Responsibility in Software Testing

After people hear what I actually do, they somehow start thinking that maybe they should change their field and go into testing as it seems so easy:
Seriously, how come this job needs no pre-requirements, no degrees, anyone can do it, and, yet, it gets paid pretty well?

No. Not everyone can be a software tester. Not only you have to think constantly and be technology-friendly, but the main thing a tester has to deal with is… responsibility. 

I got this developer lunch buddy. We somehow synchronized our patterns and meet during the lunch break. Being all so curious, I asked him what he thinks of testers in general. Is it true that some developers look to testers from high above? Of course, he was not as emotional as a female and said that he does not feel any hard feelings on testers. However, to be honest, there are only a few good testers. Most of the testers just work… to work. Not to name the teams of countries (somehow he got bad experience with certain nationalities), but as he says “I don’t understand, how come for them everything passes, and, whatever I run – it does not work?”. 

If you want an easy life, you could just write pass on every single test case and act that everything works fine, or, as it worked in a previous release. Then you would just sit in the office, maybe playing solitaire or sitting on facebook, mark test plans as pass, and, live happily ever after. Not forever, though. Product gets released, users notice bugs, and… it comes back to you. 

Passing every test plan is somehow an extreme case. However, it can be also the case, that a tester bumps into just main and obvious bugs, or, sticks to the test plan if there is one. The scariest part is that:

Tester is responsible for a bug he did not notice. 

Even if a developer is the one who created the software, but… When it comes to testing and getting paid for that – everyone hopes for the best job possible. Then developers just take reported bugs one by one and fix them. Developers do not report new bugs as they trust testers. This means that all bugs that are left in the software first of all are because of lousy testers. 

When I started out, I would just blindly get stuck to the test plan. I was scared to play around. Last week, my manager wrote to me about a project I worked on my first week. It figures there was a test plan on 2014 version of software installed together with version of 2013. I did that smoke test and it passed, nothing new. And now support says that users say that integration for 2013 stops working when 2014 is installed! Manager is like “Did you check 2013? It was not written but I take it as kind of a common sense to do that.”. My answer was really simple “My common sense was non-existent at the very start. I did what was written, not something more.”. After a day he made me redo that test on 2013. It passed. It figures that I was lucky this time: users themselves did something wrong (later reported that it works again). I said to my manager that “oh well, magic happens”. And his reply was: “There is no magic in software.”.

After all this we come to a one more important thing. Managers just plan things, developers just fix things, and, well…

Testers need to have a big picture of the software and work for it to be bug-free themselves.

This means that a tester cannot just be stuck with a test plan. A tester needs to look around and think what he’s testing, what else could be somehow complicated. Even if test plans have a time limit, but… We work for a bug-free software and have to work hard to achieve it.  

One more thing is that only testers are like users pre-release. Usually, the bosses are so high above that they don’t even write requirements what they hope from the software. Developers don’t know themselves what bosses want. Manager just makes sure that we all are getting along. 

Testers have to decide how software is going to be. 

Of course, it comes with discussions with management and developers. However, we write bugs about changes that need to be made, we make suggestions, and, we get asked even by developers – how should it work. This is a difficult task at times as we would like just to work and not to think too much. However, creation of software is a long process. 

To sum everything up, there is no easy life in testing. If you want to be a good tester, sometimes you will spend hours trying to figure out something that may not be working. And, you cannot trust previous testers – maybe they are one of those always pass people who live comfortable lives. 

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