Recently a friend of mine lost his job in software development. I offered him the possibility of submitting his curriculum vitae to see if he could fit in Sogeti as a tester. He asked me a really good question: Do I have what is needed to be a good tester?
Sometimes I hear people, especially from the development team, saying that anyone can be a good tester. Of course, I have to strongly disagree. Everyone can sing, but not everyone can be Madonna. So, what characteristics must a person have to be an ideal tester?
According to TMap® NEXT, a tester must:
- Have verbal and written communication skills
- Be able to work accurately and have analytical skills
- Be convincing and persevering
- Be factual and have a positively critical attitude
- Be creative
But I think there’s something very important missing on that list: a tester must be curious. He has to be like a detective in a TV show trying to know who committed the crime, why, and with which weapon. He has to be like a child who keeps asking “Why?” while he is trying to understand how the world works.
Although it is not completely accurate, we can say that a tester’s job is to find what’s wrong with a product and curiosity helps him to uncover the little aspects which can make an application fail and that can be hidden to other people: what happens if I press this button? What happens if I introduce a bunch of letters in this numeric field?
A curious mind looks for new information and enjoys discovering new things. It isn’t afraid of advancing deep into unknown situations to explore the bowels of the software product and to be the first one who find bugs. He is that inquisitive detective who studies the evidence, makes conjectures, and gathers information about the quality of the product that is being tested. He is that curious child who is meeting the world with his innocent eyes and has that wish to see, learn, and know.
But this is not enough. Someone with a curious mind also has to have the desire to continue learning to become better every day. And that is very important to grow as a tester and as a person.
So, not everyone can be a tester. Not everyone can be a good tester. Not everyone can be an ideal tester (if an ideal tester exists). But, if someone is curious, he has a lot won.