The recognition that an organization gives could be fine as long as you stay in the organization or as long as the organization is doing fine. That's why many people stick on to an organization for quite sometime because they start hating fresh water. They accept to be in a well. With growing infrastructure needs and changing economy, some wells have to be wiped out and all frogs in it have to hop to a different destination.
I was once surrounded by bad frogs who made me feel that I was a great tester. I would never want to be there again because that hampers my learning although it pleases my ego as long as I am with them. A couple of months back I interviewed a tester who had been awarded as the best among 1100 testers of his organization. He was pathetic and I think the right one in the organization didn't get the award.
A tester from Mumbai who claimed to be superior to me in knowledge and skills wrote to me and said, "You are misguiding the community by giving wrong ideas" and my reply to him is this, "Well, if you are so concerned about the community then you should write a blog and say to the world that Pradeep Soundararajan is giving wrong ideas and the reasons of why his ideas are wrong" for which he never got back to me with his blog link.
There are several testers whom I helped to start a blog and only some of them are doing fine with it. Some people started a blog and sent me a link with a note that - you inspired me. If I revisit their blogs, most of them ended up not continuing it because they realized its hard to keep blogging. The other dimension is - it is easy to blog if you are just doing a cut copy paste plagiarize, not owe credits to original authors and expose yourselves as a fool.
2 months back, I interviewed Harish, who had lost his job from a reputed organization which decided to shut down its operations in Bangalore as they faced the worst part of recession at their US office.
Harish is the kind of tester whom I'd want to work with for the way he challenged my arguments, sharp eyes that observes little things going around the screen and has good reporting skills, good communication skills, but then, my client had to postpone their recruitment plans. I couldn't get an opportunity to work with him. If you are looking for one, I'd suggest you talk to Harish.
I wish I could have linked to his blog to get you curious about him and that's what is missing. I asked him:
PS: You don't blog?
Harish: Why should I?
PS: For the world to know about a good tester.
Harish: Why should the world know about me?
PS: Consider asking yourselves as to why shouldn't the world know about you?
Harish: Let me think about it.
After a month, Harish calls up, "Hey Pradeep, I haven't found a job yet. I realize this wouldn't have happened if the world knew about my testing skills. The interviews test something different than my skills"
So here is a post on my blog for all those Harish of the world to wake up and start blogging. A blog of your own serves a core purpose that surrounds all of us - to learn - things, ways, people, testing, ideas, challenges, and more...
Myths that surround wannabe-tester-bloggers
If I should blog, I should have good writing skills: Ha! You should read Pradeep's first post and then you would realize that he was more pathetic in writing than what he is today (or what you might have been a couple of years back). However, as you peruse through the blog you would realize that I have improved a thousand leaps. It comes from practice and a blog helps you to practice writing. Two things never happen to people with this myth - better writing skills and blog.
If I should blog, I should be an expert: I must admit that I thought of myself as the world's best tester till I met James and then more people like you. My blog has helped me meet thousands of people who helped me understand that I am not the world's best tester. That's important to learn because it gives me learning opportunity to try to get as close to what I think I was. You don't need to be an expert to blog but people commenting on your posts can help you to be an expert of the field. They might surprise you with a question that you think over for the next 2 years to find answers for it and in search of an answer to that question you discover a whole new world of testing.
If I should blog, I should have thousands of readers and comments: I am my first blog reader. I primarily write to practice writing and thinking. I have been writing this post over 2 days and I test my writing. It helps me writing some good documents at work that influences decisions. If my writing can be of help to others then I am glad. I do not write to get thousands of readers or commentors. No matter the world stops reading my blog, I would continue to write for one regular and serious reader - that's me.
If I should blog, I should write in a way that fetches appreciation: Saurav Ganguly, a cricket player from India was axed out of the team for poor performance a couple of years ago. The internet in India was full of jokes about his poor performance but then he made a great comeback to the worldcup squad. He was interviewed in NDTV for his comeback and a journalist asked him, "How did you make this great comeback when most parts of India, including Kolkata, your hometown was against your performance?" to which he replied, "I didn't spend time bothering things that are not under my control ( people making fun and jokes about his performance) and focussed on spending more time for things that are under my control ( practice, improving performance, consistent results in league matches) and I think that's what helped me". I took this as a great lesson to myself and focussed on doing things under my control and not bothering things that are not under my control.
If I should blog, I should have more time than what I have: Actually, we spend time on lot of useless things everyday. If you cut that out of one day in a week that provides you time to blog. I usually laugh at people who say they have no time to blog. I woke up a little early today to complete this post. I think I wouldn't die if I get up early. As James Bach said on Twitter: "I don't teach my son the value of discipline and hard work, because that *can't* be taught-- only learned."
If I should blog, I should be a good tester: A real good tester would want to get tested to see if he is really good and would be glad to know he is not good since that helps in improving him. A blog is probably one of the ways in which you get to know about the holes in your education as a tester. Once you know that, start plugging them. You could aim to be a good tester and start blogging than wait for you to become a good tester and then start blogging.
There are number of other ways you can demonstrate to the world about your testing skills and I think you should do that. Ah! No, not by saying you are proud to be ISTQB certified, that would drive away people.
PhilK recently interviewed many tester bloggers and I was one of them. Read my interview here and do not forget to read other interviews as well.
If you are good, the world should know about you. If you are hesitant to let the world know about you - you aren't good enough, maybe. Good tester doesn't mean you offer advice to the world, it means you present your work and be open to learning from others if they happen to argue. You may be a good tester and choose not to write a blog, I still respect that but I think you can get better by writing one.
So, time for you to get back to your work, ignoring all things in this post and continue to say, "If I should blog,". If you are already doing it get more people to be like you or do more with that.
Update: There is a test challenge at Test Republic that might be of your interest