An Interview with Rapid Software Testing Trainer Paul Holland
Paul Holland is active in the context-driven testing world and the newest Rapid Software Testing trainer for Satisfice. In this Q&A, Paul talks about why context-driven testing is the way to go, the best career path for testers, and what trend he wishes would disappear.
uTest: We understand that you’re a proponent of the context-driven school of testing. As someone with years of testing experience—who’s presumably seen many methodologies come and go—how much staying power does this philosophy have in your opinion? Will we be talking about context-driven testing fifteen years from now? Why or why not?
PH: I think that the only way to perform good testing is to adapt the approach to your testing mission to your own specific environment or context. You will be missing some major testing areas without considering how your current situation is different from other situations in which you have been involved. There is no way to apply the same techniques and process to every testing situation and have your testing be efficient and effective.
I would love to be able to say that we will not be talking about context-driven testing in fifteen years but I fear that we will still need to talk about it as there will still be a large number of corporations that are ignoring their particular different contexts and will still be trying to implement “best practices” throughout their company.
uTest: It’s often assumed that the career path for testers includes a stint in management. This path worked out well for you, but what other career paths would you suggest for the aspiring tester?
PH: That is a difficult question and it would depend on the context of the aspiring tester. Some testers love hands-on testing, while others like to solve problems; some like to write, others like to code. There are so many options a good tester can follow. My advice is to find a job that you really enjoy doing and do that—hopefully you will end up being well paid to do that job.
uTest: Is there a testing trend out there right now that you wish would just go away?
PH: The trend toward certification—especially in Europe—is particularly disturbing. Most certification courses present some useful information for testers but the way that the certifications are marketed is very misleading (indicating that you will be able to set yourself apart from your peers or be a much better tester just because you have answered forty multiple choice questions that do not even have a single correct answer for many contexts). I wish S/W testing certifications would go away.
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