What Is This Testing Thing?

By Heleen Van Schandevyl, Test Engineer

Software Testing

There is a dreaded question at each and every type of social event. No matter how many times the same people have asked the exact same one, you will still hear it. 

"So, what is it that you do again?" 

Depending on the age and general understanding of “computer stuff” of the person asking this inane question, the answer can vary wildly. Unless the person asking works in the IT industry, the answer "Test Engineer," isn't going to get you far.

My advice: start with software tester and work your way down. 

The explanation at the very bottom of the ladder, “I check computer programs to see if they work.” 

It's a wrong answer, and some people in the Testing blogosphere may ritually murder you for it, but GranGran will understand. 

So, why would you want to be a tester? And, what exactly is testing? 

If you are a good communicator, with great attention to detail and correctness (and you enjoy both of those things), testing could be for you! You must be good at finding faults, following a set of often badly-written requirements, and seeing where improvements could be relevant. That is literally the job.  

Being a good communicator is vital. You must be able to send those suggestions in such a way that it prevents people from wanting to throw you out a window. It's a great challenge of balancing scales, and other people's opinions.  

Of course, this is an exaggeration. But, the communicative aspect of working in IT should not be underestimated. Being a tester often involves asking a lot of questions. Why does the application work like this? Shouldn't it be like this? What does this button do? Why is it there? Or, asking for clarifications about the results of your tests. After all, how else would you know if something is a bug or a feature?

Like in most professions, there is not one standard profile for Testers. One company will value one set of skills over the other, and the interpretation of what Testing entails can vary from project to project. Not to mention that Testing itself is a varied discipline; from manual testing, to automatization, to security testing, to user interface testing, etc. You really can test unto infinity. 

For more detailed information about testing, visit our CTG Training website. Our unique training program is dedicated exclusively to meet the training needs of professionals, with specific tracks for Specialists, Consultants and Managers. Our instructors offer a variety of courses on testing, all taught with CTG’s high quality standards.

“Test Engineer” may not be the most exciting, easy-to-understand answer to the dreaded question at parties, but it sure can be a rewarding career!


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