“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. “

Entry 11

Last time I wrote about how we started our project (we gave it a code-name “From zero to tester”, which sounds better in Polish – it rhymes ). We went through the first survey and the answers that were given.

Today it’s time to take a look at the second survey, “From zero to testing hero”, in which we asked experienced testers about their thoughts, tips and learning material recommendations.

Idea behind this was that we wanted to know what testers recommend first hand, to expand list of recommended materials, get some advice and insights we could not get from posts or articles gathering usually just the most popular books for beginners.


“From zero to testing hero”

  • conducted in Polish
  • 160 respondents
  • 52.8% men, 47.2% women
  • 41.9% did have an IT education, 49.4% did not and 8.8% had an IT-related education (like robotics, computer graphics or geo-information)

Trivia time!
Our testers had education in: geoengineering, food technology, management and marketing, geodesy, pedagogy, psychology, emergency medical services, environmental engineering, mathematics, English philology…

How long have you been working as a tester?

Questions we asked:

  1. If You used to work in a different profession what experiences from that job came in hand while being a tester?
  2. What character traits/skills should a tester have (in Your opinion)?
  3. What books/blog/webinars etc. would You recommend to a wannabe/newbie tester?
  4. What good advice would You give to someone who is just starting as a tester?
  5. Is there anything else You would like to share on the subject of becoming a tester?

In answers we saw almost 50/50 split between sexes, however when we were to look closely an specific groups based on their work experience we would observe that for those working:
– 4 and more years this split was: 70.3% men and 29.7 % women
– between 4 and 2 years it was 49.1% men and 50.9% women
– more than 1 year but less than 2: 35.3% men and 64.7% women
– less than a year: 54.8% men and 45.2% women.

Even if those “fluctuations” can be caused by the number of respondents from each group and their “representativeness” for the “all Polish testers group” I hope I am within my right to draw a conclusion that women will continue to be at least half of our community (maybe even more). That is something I hope for because I really do believe we girls can do IT! I lately read a few articles that the number of women working in IT seems to be actually decreasing


If You used to work in a different profession what experiences from that job came in hand while being a tester?

The most common answers we got were:

  • communication/ interpersonal skills/ teamwork abilities
  • business knowledge
  • ability to see end-user’s point of view and his expectations
  • working with documentation
  • project management
  • organizing/managing the workload
  • English
  • analytical thinking
  • programming

In those 160 responses there were also some gold thoughts:

“I think that the bigger your life experience, the more relations and behaviors you’ve seen, the easier it is to be a tester.”

“User always lies. He won’t read the instruction, be will cry (out) that it is not working.”

As for the trivia: our testers used to work as: archivist, musician, editor, ERP incalculator, accountant, administrator of a web-shop, teacher…

identyfying_skills_needs_360x240What character traits/skills should a tester have (in Your opinion)?

No surprises here as we got:

  • meticulousness
  • accuracy
  • analytical thinking
  • communication skills
  • assertiveness
  • creativity
  • inquisitiveness
  • perceptivity
  • having an open mind
  • the desire for continuous education
  • readiness to learn new things

My favorite quotes: “It’s nice to just be into testing ;)” and “Hunting instinct comes in handy”.

Many people put pressure on communication skills and assertiveness as very important skills for testers and they are right. You can not overemphasize the importance of communication in any project, especially when it comes to people, who like testers, are usually messengers of bad rather than good. If you would like to read more on that subject I recommend issue of Professional Tester from 2011 dedicated to communication. It’s not about communicating more, but about doing it better!


What books/blog/webinars etc. would You recommend to a wannabe/newbie tester?

As a lot of answers were repeating, I decided to create a document with the learning materials grouped by type (books, blogs, webinars etc.) The learning materials list can be found here. Each of them is marked by hashtag signifying the language.

Few words about some of the blogs and books can be found in one of my previous posts.


What good advice would You give to someone who is just starting as a tester?
Is there anything else You would like to share in the subject of becoming a tester?

  • Remember about self-development
  • Ask questions
  • Don’t give up
  • Do not be discouraged easily
  • Believe in yourself
  • Have everything on paper (or print screen)
  • Never believe in anything just because someone said so
  • K I S S
  • Remember – the more you invest in yourself (with your own hard work), the further you will get
  • You do not “make” bugs, you find the before customer would
  • If everything is working ok – check again
  • Don’t let anyone tell you that bug is a feature
  • Go to meet-ups
  • Know what your motivations are
  • Be passionate

Bottom line – prepare to work hard, learn a lot but know that it can be done! And do not forget that only those who never ask questions will stay in the darkness forever 😉


As I wrote once before – we testers come from different places – this questionnaire showed it again. If one is ready and willing to learn there is nothing than can stop him from joining us testers in QA land and have an adventure. Just remember to keep the good advice in your mind and beware of everything – it will be so much fun!

Pictures from:

Next time – quick summary of my first QA talk 😉

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