ISTQB or not to be……that is the multiple choice question

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I had a really amazing idea (well i thought so at least) about this post….Catchy Heading, Comparisons with the Foundation Course and the UK Driving Theory Test, Just one big memory game, Minimal study time needed if you had half a brain, a test that you can get 13 out of 40 questions wrong and still pass is not a real test blah blah blah…..

After doing a really small amount of research – and i mean a small amount! Basically the time it took me to eat a Sausage and Egg Mcmuffin with my left hand whilst abusing Maccy Ds free WiFi on my IPhone in my non greasy muffin hand….this wasn’t my first ever visit to the Golden Arches either so it was even quicker that most Fast Food eaters. As well as this excellent piece of Multi Tasking, i also asked a couple of very experienced Testers who i respect greatly about their opinions of the ISTQB Foundation Exam….as soon as i saw the subject line of one of the Email responses was “istqzzzzzzzzzzzz” i laughed my back off and i knew that i was in for a great answer or a truly epic rant! I wasn’t disappointed.

I don’t want to sit here and write about how bad the “test” is or how much value it holds or doesn’t hold within the testing community – this has been absolutely flogged to death for a few years now from what i can see and i don’t really want to bring up and dwell on the same points that others have done already but what i would like to explain, if you very good people would allow me the time to do so….is why i took the Exam.

Working within the Defence Industry I’m surround by folks that value external career courses and certificates very highly and can’t wait to update the letters after their names on a shiny new set of Business cards and on Email Signatures. Fair play, Congrats and jolly well done that Man/Lady if you have done every course under the sun and you feel the need to display half the alphabet after your surname but I just don’t think that it comes across very well and especially not when most of them are pointless. As I work for a consultant firm, the information written on my CV is very important to potential defence clients and if it’s filled with lovely fluffy things like “ISTQB Certified Tester” then this will unfortunately make me more employable and they would want to hire me or at least want to speak to me.

If you have read my previous blog posts you know that I’ve not been doing this for very long but even i know that the ISTQB stuff is….how do i put this….pump! I’m not speaking for the Advanced levels here just the Foundation level, I absolutely love testing and everything about it and for that reason i kinda loved reading a “Software Testing” book for an hour or so and then answering multiple choice questions, again on a subject i love and then passing the test. That part of the process of getting the certificate i really enjoyed because i was reading about a subject I’m really enthusiastic about regardless of the outdated thinking behind the material….When the lovely lady behind the reception of the exam centre said i had passed i think i just said “Oh right… great” without any emotion on my face what so ever….pure dead pan expression, for someone who really loves testing and wants to excel in this craft to have no emotion on being told i have just passed a software testing exam – then i know it’s a pretty worthless thing to have and would i really want to advertise the fact that i have it!?!

There is one important thing that this experience has made me do though…..it’s made me look for better more worthwhile courses and exams that i would love to do, ones that are highly regarded in the community and thoroughly recommended by testers that i respect and testers that I’m inspired by everyday and that have helped me along my journey so far!

My journey continues…..

 

 

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Stand back….I’m ready to explode!!

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Continuing my new life and journey along the bumpy software testing road I’m in the awkward position of wanting to know everything about the craft…right now!! I mean everything!! I’ve always been the same, I go through stages in my life where I get fully into something – let me explain this a tiny bit so you don’t lose interest and you actually have a clue where my point is going….

I love books now but I always haven’t, there’s something about them that makes people (in my eyes anyway) seem more interesting and intellectual – let’s face it knowledge is power and it frightens some people. When I see and meet folks who I know, that read a lot and tend to use big elaborate words for very simple things and chuck them into everyday life to make people think “Wow…you’re like, super smart and stuff” it impresses me and bugs me at the same time. My current all-time favourite at the moment but this is subject to change through the course of my journey is Librocubicularist: one who reads in bed – when I actually heard this I thought two things: 1) Eh?! 2) Why have you just given me a Trivial Pursuit answer? Saying you like to read in bed would have saved so much time and confusion.  Where was I, went off on a tangent then…oh yeah, going through obsessive stages…..I went through a “French Foreign Legion” stage a few years back (don’t ask) – it started with me reading an article, to then buying one book, to then buying several more books and researching it more and more – Amazon.co.uk and myself were best mates at this point! I was living in a small barrack room on an Army camp at the time and was running out of space for my books so I popped down to IKEA and bought a bookcase/shelf (it was a bloody bargain at £15). I filled the shelves with these books – Slightly OCD’d of course…Height and Alphabetical order, it would have just annoyed me every time I looked at them if I didn’t arrange them. Fellow soldiers would could into my room, admire my books and ask questions….I would tend to only give them answers and information that I was comfortable with giving so it sounded like I knew what I was talking about but did I really??!

I’m in the same sort of situation now with learning and building up Software Testing knowledge – I know this is not a “stage” of any kind what so ever, I’ve fallen big time for this craft and every day it keeps me hooked and wanting more but I’ve started to fall into the old routine of amassing a shed loads of stuff (Books, Articles, Lists of things I’d like to research, Ever growing number of Blogs I want to read, etc.) I’ve read so much information in a short time that my brain is ready to explode – I’m obsessed with wanting to know everything but I feel like I need to know it right now!! All in one day!! If I don’t, I will continue to be left behind and not current and up to date with the latest information. This is me – I’d set out with a goal of reading up on one thing but I’d see something that relates to it somehow and then get distracted by this and read about that other thing and so on and so on. I’m finding it difficult to prioritize and because I’m not doing this, I know I’m not truly taking in what I’m reading and taking the time to think about it and question it, so I understand the information fully. Several occasions I have been asked a question and I know for a fact that I’ve read about it somewhere but I get tongue tied and have a mini brain fart and nothing that constitutes English actually comes out of my mouth. My thirst for knowledge is huge but I’m also coming to realization that I need to take that “condor moment” – It’s an old Army saying about taking time to pause and reflect before going into action. I need to take in and process this new information so that I’m not just ploughing through endless books thinking that I know more because I’m doing this so frequently.

That’s me done…give yourself a pat on the back for hanging on in there till the end, you can get back to your lives now > Thanks for reading!!

The journey continues……

Test Bash 2.0 – From the Eyes, Ears and Brain of me…

I first heard about this event from my Boss/Mentor months ago and he went through our company chain to get funding for us both but was unsuccessful – to say I was miffed is an understatement! A couple of months passed and it was getting closer to the big event and every day I would see a new post on Twitter and the STC from someone explaining their delight at attending and how much they were looking forward to meeting all the great software testers that were going to be there. I was truly gutted…and posted about how gutted I was at this happening and that I wouldn’t be part of it…Then all of a sudden I was handed a life line from the one and only Rosie Sherry!!

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Once a calmed down a bit (my reaction was similar to a small girl hearing that she’ll be a VIP at a One Direction concert)  I composed myself and asked what I would need to do – basically, I would have done anything (nearly everything) to be at Test Bash but I didn’t want to play that hand straight away. Turns out all I had to do was be my usual friendly self and register the lovely event goers in and point them in the right directions – easy! Where’s the catch I thought…there really wasn’t one, apart from it being a long old day and a late drive back to Bristol, it was all good in my eyes!

Managed to get the afternoon off work on the Thursday so that I could be there for the Pre Test Bash meet up, I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to meet some of the people that had travelled down early for this pre event before the big day on the Friday. I wasn’t disappointed! I arrived at The Eagle pub, nice and early to meet up with Rosie…who it turned out was running late anyway so I shouldn’t have busted a gut to get across to the pub so quickly (Meh). Anyhoo, as I propped up the bar I saw some people I thought were “testers” frequenting a table and I went over and introduced myself, as you do. These were not testers…or did they ever know what a tester actually does…Awkward!! I did what can only be described as a half moonwalk back to the bar and ordered another drink, lesson learned Danny, don’t speak to anyone else until after 1900 – the percentages for them being a tester are far greater after that time. I wondered upstairs, I spied the Test Bash Poster on the door so it had to be up there right, finally I found everyone (half of them, I saw in the bar earlier but didn’t want to say anything after my first attempt at contact with the wrong people). I sat at a table and made small talk with a few people who were great and very easy to talk to, relaxed straight away. I thought this was going to be a good night. Then I had a kind of in awe moment, Michael Bolton came in with Keith Klain and sat next to me….As a newbie this was huge…I didn’t say much at first because I didn’t want to sound like a tool but I ended up telling them a story about how I thought I was going to get kidnapped on an airport transfer in Prague > to be fair it was quite a good story that fitted right into the conversation but…WTF Danny – nervous I guess. Meet some more really great people that night but had to go and get an early night ready for the following day.

Ok, onto the day itself…Met up with Rosie and the gang in the morning, impressed by the venue! Great job in getting this place, I slipped on my Ministry of Testing T-shirt and I was ready to go. Once to last bits of admin were sorted the doors were open…Loved how people were waiting outside before we opened the doors (like we had a sale on or something) and equally impressed because it was bloody cold out there! People were of course there for Lean Coffee with the lovely Lisa Crispin. I didn’t manage to have a look at this as I was still doing my duties downstairs but I’m told it was really good. Next time I hope to be there!!

I had the job of escorting Mr James Bach to the stage when he arrived in the building; if I’m honest I though a big hairy homeless guy walked in but it was in fact the great man himself. I didn’t tell him any dodgy stories but I think he may have liked the Prague tale…next time perhaps. The talks started and I located myself in between the main door and the side of the seating area, just in case anyone needed my help (duties first). As the speakers delivered their presentations I thought to myself “Wow, this is awesome” The passion, enthusiasm and knowledge that these Ladies and Gents had was so inspiring to witness  and I knew that this craft had me hooked!

I’m not going to give my take on these talks as many more experienced folks will done and will do, also the videos will soon be available for your own viewing pleasure if you were not lucky enough to be there. I must say one thing though, the guys at the end who gave the 99 second talks were amazing – visibly nervous some of them (as I would be) but they had the belief in themselves and the love for testing to get up and give a talk. This is a goal that I want to set myself for next year.

My ramblings have now come to an end but I would like to say one more thing, that may turn in to two…Thank you for everyone who took the time to talk to me and for the great advice too – It has made me write a blog for starters, Also thank you to Rosie, Simon, Steve, Laura, Julie and anyone else I have missed out who made a new bloke feel so welcome. Cheers!!