How did you get Started in software testing?

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    During the age of the dinosaurs, when I was at school, I wanted to be biologist or a gardener. I left school and did a variety of jobs. I got involved in IT in the 1970’s, including a computer science degree. Both at work and on the degree there was a strong emphasis on testing.

    Static testing was the most important area at work. We were working on coding sheets and paper-tape. With 1 compile every 24 hours, and 30 minutes per week to test-execute the programs, it was really important to spend most of the week at the desk with pencil, paper and the source code, dry running the program under development, doing each step by hand. When you got to the compile, you wanted to be certain you had not made any silly mistakes that would prevent the compile. When you got your chance to run your program, you really did not want to have made mistakes in the code that meant it failed quickly – you did not want to waste your 30 minutes. Some of the experienced programmers I worked for – my mentors and coaches – would not put code forward for compiling until they had desk checked it enough to be certain that they could compile, execute it, and then put it live with no bugs and fully optimized for minimal resource usage, etc.. They would still test execute it! This was real time process control software so it wasn’t trivial. Desk checking was really hard work, but rewarding to do. I still return to paper and pencil when I have a hard problem to crack, as the speed of the machine sometimes disguises problems from my human eyes.

    On the degree, compiling and running programs was a faster turn-round, with more access to compiling on demand and executing tests. We were encouraged to write out our algorithm, flow chart, pseudo-code on paper before starting to code, and to design tests as we went along. But the emphasis was on writing code, getting it compiled and executing tests rather than on desk checking. I found this less interesting as an approach.

    After the degree I took a break from IT for 4 years and taught 9-13 year olds at a middle school.

    When I went back into IT, I applied for a programming job, but the company suggested that instead I went to the testing department for 6 months and then moved back into programming. I had not worked anywhere with a dedicated test team before, so this was an new experience. I realised quickly that this was my forte. In the test department we tested the new versions of the products but we also did causal analysis testing on all the customer fault reports, tracking back symptoms to their root causes. I loved that work – very complex problems to solve, lots of detective work, and so much more interesting than writing code to meet a specification. I had no interest in going into the programming team.

    As I became more experienced in testing, I also started to pick up on quality management in general – root cause analysis, single points of failure, prevention methods. In 1987 I went on two courses that influence me to this day, one run by Bill Hetzel and the other by Mike Hennell. Bill Hetzel introduced me to new ideas in test management, test techniques and approaches – he was the first person I heard use the phrase “test then code”. Mike Hennell’s course was about code coverage measurement with tools and was a revelation – he made us design tests for a program and demonstrated how little of the code we’d touched when we’d tested all the black box/user experience. Soon after that I met Dot Graham, who has been a mentor to me ever since; her help has been invaluable. Her book with Tom Gilb on Software Inspection took me back to my early days of desk checking, but also caught up themes from Hetzel & Hennell. Patterns were emerging. I started going to conferences where I met like minded people, so I learnt more and more. I remember for example at a EuroSTAR conference – I cannot remember the date but years ago – sitting on the floor in a corridor with Stuart Reid while he showed me how to do code coverage analysis by hand – we spent ages on this as he revealed the tool box of techniques underlying the testing tools I had seen in Mike Hennell’s course. It was so exciting!

    So years pass, I work on in quality and testing. The roles take on a larger scope, across organisations, outside IT as well as in IT. The principles still apply, the methods sometimes change and update. Or even disappear and reappear. Now I am a company quality manager, but I have not lost my excitement when I am analysing a really juicy new problem, or working through a complex state diagram, or building an influence diagram. I started by learning form people older than me, then I was learning from my contemporaries. And now I’m learning from people younger than me. That’s brilliant isn’t it?

    Every conference I go to I learn something new. EuroSTAR 2014 is still informing my thinking and I’m still reflecting on it and implementing changes because of the conference. Fiona Charles made me think again about leadership, Shmeul Gerson fired up important thoughts about story telling and how information changes as you transmit it. Rob Lambert helped me think about making change happen. Julian Harty completely altered how I was approaching some performance testing. Andy Stanford-Clarke made me want to get techie again and to join in the new social media… I joined twitter because of his talk!

    Testing/quality is such a wonderful area to work in – for friendship and comradeship, for constant life long learning, for the new problems that emerge as the world changes, for intellectual stimulation. I am lucky to be part of this. And I’m still desk checking after all these years…

    Oh – you just wanted to know how I got started didn’t you…? I’m still starting…


    Quite simple really, when I trained as a developer (a long time ago) the importance of testing over coding was ingrained onto me. Test, test and test again, then release it to the formal testers, expect pain if they find something you should have but didn’t.

    Quality is, in my opinion, the only criteria on which enterprise software can be judged, not only in carrying out the designed function but in testing for every foreseeable event that is NOT part of the functionality. Formal, separate testing is the only way to achieve this, the developer knows so well what the code should do that they can easily develop tunnel vision and never do the things that will break their code.


    I played with writing code ever since I was nine, and my dad had bought a BBC B to do his accounts. I was soon learning code to hack an Elite savegame.
    Step forward fifteen years or so and I had completed a Masters in politics and at a loss of what to do with myself. Luckily someone knew I was into computers and asked me to step forward as a junior test analyst.

    I almost didn’t make it, as I looked blankly at my interviewer when he asked me what I knew about testing. Three months in and I was peer reviewing other people’s test scripts, had coded a small Access database to track all of the testing that was going on, and producing the reports for the daily project meetings.
    Now seventeen-odd years later, I’ve had a wide range of testing and quality assurance roles (never confuse the two), and enjoyed most of them. I’m a contractor, so you have to be flexible, which means I’ve worked in incredibly technical areas, writing .NET test harnesses and QTP automation scripts, to pure Quality Assurance of the entire SDLC (from requirements onwards), and test management.


    After finishing my Computer Engineering studies, I started as a developer in an IT company developing in Cobol . After some time, I tried to do some changes in my career, but always within development until I finally started working in my current company 6 year later. I started also as a developer but after 6 month a testing team was planned to be created and the manager that was creating this team told me if I wanted to be member of the team. I know very few about testung that time, my unit tests and next level test done in collaboration with other developers (there was no testing culture in the company), but it was fresh air so I said yes. This way I became the fist member of the new testing team and started learning and getting experience on testing. Eight years later the team has increased and I have a totally different knowledge about testing and QA than I had when the team was started. So, this is the short story about my trip until the software testing 🙂


    I did completed my Graduation on Computing and information systems under London Metropolitan University. and I found this software Testing kind of interesting job so I decide to build career in this field 😉


    I studied Business and got a BS in Business Administration but I didn’t really know what to do with it at the time. I spent a few years in the U.S. army in the Signal Corps and when I left the army I needed to finally figure out what I wanted to do. I was always into computers so I thought I should expand on that. I joined an insurance company as a COBOL programmer since many current programmers where retiring. A few years later, I then decided to move to Germany and there I got a job at a consultancy that were going to train me as a C++ programmer. On my first day they said;.”Well, we kind of don’t need any more C++ programmers, Would like to test the software?”. That is how I got started in testing. I was only previously involved with testing my own code. Since then I have had spent at least 80% of time in some sort of testing role from tester, test team lead, test manager, agile test evangelist etc. Over that time (~14 years) I realized how exciting software testing can be and what a rewarding experience it can be and for me personally. Over time, I realized that I associate myself best with the Context-Driven School of software testing. This is a challenge in the country of Germany.


    I got into testing by accident through (non)-translation. I did my degree in languages and linguistics, and traveled to Germany “for the summer” to practice my language by getting any kind of job. After a couple of unsuccessful weeks looking for restaurant/pub jobs, I saw a sign that said a company was looking for a native English speaker to translate user documentation for a product. I got the job, but it turned out that there was no user documentation source to translate from. Also, we were writing the docs on Linux (for me up until that point, computers just “came” with Windows), in Latex (whut?) with Emacs (I beg your pardon?!).

    Alongside learning what all those things were, I had to find out what to document, so I went to team meetings. Since we had no automated build and certainly no automated tests back then, much of my documentation work was finding out whether a) the software (still) worked like we’d discussed and b) whether a user would ever understand what we’d done. It’s remained one of my “bad smells” that if it’s hard to document, it’s perhaps too complicated. I’m not the sort of person who can keep their mouth shut, so I was soon involved in presenting my view on how things could be done and I was vocal when things weren’t working. Over time, I became someone who understood the product as a user – and have been (or still am) a tester for it, a consultant for it (it’s an open source automated testing tool), and its product owner. Now I’m also head of our test consulting team.

    Funnily enough, I’ve kind of gone full circle. I spend a lot of my time “translating” between business users and development teams, between customers and consultants and between individual team members. I love asking questions of software and learning about how it works (both in a technical and a user-sense). I enjoy automating checks and teaching others to do so. I see testing as a craft that always has the capability to inspire me – and I aim to inspire other people and teams in their testing journeys.

    Those “two months” became “forever” plus a career, a German husband and German citizenship 😉


    I finished my computer sciences study at the Technical University of Eindhoven. This implied that I needed to register at the unemployment office and I was ‘forced’ to start looking for a job 🙄 . I was certain about one thing: I do not want to become a developer, I want a job where the focus is on people and not on computers. Maybe I should have thought about this before I started my study, but, hey, I was only 17 year old when I had to choose.
    When I walked out of the unemployment office, they handed me a piece of paper (A4) with a job that might be interesting (quality analist). Since you have an obligation to apply for jobs, I did.

    It was the best choice in my career thus far and I ended up being the first junior tester (in a group of 4). Ever since that moment I’ve been passionate about delivering high quality products. And thus far testing has been a great way to help achieve that.

    I was fortunate to be allowed to play almost any possible role in testing (tester, team lead, test manager, test trainer, coach, sales, unit manager, consultant, tool specialist, architect, author, speaker, …) in a variety of situations, environments and companies.


    Even before i finished my Masters (Master of Computer Applications) i got placed in a reputed Indian IT company (year 2000) through campus placements. We were trained by one of best trainers in Java, JSP,J2EE and what not….obviously our company was expecting many ecommerce projects. But as it turned out ecommerce was a failure or atleast market didnt have many projects it expected. So all we so called Java experts look out for something or anything (within IT ) for which i was ok actually. So there was a vacancy for a junior database administrator for which i readily agreed, as i want to jump into action rather waiting for my “dream project” or “dream role”. Project was initial phase where there were many rapid database structural changes for which i wrote scripts and documented. After few weeks database got somewhat stabilised and was requirement for testers( such role which i honestly didnt know exist, those were earlier days i guess when project teams started having dedicated testing team with a test manager -test lead-tester. I said as it sounded exciting, the very idea of trying to find defects in code written by developers. I quickly realised Tester role was very critical in our project as our client expected absolutely zero bugs in the application we developed. So that was a challenge enough for us to find as many defects as possible and also documented heavily each and every test case we executed , to prove to client not only how much testing we did and also showcase how better the application is.
    Then i was called a very good , dedicated , smart and hard working tester 🙂 …gave me additional responsibilities soon, to lead a small team of 3-4 people.
    There you go i got the required stamp and all subsequent projects i was considered in one of those Testing role and frankly speaking i too didnt say no , as i enjoyed what i was doing.
    Now , i just dont realise how i spent already 15 years in IT. Currently into UK market and i am more than hopeful that i have lot of scope to learn many tools,frameworks and many more things here.


    told us on twitter –

    So I asked him how he got his first job and did he do a course in software training before it or did he just get trained in on the job –


    To elaborate on my tweet to @esconfs/TestHuddle earlier –

    From 1996 – 2000 I was training as a Primary School teacher at Bath Spa University. In my final year or so I came to the slow realisation that teaching was not the vocation for me . I really enjoyed working with children, but the massive barrage of bureaucracy and the sheer workload was not for me. I did find that my opportunities to help my fellow students and even qualified teachers with their ICT knowledge and skills was an avenue that I did enjoy. There were only very few of my fellow students who had any programming or software development knowledge prior to starting university (I learnt to program on the various BBC Micros, Acorn, Sinclair, Commodore, Apple and IBM machines I had access to as a lad).

    Shortly before I graduated, I gave up on teaching and found a job at the AOL/CompuServe call centre that used to be in Bristol. I supported customers with their billing and technical support issues. I also made it plain in the department, including my line management, that I wanted to learn other technical skills, so had started a local college course in web development. It covered things like HTML, JavaScript and CSS.

    After a while, I got noticed by the small technical department upstairs. One of their engineers asked me to be a guinea pig for a screen pop application they wanted to introduce. I did that for a few weeks, and thus began my first foray into explicitly testing software. I was tasked to report any issues I found with the screen pop utility during my working day. It was a fantastic chance!!!

    Following that, that engineer suggested strongly that I apply for the system analyst job that was coming up in the tech department on the top floor. They were producing a new CRM tool alongside the development team in the United States HQ. I got the job. I spent a great deal of time working alongside the dev teams in the USA and our integration partners here in the UK. I spent some time working and training in Herndon, Virginia near Washington DC, and also Jacksonville, Florida.

    Initially the job was to localise new application from US English into UK English, French and German. After that phase was complete, the development went back to the USA, but the team found that they needed some testers locally. My role always included an element of testing, but it eventually evolved into a testing role, with other elements of on site training and support as we rolled out the tool to the rest of the AOL call centres across Europe. The rest, as they say, is history.

    Almost 15 years later, I am now working in a great team with New Voice Media, and a frequent contributor to the test community through meetups, talks and workshops!


    I did the Assurity graduate programme in 2012 🙂
    I wrote up a blog post on it

    In short, I stumbled upon it – I hadn’t heard of testing as a career option when I was at uni studying Economics and German, but when I went on the Uni careers page I saw the Assurity website. I did a bit of research and it appealed to me. The rest is history.

    Ronan Healy

    I’m still amazed that no two software testers have the same story. Everyone seems to have a different route into software testing. Loads of great stories here. Keep them coming.

    Ronan Healy

    By the way @Nicola, great profile pic.

    Kalilur Rahman

    I have done all types of roles in SDLC. I stumbled upon testing thrice with third time being the longest. I felt that I enjoyed testing, albeit the fact that I do have a penchant for coding due to my background and how I started career. Testing is a structured discipline with it’s own set of challenges. As a personal POV – with Testing, once can gain better soft skills, people management and relationship management skills than other disciplines of SDLC.

    Testing is here to stay and is a brilliant field to be in.


    Poacher turned gamekeeper….
    After years working on analytical business problems using BASIC and Visicalc/Lotus 12-2-3/Excel, I got into training and then assessment of skills. This crystallised as spreadsheet auditing following the first meeting of the European Spreadsheet Risk Interest Group (EuSpRIG) in 2000. Since then I have developed by own tools for static testing of spreadsheets and use them in model review assignments as well as supporting others in their use.. Functional testing is still the weak point in this field because once IF() functions are used the number of cases explodes combinatorially.


    An interesting response from Colin Deady on Twitter


    I worked for a governmental quango in the UK who were looking at bringing in an electronic system of carrying out the general work of processing cases. It was part of a digital strategy to go paperless. As such, they required people to volunteer as testers to test out parts of the application. As they were using an external body to develop the software, the initial product was terrible in terms of quality but I enjoyed being involved and found it really interesting working with user stories and trying to make the system work. I volunteered initially on a rotational basis but quickly asked to be part of it day to day, after a year the team had dwindled to 5 of us (4 testers and a test lead) and they decided to launch what was developed and just roll with it. So we began a process of familiarising over 400 members of staff with the system followed by a full day training course for each member over the course of a month whilst the system went live. The launch wasn’t too successful but over the 18 months that followed I found myself in the position where I began to learn test processes (at this point we would literally do exploratory tests and nothing too formal) and introduced formality within the team. The test lead left us and this gave me the opportunity to show what I could do. At this point I was only still “on loan” as a tester but after that summer I developed new test tools based on my own ideas and proved my worth as a tester by building my knowledge base from scratch. In autumn 2013 they made the role permanent and place me with 1 other person as “lead testers” (we technically were test leads but they didn’t want to give us this title because of the salary increase involved). As part of the deal to give the role, i was put forward for my ISTQB certified tester qualification along with 10 other people who would become part of a support team (we did quarterly deployments so it was usually a lot of testing in such a short space of time). I sat the course and from feedback achieved one of the highest markings of those who took the exam. So with my official qualification (despite no IT knowledge prior to becoming a tester) I now had a career path in front of me. So i hit the job market for testers and after 10 months of searching, many applications and no prospects I landed a job with my current employer as a test analyst, giving me my first official role as a tester and beginning my career as a professional tester.

    I’ve just passed my probation and the future looks bright. I admit that I am not the most knowledgable in terms of my job but I know enough to be able to actively contribute and be an integral part of the team. I was sitting in on a webinar for an automation tool this morning when i just happened to find this website which I hope can help me learn and develop new skills and principles as a tester.

    So that’s my story, I put my hand up to volunteer and nearly 5 years later I’m in a professional job doing what i initially volunteered to do.


    Growing up in the 60s and 70s I was aware of computers because my father worked with them. (His boss had said ‘We need a computer expert, You’re it’). However I can no ambition to follow him until I found myself unemployed after 3 months in childcare. I registered with a computer jobs agency and they put me forward for a trainee programmer job with Metal Box.

    I remained a programmer for the next 30 years and enjoyed the work. I particularly enjoyed the testing which I saw as an important part of the job. There were no pure testers in the teams I worked in. I had transferred to a software company via TUPE and now found myself in scope to transfer to another manufacturer which was taking work back in-house. For various reasons, including location, I did not want to go so had to find an alternate role in hurry. My technical skills were in AS400/I series which my employer was concentrating at the other end of the country. There were test roles going at another site within commuting distance. So I became a tester.


    My personal journey into software testing started back in 1991. I was working for a lumber wholesale distributor for several months. At that time the satellite office did not have a computer system of any type. All orders were written on paper, logged and then the actual order forms were compiled and sent out of province via inter office mail, daily, to the head office where the orders were key punched into the computer system.
    The company realized that by installing the computer system in the satellite office they would be far more effective so I was voluntold that I would be going to the head office for a week, learning the system and bringing the information back, setting up the whole system and training the staff.
    I flew to Montreal, spent a week learning everything I could. There was a somewhat formal training, then they sat me in front of the system and encouraged me to try everything. I was hooked. this wasn’t pure testing, but from my perspective, the first time seeing the system and being encouraged to explore what it could (and couldn’t do) was amazing. I read a quote that week that said, if it aint broken I aint working hard enough. So I explored everything I possibly could think of and more.
    The training and installation were hugely succesful. A few short months later we were preparing for an upcoming physical inventory and realized that we were still doing everything manually for this process, and sending completed books to the head office to be key punched so I worked with the IT department, at that time it was one person, and developed a tool to help us with our physical counts. I started from scratch with no input from anybody and figured out how to plan and then test the application in advance of the inventory. It was both exhilerating and exhausting and I loved every minute of it. Discovering a bug in the application was like a eureka moment and we celebrated every one we found during our testing, treated it as a gift. We were able to fix all bugs prior to our inventory and at the time I estimated our savings as a result was quite high.
    I left that organization a few years later and went to work for another company without any computer systems, everything was done on paper. I actually only worked there for a few months. They had no interest in moving forward to a computerized environment and frankly the whole schedules on paper using pencil, red and blue pen and highlighters was boring and just could not keep me interested.
    Fortunately I then moved on to the organization where I still work, the first introduction was a project introducing this amazing product that nobody else had, high speed internet delivered over DSL. First of its kind in Atlantic Canada. Since that first project in 1998 I have been involved with software developement, business analysis and testing to some level. I spent several years as a facilitator and expert on the IT Delivery shops software development lifecycle. Each project I have been on I have spent time trying to improve testing, make it faster, make it more effective. I was on a project in 2007 that was introducing a new group called the Test Centre of Excellence. I developed a number of roles to support the team including the role of a Test PQA (Process Quality Advisor). It was such an interesting and unique role that I applied for the position and was successful. So for several years I was the Test PQA in our Test CoE, from there I moved into our IT Effectiveness program where my previous experiences allowed me to thrive and provide guidance and direction. I also developed a Practice Committee, a team of professionals represneting multuiple disciplines from project management to business analysis to testing. As of yesterday, I have been offered the position of Business Analysis Practice Prime. In this role I will be responsible for best practices in both the Requirments and Test Discipline areas. I also wrote my exam in 2008 and achieved the CBAP professional designation.
    in conclusion I would say that I stumbled into testing by accident and was immediately hooked!


    After my graduation I started to work as a developer for a Test Automation Framework. During that time I did mostly development. When I felt it was time to change something I started to look for a job in London. Finally I found a job as a QA Engineer. They were looking for a software tester with a strong technical background. I took the job and from this time on I got more and more into the whole testing world – not just technically.
    That’s basically my way so far and who knows what the future will bring.


    It was interesting for me!
    I gone out to an interview for a developer position here in Brazil. I did a math and a logical test then after a technical test.
    I passed them all, but there was only 3 positions and was the 4th in a list, they offered me a position in the QA area.
    At first I didn’t like that, but I accepted to get involved with IT area in general (also because that was my fist opportunity during the graduation).
    After this get so involved with testing I never thought about being a developer again.
    Then I stayed in that first company for a year and 3 months and other company invited me to an interview to a better position a better remuneration, an I changed.
    Now here I am, a SQA Analyst with a CTFL certification on my name testing any kind of application and implementing the automation area.

    Best Regards,

    Lucas Ribeiro


    I got involved in software testing by accident, really. I have never in my life made long term career plans but gone where an opportunity has presented itself – and never had to regret my choices. I have studied political science and economics, but never graduated from those and had miscellaneous jobs over the years. I was between jobs some 15 years ago and took a course in software development. It included absolutely no training for testing, though, and I thought that being a developer is definitely something I will not do for a living. I was ready to look for something else, but after the course I happened to hear that a testing department was being set up in a large IT company and they were hiring in my home town. I applied and to my astonishment got the job. I started as a tester and fell in love immediately! Ever since I have not wanted to do anything else but develop as tester and over the recent years also as test manager. Testing is extremely well suited to my personality and gives me an opportunity to influence on quality throughout the development and maintenance life cycle.


    For me, technical writing led to documenting test automation tools, which led to testing. Now I’ve come full circle, and as a QA manager, I’ve folded the documentation team into QA, which is a combination I love. (Dedicated testers and writers, but working side by side.)

    In the meantime, my son is a new university graduate, and he wants to be a tester right off the bat. Chip off the ol’ block! 😀


    I started out as a developer, which seems to be a fairly common start amongst us. We didn’t have a ‘formal’ test team, we all helped each other in testing our code prior to going to production. I seemed to consistently test and find bugs prior to going live, and I just gradually moved into a full-time testing position!


    I studied information technology in the financial sphere, then I graduated the faculty of finance and credit to get a job in a banking. I got a job at Converse Bank, but soon found out that I was not growing professionally, usually doing the same work. I left that position and 10 days later found a job in an IT company. Worked with the big data, and then I was transferred to a group of testers. There I was testing mobile games, later web applications and simulators. Currently I am testing web tool (CRM). I believe that our project will be a success for all of us (our team). I enjoy every modernization of the tool. I am responsible for the quality, I try to make our product more easy for use. Testing in my nature. I am finding bugs everywhere, and trying to fix them myself. I appreciate quality in everything and try to work quality. I enjoy my working process, love my work. When I see a product with bad quality I think to myself: “maybe tester is resigned” 😉 The second qualification I would like to have is UX, UI specialist, I want to learn, as a hobby, then combine it with my regular work – FrontEnd QA (engineer).

    Jokin Aspiazu

    It’s a funny question. One year ago, my friend Tomislav and I we recorded a video telling this same story.


    I started working at Ericsson Telecom in 1984 at a testing department, testing main processor in switching equipment. I found that work was done systematically and it felt very meaningful. Also, i got a very good system overview. We used a scripting language to automate testing, simulating an operator console. This positive experience have kept me in or near testing field since. Now 30 years later after working several years as a manager (for test teams) I have returned to a more technical level and it feels fantastic.


    my first job was an digital ASIC engineer. In that industry, 20% time for design and implementation, rest for all kinds of tests. Quality is very strict because it is very difficult/impossible to make a ‘patch’ once the chip is in mass production,.The loss would be very expensive. I spent many time in verification, design the testbench, create the mathematical model, and testcase. and I learnt a lot of test technique.

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