of testing and deployed separate teams to handle the same...But still n number of organizations think Automation/Performance can easily bypass functional testing and complete the testing phase very soon..Unless such a mindset is not present, the importance given to tools like those xxxxrunner :P as you had highlighted above, will remain for years to come:) According to me only a good logical functional tester, can fit perfectly as an automation(functional)or as a Performance(Non-Functional) tester!!!