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Hi everyone,

I was reflecting on many conversations I’ve had around growth in testing with some peers in the community and up-and-coming testers and engineers. While it would take many blogs and talks to unpack these, I thought it would be fun to come up with a random unordered list of skills, approaches, habits, and growth ideas that I wish I had known at the start of my testing career to mature.

How do I think about testing now? 🤔

Testing is a deep and multifaceted discipline with many things to learn and incredible power to deliver delightful outcomes for your customers. If done well, it can enable the whole company to move fast and ship with confidence. The ultimate goal of testing is to enable the building of a quality product and service that brings delight.

Skills 🤹

  • Learn Touch typing
  • Learn mind mapping
  • Learn how to gauge risk and increase test coverage at different layers systematically
  • Learn the fundamentals of testing well and then don’t stop, keep going.
  • Speak up in meetings and discussions (don’t be shy)
  • Ask those dumb questions, and always be curious
  • Be polyglot and learn a static and dynamic programming language and then some more
  • Learn to code and read lots of code
  • Learn to design efficient CI/CD pipelines
  • The test pyramid is also an indication of what you can learn about different layers of testing
  • Don’t focus on only UI or Backend. Look at the system as a whole.
  • Focus on the customer and their UI/UX touchpoints. These should never break
  • Learn the basic API of the tool or framework and then keep going deeper
  • Learn to problem solve in leet code and understand data structures and system design
  • Learn how to manage up
  • Learn how to build your network up

Approach and attitude 🙂

  • Begin anywhere
  • Be a tinkerer
  • Be humble and grounded. Recognize that there is always room to grow
  • Be a friend to someone new and help them grow along with you.
  • Encourage psychological safety in your team.
  • Find a mentor and learn from them on a set of topics. Then find another. Keep growing.
  • Don’t restrict yourself to one area (web, mobile, backend, data, performance, security, CI) - Mix things up!
  • Quality is everyone’s responsibility but someone needs to champion it
  • If you are not learning in an environment, either change yourself or change your environment.
  • Leverage the power of the internet and the wide and open testing community. You’ll learn better and faster
  • Don’t give up when you see a problem; be comfortable saying “I don’t know this …… YET”
  • Learn something, teach it to others, and move on to other and better things to focus on.
  • Don’t be a silo and a single point of failure
  • Reading docs is your best friend
  • You don’t need to wait for a course or a class to teach you something. Be self-taught as much as possible
  • Clear writing is clear thinking
  • Don’t focus on the title but on developing skills. You are not your title
  • Always be a net positive contributor on your team, focus on outcomes
  • Don’t limit yourself to only testing but also learn from engineering (Dev, DevOps, AI/ML, and PM) and nonengineering communities and their practices.
  • Don’t restrict yourself to one persona of a tester but be a generalist software engineer

Habits ⌨️

  • Build a note-taking system. It will compound you faster.
  • Schedule consistent and deliberate learning time
  • Maintain a summary and narrative of your work regularly
  • Build the habit of reading books and summarising them
  • Listen to podcasts while doing life chores. Make your chores fun!
  • Read blogs and newsletters to learn from your peers
  • Propose talks at conferences as a way of learning
  • Adopt open source, be part of the community, and contribute however you can.

Growth 🌱

All of the above and …

  • Build, learn, and share in the open as much as possible
  • Develop a personal roadmap and OKRs and evaluate your progress
  • Maintain a personal tech brand
  • Explore working in diverse work environments like services, products, startups, scale-ups, and big tech to develop a broad perspective

Did I miss any? Please let me know in the comments

Thanks for the time you spent reading this 🙌. If you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends and follow me (@automationhacks) for more such insights in Software Testing and Automation. Until next time, Happy Testing 🕵🏻 and Learning! 🌱 Newsletter YouTube Blog LinkedIn Twitter.