Too many people think they can’t make a dent in the software testing industry.  Here are 7 ways you can!

1 - Help Change The Software Testing Wikipedia References

The software testing pages on wikipedia do not represent software testing well. Turns out it is pretty darn hard to get them updated. There is the main software testing page, but then there are many other related ones too, for example, functional testing. It’s probably worth trying to do smaller changes in not so busy pages and work your way up to bigger changes.

Don’t be disheartened if your changes get reverted. Alan Page has started an initiative on this. There’s even a slack group for it.

2 - Quora, oh Quora

It is quite depressing looking at the questions then answers on Quora. As a collective we can make a dent on it. There are some useful answers hidden in there, but they seem to be hidden amongst all the sales spam.

On the positive side, Quora is easier to make a dent in that Wikipedia.

From what I see there are two things we can do:

  • help get rid of the obvious sales posts by marking them as spam
  • help answer questions in a good way

3 - Write and Make Good Stuff

We’ve been dedicated to this at MoT for a while and I still believe we have the best collection of relevant software testing information out there, but it needs more action. The problem, as I see it, is that people who want to find information about software testing on the internet stumble upon all sorts of poor quality, boring and outdated stuff. This makes us all, as a community look bad. No wonder people keep thinking testing is dead - if they go searching for software testing information and don’t find good stuff, then why would they get excited about testing?

You can write and make stuff in all sorts of ways. Videos, articles, comics, images, graphs, mindmaps, lists, GitHub Repos, conference talks…

You can do this on your own ‘online space’ or you can contribute to others places. There are plenty of testing and non-testing websites, publications and conferences that would love to see more contributions.

4 - Don’t Believe That You Can’t Make A Difference

It’s easy to think that you can’t make a difference. That all that is important has been done. And how could you possibly make a contribution amongst all these apparent ‘thought leaders’. I call nonsense on that.

I look at the software testing world and I see the opportunity for a ‘land grab’, so to speak. As in, you can go and make your space in the world of testing. There is plenty of room at the moment to get good ideas out. Don’t expect change over night, expect to fail, expect not to be recognised, expect some things to work better than others. With ongoing and consistent effort you too can make a difference.

Be nervous and then do it anyways!

5 - Show Face

How can others know that we exist if we don’t show up? Go to conferences. Meetups. Have conversations. Make friends. Reach out. Connect. Not just with testers, but with all types of professionals who work in the ‘tech industry’.

You may be surprised at how people will then start talking and recommending you as a person to talk to about testing.

6 - Be Ethical

This is a topic close to my heart. I’ve been developing my own ethics in personal and work life. Think about what yours should be.

For me, not a complete list, but for example:

  • I won’t produce work that I don’t believe in.
  • I don’t believe in taking advantage of ‘free labour’.
  • I believe in investing in people in a human way.
  • I will increasingly scrutinise people and organisations that want to work with me.
  • Doing the right thing comes first, other things like recognition and money are secondary.

Support people and organisations that are doing good things. That will help evolve our industry in a better direction.

7 - Look Elsewhere For Inspiration and Log It Somewhere

Think others just magically come up with ideas and turn it into something that you love?  Think again. Most of my ideas for Ministry of Testing have come from other sources.  I don’t claim to be unique, I look at how other people do things, or what others make and I ask myself: is this relevant to the software testing world?

Find your sources of inspiration, from your own and any walk of life.  Take notes, in whatever way works for you.  Then find some quiet time to make something.

Whether your publish it or not, living through the practice is an important part of the process of making something.