What sort of tester am I?

After wandering alone in the testing wilderness for 15 years, I found my way 3 years ago when I attended my first testing conference. It opened my eyes to the passion, and diversity of the testing community. In fact it showed me there was a community!

I finally started reading lots of articles, a few books, writing a blog, attending conferences and even speaking at a few.

But recently something has been bothering me. The more I get involved in the testing community, the more I get confused about what kind of tester I am. To start with I was a tester. Since working in an Agile environment I became an Agile tester. This was reinforced by attending Agile Testing Days. Yep, I’m an “Agile” tester. But then what’s this context driven testing lark? Sounds like what I do, but with some sort of rivalry between context driven testing and agile testing, which one am I? Can I be both? What do they actually mean?

Would knowing what tester I am help me to focus my learning and development? Would knowing what tester I am, mean that I can be a more integral part of that community, and become a ‘student’ of that ‘school’ of testing?

More recent conference talks alluded to the fact that context driven testing is best, with Agile testing being called out as not really being a thing, and certifications as the root of all evil. Who decides this? Who has the right to decide this? Are these just personal opinions?

With so many questions I set about trying to find out about context driven testing once and for all. So over the course of one evening, I read many articles written by various leaders in the field and tried my hardest to understand what it was and how it differed to what I was doing. After a few hours I can honestly say that I was none the wiser. I didn’t get it. I couldn’t see how this context driven testing thing differed from the ‘normal’ testing that I do.

So perhaps that’s the problem. Perhaps I am a context driven tester already and I didn’t even know it.

Sure, my testing career has always involved taking context into account, and adapting my testing to the situation at that time, but does that solely define what type of tester I am and what testing I do? I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that; I think I am more than that.

So, what kind of tester do I think I am?

I’ve thought long and hard about this for a while now, and I think I know what kind of tester I am…

… I think I am a real-world tester. I am a context driven tester; I am an Agile tester; I am a domain driven tester; I am an analytic tester; I am a tester who performs exploratory testing, scripted release testing, regression testing, usability testing, writes automated checking code, talks to developers, pairs with developers/testers/designers, writes defect reports, argues them with the developers, argues them with the project manager. I am a tester who is certified by ISTQB and has passed the BBST foundations course. I am a tester who tests and critiques the feature specifications, reviews documentation, fixes stuff, breaks stuff and generally does whatever is necessary to provide value to the project, and ultimately ship.

I am a tester!

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