I have spoken bad about testers in India in the past. I received an applause for it from Americans, Europeans & even Indians. I didn't consider it a sin. There is an equal (no, wait, "much more") applause if an American was complaining about testers in India being bad in testing. I just didn't mind that. That was a few years ago.
2 weeks ago, I had an opportunity to speak at STC2010 conference in Bangalore. The turnout was awesome. About 400+ people. For the first time, I witnessed latecomers looking out for chairs that were vacant. You could simply call it house full.
Critical thinking demonstration
For me, software testing conferences in India is more about meeting interesting people (who don't have a public presence, yet do lots of good work) and less about the keynote speakers or their content. Some talks, in my humble-less opinion were pretty bad but that's why the good ones amidst them were shining and bright.
Ajay Jain, from Adobe, Noida in particular gave a talk that I stood up and clapped for what he said. He said things like, "If something takes time, the immediate instinct is to automate but how about letting certain things take its own sweet time because there could be a value in it."
There appears to be hungry vultures waiting to find an opportunity to automate something that is taking time and amidst those people, Ajay Jain, is a star because he is thinking critical. I didn't know him before that talk. Later, I went up to him and talked a good deal. There are many undiscovered Ajay Jain's in India.
ET & SBTM experience reports
Moving to a poster presentation by Shaham Yusuf and his lead Vivekanand Suman from Delloite, Mumbai where they published an experience report of exploratory testing & session based test management. They talked about how their exploratory testing influenced the developers and in turn how its doing good to their product. The most important thing about these guys is that they had sought permission from their organization to present some of their actual reports in a conference and allowed more people to know that exploratory testing and session based test management is put in use at large organizations and in large projects.
Heading the certification campaign by opposing it
I then picked up a conversation with a tester at the conference lobby on certifications. She works for a large organization and is responsible for certifications in her organization other than her usual work to find bugs and report them. I assumed she was certified too but it turned out that she wasn't. She doesn't believe in certifications and had the guts to say, "Don't enforce a certification on me. You want me to be a good tester, I can prove it to you at work. You are welcome anytime to my project and I am willing to answer your questions about my work" to the senior management. When I was thinking that I know of all testers in India who are as bold as me, she proved me wrong.
So, how is she leading the certification responsibility? She is helping people choose a certification that suits their mindset. When she identifies a tester wanting to improve the skill and not for the sake of getting one, she is making those people aware of BBST course. She said, "If I didn't take up the responsibility of leading the certifications group, then I am not sure if the other person would have suggested BBST for a few to whom I did".
Fantastic. We would imagine girls in India to be the shy types and say, "I want a 9 to 5 job. Got to take care of my in-laws" but then someone like this (and of course Parimala, Meeta, Jassi, Krishnaveni...) are a blessing to India and its future in software testing.
Testing in Testing Institute, not Certifications
Then I met a person who is running a testing institute. I had perused his website sometime back and after seeing ads on certification, I thought, "Yet another testing institute wooing people with certification" but talking to him changed that perception. He said, "Ah, you believe everything that is there on a website? Shouldn't be doing that" and continued, "Our institute focuses on trying to help people develop testing and thinking skills. We don't stress on certifications or their content but still if they want, we don't say No".
These people are like soldiers in the border of your country guarding you, whose names you don't know. In the above two cases, I feel, you shouldn't know their names. They are doing a fantastic job. I think they should come out and speak in public what they spoke to me after they have achieved some more great success.
Our own test automation power
I was glad to meet Narayan Raman, the developer and product owner of Sahi, a web application testing tool. We had met more than a couple of times in the past. He was a very special invitee at Google Test Automation Conference 2010. Over the last two meetings, I realize how much important is Narayan Raman for India. He has the zeal, skill and enthusiasm to put India on a higher scale. He is giving a run for tools like Selenium and with his tool starting to support Flex from next couple of months, I think Sahi is a rock star. Check out the comparison between Sahi and Selenium
Weekend Testing & Weeknight Testing
If you don't know about Weekend Testing, you should visit http://weekendtesting.com and spend enough time there to learn this big revolution started in India and now the whole world seems to be catching up. Americans are extremely happy & excited of having their own chapter. Europeans are enjoying it. It was also featured in Eurostar and got a standing ovation. James Bach had a dream of seeing Weekend Testing becoming Weekday Testing. His dream got closer to reality during London Testers Gathering where Mike Scott proposed the idea and Sharath joined the bandwagon with some other good people to kick off Weeknight Testing. I didn't believe till then that it's only in United Kingdom that (K)nighthood is bestowed to people. The knights didn't wait for the queen though.
Bangalore Workshop on Software Testing is a peer conference inspired by my own experience with Toronto Workshop on Software Testing. We have been running it over the last two years and the next one is coming up in Feb / March 2011. We are planning 2 days instead of just one by looking at how many more people want to join and how much they are enjoying it.
Exploratory Testing & Rapid Software Testing
The interest for Exploratory Testing & Rapid Software Testing has grown to a great extent in the last few years. I myself have trained about 1000 testers on it ever since I started doing Exploratory & Rapid Software Testing Workshops. You are seeing a lot more testers demanding freedom and ready to take up that additional responsibility that accompanies freedom because they are working on their skills.
Hands on Testing Coaching for College Graduates
I don't know if you have gone through this report on excerpts of work done by participants of hands on testing training. There were businessmen in India who volunteered to allow me to experiment a complete hands on testing training with hardly one hundred slides for one month of training.
The outcome of of doing this with one batch is, we have Santhosh Tuppad as the multiple bug battle competitions winner who is giving a run for other country testers (and even other testers from India) a real hard run to be able to win the bug battles he is competing. The other people who chose not to write and work as public as Santhosh Tuppad are doing excellent and their employers are way too happy to pay them well.
Good blogs from India
When you were thinking a lot of testing blogs from India are horrible copy paste and plagiarized stuff, you also saw the rise of some good bloggers. Parimala Shankaraiah stands as one who started blogging less than two years ago and people like Lisa Crispin who is the author of the book Agile Testing and has been writing for long, considers Parimala as her hero. We have many other testers like Dhanasekar, Nandagopal, Vipul Kocher, Rahul Verma, Ajoy Singha, Santhosh Tuppad... joining to the band of good testing bloggers. The last few recently started blogs never had a copy paste but original content. Testers have started to write down their experiences.
So, So, So, So, So, So, So, So, So?
A couple of years ago, if you heard someone talk bad things about all testers in India and you laughed at what they said because you thought they were speaking truth, you did the right thing. We were bad.
Henceforth, dear other country folks, if you hear someone talk bad about all Indian testers, I still encourage you to laugh but for a different reason that they don't know or are ignorant about what is really happening here.
A note to Indian testers: On a second thought, I wouldn't encourage you to laugh at them if they are from America or Europe or elsewhere because some Heads of Testing in India themselves don't know about all these. Silently giggle if you are working in one such company and get on because you are the future. Ensure, the future generations don't giggle at you because you are not going to know that even if they did. Is your Head of Testing aware you giggled right now? If giggling isn't your types, then go educate them.
Remember, you are the future and work even more harder and smarter.