"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.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Why good software testers should come out of the well?

One problem that I constantly spot whenever I meet a good tester in India - they don't blog and publicly write or speak. That''s why some people continue to think about me as a good tester.

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

28 comments:

Pari said...

I agree with you Pradeep! Blogging takes a huge amount of time, dedication and commitment. But if a blogger can surpass that or even get closer, then nothing can second that feeling of blogging. The readers' comments on the blogs add a lot of value in terms of learning new things, exchanging knowledge and information and interacting at various levels for the betterment of each other as well as the work that we do.

Personally, I think that Blogs are a great platform to get 'Criticism' for your work(Read as 'Learning Opportunities'). The more you are criticised for your work, the more it makes you think/analyse in different ways hence resulting in a better YOU.

Happy Blogging,
Pari - http://curioustester.blogspot.com

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Pari,

The more you are criticised for your work, the more it makes you think/analyse in different ways hence resulting in a better YOU.

Yeah. I would like to re-phrase that a little bit and I hope you would permit that: The more you are criticised for your work, the more likely you might want to do work that gets lesser criticism - it could be good or dangerous - depending on the people whom are critiquing.

So this heuristic might help: A good way is to learn how to critique yourselves as much as any other expert in the field will.

Jerry Weinberg's tip for critical thinking: "Think of at least three ways in which your ideas can fail"

kashif ali said...

hi pradeep,

nice post, i recently started my blog , i had some questions in my mind regarding blogging, but your post has answers of all questions, i will really apprecite if u could vist to

kashifalihabib.blogspot.com

and guide me more about how i can improve my blog.
i will really appreciate

Suresh said...

Hi Friend i told my brother to blog . Now Entire company knows about my brother for him you are the inspiration

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Kashif,

Thanks for your comment. I would definitely go through your blog and I am crazy about reading others blogs and learning from it.

and guide me more about how i can improve my blog.


I learnt to guide myself and that is what I expect you to do. The best guidance I could have given is to publish this post and I did it :)

@Suresh,

Hi Friend i told my brother to blog . Now Entire company knows about my brother for him you are the inspiration

The goal of writing this post is to help you understand that there are more brothers ( All Indians [except your wife and parents ] could be your brothers and sisters ). Which brother are you talking about?

Does your brother help other testers to set up a blog?

Does he blog on software testing?

Simon said...

Hi Pradeep,

Interesting comments that I'm sure will be recognisable to many.

The point about being an expert (or not needing to be one before stating anything for yourself) is very true - and this makes me think of a point of advice to all that read your blog - a reminder that there is no world's best tester (it's meaningless) - so don't even bother trying.

Aim to be a good tester, then a better tester, then a tester that can both sustain your own development (open to learning opportunities pointed out by others and recognise them yourself) and contribute to others, eventually you might be an expert tester (either recognised by others or yourself) - but even expert testers must continue learning/researching.

There is no standing-still in software testing - continuous learning and development (technical and soft skills) - otherwise you're going backwards.


Thanks for the tip about the testing challenge - I'll have a look.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Simon,

There is no standing-still in software testing - continuous learning and development (technical and soft skills) - otherwise you're going backwards.



Note that software testing is a very young profession or field that needs to expand. As the field expands, we have to adapt to it. That's one reason a certified testers get misguided by standardized way of testing. As though this field has flourished for a million years and people know everything about it.

Plus, the Earth is still evolving and no one knows how it is going to evolve. Humans and animals have always adapted to it. You would see a Polar Bear with thick fur and you wouldn't see any animal in Chennai with thick fur unless you bring it from somewhere else. That indicates adaptability.


The point about being an expert (or not needing to be one before stating anything for yourself) is very true - and this makes me think of a point of advice to all that read your blog - a reminder that there is no world's best tester (it's meaningless) - so don't even bother trying.

I am trying to help people understand that a blog has got nothing to do with being an expert or not.

Santhosh Tuppad is a fresher who blogs about software testing. If you visit his blog you'd be amazed at how his blog is helping him learn and aids a faster learning for him. Many experienced testers who have been reluctant to blog must derive inspiration from him.

Anne-Marie said...

Hi Pradeep, another excellent post, different and thought provoking. I think blogging is one way of forumlating your thoughts and writings skills. Its a great thing to have on a CV too.

"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."

I think that many tester's blogs are similar with the same ideas and concepts. Personally, I'd like to see some tester's with ISTQB blogging with their ideas. It would add more depth to our community.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Anne-Marie,

Thanks for your comment.


I think that many tester's blogs are similar with the same ideas and concepts.


Well, they look like same but they aren't. Oh, the same idea across many blogs is - think while you test and test while you think. The difference between them is they share different approaches to achieve that, to help we humans who need different mechanisms and examples to learn.

Personally, I'd like to see some tester's with ISTQB blogging with their ideas. It would add more depth to our community.

You are right. I am wondering why aren't there ones that we know already.

Jeroen said...

Hello Pradeep,
here another one:
If I should blog, I should have content. In my experience having a blog learned me to summarize things and create a draft. You could also write it down in a document on your PC, only my experience is that it will stay there. Having a blog learned me to write down ideas, do some research, and sort of finish it when I think I wrote enough. There is always space for another posting to continue.

Ofcourse it takes time. For me it is all worth it, I noticed I keep learning. No to convince my colleagues to start blogging.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

Jeroen,

Thanks for the comment. People usually have content for their first post but the test comes only after that. You pointed that out.

Here are tiny changes I'd suggest:

If I should blog, I should have content - to start with: You may just have one sentence and while you write it, keep looking at the draft for a couple of days ( spending maybe a minute on it each day ) you may be able to derive the content. Often, if you are conscious about what you learn and what you experience, the job becomes much easier. You are learning to be a writer so it takes time.

No to convince my colleagues to start blogging.

No or Now? Gives different meanings if it is No and Now.

Sharath Byregowda said...

Nice Post Pradeep,

Blogging has helped me consciously to work on my writing skills and also to articulate what i think better. I have also met a lot of testers through blogging and many a times the comments to my posts have answered questioned me to think more.

Pradeep, encouraged me to blog and the advice he gave me then was "do not worry whether the content you post is correct or not, post what you feel, question and learn" - and even now i follow this...in fact most of my posts are questions :)

-Sharath.B
http://testtotester.blogspot.com/

Suresh said...

/The goal of writing this post is to help you understand that there are more brothers ( All Indians [except your wife and parents ] could be your brothers and sisters ). Which brother are you talking about?

Does your brother help other testers to set up a blog?

Does he blog on software testing?/

I am talking about my own brother vijay who is inspiring other co testers in his office and he his sharing his testing experiences with other testers,developers with his blog.

Its an official blog. Soon he will share the same posts in blogger too..

Now another tester got inspired from him and started blog, so testing blog is like a network now ..

the fire is spreading

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Suresh,

Its an official blog. Soon he will share the same posts in blogger too..


That's cool.

Now another tester got inspired from him and started blog, so testing blog is like a network now .. the fire is spreading

If your brother can get all his organization testers to blog ( and be consistent ) I would consider that as a great achievement as a tester.

Raj Ahuja said...

Hi Pradeep,

Here is the another one that started with your inspirations on May 16th this year. Your current post makes me realize that I should have no excuse to say why I havn't blogged after my first post so will write more shortly....

Here is the link:

http://testingtruck.ning.com

Here is the first blog post titled "Silent Student of Pradeep Soundararajan/Cem Kaner finally decided to speak up!"


http://testingtruck.ning.com/profiles/blogs/silent-student-of-pradeep

Let me know your thoughts on this startup....

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Rah Ahuja,

Here is the another one that started with your inspirations on May 16th this year. Your current post makes me realize that I should have no excuse to say why I havn't blogged after my first post so will write more shortly....


First blog post is typically the easist one. I wish to see more and having known you, I hope there will be more to come.

Here is the first blog post titled "Silent Student of Pradeep Soundararajan/Cem Kaner finally decided to speak up!"


What do you mean by silent student? I think you should make enough noises against the bad and make sweet sounds for the good through your blog posts.

I wish to see testing demonstrations from you, test reports and experience reports in your blog.

Raj Ahuja said...

@Pradeep
Sure, there is and will be more to come...it's just a humble start.

What do you mean by silent student? I think you should make enough noises against the bad and make sweet sounds for the good through your blog posts.


By Silent Student i meant a student who may not be always on forefront or counted among learners when great lessons of life (or testing) are delivered by professionals. Remember, there are many students like Ekalavya of Mahabharata who silently learn by treating statues as their Dronacharya (guru or teacher). I feel I am one such ekalavya who have silently put in some efforts to learn from the work of professionals like Dr. Cem Kaner and many others. Your work(especially your blog) has given many a times new dimensions to my thoughts and connected me to lot of learning resources though I may have remained a silent observer but now I have decided to speak up and thus a blog of my own.... and yes definately there will be noise and music.

I wish to see testing demonstrations from you, test reports and experience reports in your blog.

Thanks for the input, will add some stuff to cover the ground here. Here are some bug replication videos I posted on testingtruck under the head Video Station:

http://www.viddler.com/explore/testingtruck/videos/1/
http://www.viddler.com/explore/testingtruck/videos/8/

(RAJ AHUJA)

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Raj,

Your work(especially your blog) has given many a times new dimensions to my thoughts and connected me to lot of learning resources though I may have remained a silent observer but now I have decided to speak up and thus a blog of my own.... and yes definately there will be noise and music.


Please be careful in being influenced by my work. They are heuristics.

http://www.viddler.com/explore/testingtruck/videos/1/


Way to go. I think you should do more of this. Write to me for any help you'd want.


Here is your two fold mission:

1. Get going and discover the energy in yourselves.

2. Get others going as well.

Gokul said...

Hi Pradeep,

I am Gokul, a software tester. I am seeing a potential danger in your message, that is creation of 'too-many-redudant-and-dumb-blog-posts' and lot of unwanted and overwhelming 'noise' of information about software testing.

In my opinion,serious value added blog posts are more important than creation of new blogs.A system for scrutinizing blog posts is the one we need to avoid the 'noise' of information.A potential danger of wrong information and wrong techniques are possible due to high volume of blogs.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Gokul,

I am Gokul, a software tester. I am seeing a potential danger in your message, that is creation of 'too-many-redudant-and-dumb-blog-posts' and lot of unwanted and overwhelming 'noise' of information about software testing.

Cool. I like your point. What do you think testers like you and me would do to those dumb posts - challenge them. Ain't it?

That helps them. Debasis Pradhan started with copy paste and then later self-developed to what he blogs today.

I think once we get them to the platform, we can help them grow better - if they are ok in receiving help from us.

I am Gokul, a software tester. I am seeing a potential danger in your message, that is creation of 'too-many-redudant-and-dumb-blog-posts' and lot of unwanted and overwhelming 'noise' of information about software testing.

Actually there is already lot of noise and that's why we need more good testers to blog to help reduction of the noise.

I know of a lot of bloggers who gave up getting tired of copy paste. They wont last longer.

Hey, I started blogging as a dumb ( and remain dumb to some ) but then I learned valuable things in the course of blogging and became not-so-dumb.

So, it helps. I am glad you have started to blog. My best wishes.

( There is also a selfish motive behind this post - I want to learn from people like you. You might be far away that I can't reach but I could learn about you and then your ideas of testing and help myself come out of partially-dumb mode )

Gokul said...

Hi Pradeep,

Very nice to know your views.Albeit, serious testers challenging the dumb blogs, there is always a chance of numerous blogs with misleading contents.

One way to handle this is to have group blogs, the group can be from same organization/team, or tester's personal testing friends across companies.In this way, there will be a hidden peer review and increased competency and less no.of.blogs which is good for blogger world. For e.g,a small group of 3 testers will reduce the blog list in the ratio of 3:1.

Eager to know your opinion.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Gokul,

Very nice to know your views.Albeit, serious testers challenging the dumb blogs, there is always a chance of numerous blogs with misleading contents.


There are testers who say I offer misleading content. Should I stop blogging?

One way to handle this is to have group blogs, the group can be from same organization/team, or tester's personal testing friends across companies.In this way, there will be a hidden peer review and increased competency and less no.of.blogs which is good for blogger world. For e.g,a small group of 3 testers will reduce the blog list in the ratio of 3:1.


If every tester were writing three blogs we can consider asking them to put it into one but currently the number of testers are so huge and the number of testing bloggers are so little.

Have a look at many reputed testing bloggers blogroll - how many Indian testers would you see in there blog roll?

Aren't there good people?


You can never control people putting in junk stuff. If you want to then 90% of the internet content has to be deleted and that may include some of my posts as well.

I would leave the choice to people reading the content than people writing it. If someone is being influenced by ready-made-answers and no thought process oriented problem solving approach, they deserve it. However, there might be a spark stage at everyone's life that might change things.

First lets get people to blog and then lets think about what is not so good and what is not so bad. Testing is a nascent field and blogging in testing is very young. So, we shouldn't be constraining growth at a young age and lets leave it for the future generations to decide.

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Gokul,

Just in case you come back here: My name is Pradeep /Soundararajan/. Your blog has an incorrect spelling of the same. I hope you would fix it.

Tahmid Munaz said...

Good post to inspire others to start blogging! As a "Bad Frog" i am gonna say again.. that you are genius! :)

Pradeep Soundararajan said...

@Tahmid,

As a "Bad Frog" i am gonna say again.. that you are genius! :)

It's bad frogs that make me feel like a genius :)

I hope the frog comes out of the well competing with this frog who is croaking outside the well talking to all frogs in the well to come out.

Dharmo Rakshathi Rakshitha: said...

Hi Pradeep,

It's a eye opener blog for all the testers who thinks their jobs are of less prio. And i used to be one among thm. But i am really proud to be tester.

I have gained lot of finer insights of testing from your posts. And i curse myself for being such a bad tester all these years.

Better late than never!!! I will get back with my blog :)

Anuj Sharma said...

Hi Pradeep,

I am a tester for the last nine months. Taking inspiration from your blogs and other tester bloggers, I have also started blogging.

http://passionatesting.blogspot.com

Please read it whenever you are free and let me know on the blog itself how you felt about it.


Thanks,
Anuj Sharma
http://passionatesting.blogspot.com

Abodeqa said...

Hi Pradeep,

I am also in the folk of people who are greatly inspired by your blog to start blogging.
Since i am new to blogging so i am just starting with the basic definition and with passed of time i will continue with the real learning that i have learned from my experience working with various product in Adobe.
Here is my link
http://abodeqa.wordpress.com

With Regrads
Dwarika D. Mishra
http://abodeqa.wordpress.com