Last night I was able to nerd out on a webinar with Alan Page. Alan Page is a famous tester at Microsoft, he is especially known for his book “How we test software @ Microsoft”. I have read a few chapters in this book and I highly recommend it. Below is an explanation of what I learned.

All the recruiters were great and made a strong case that everyone involved in software should learn at least a little bit about testing. Testing is one of the most useful processes of software development and should be respected as such. I personally love to break things and tear them apart to see how they work. Ask my mother about her camcorder….sorry Mom.

Having a tester mentality can and should shine through all your work. Being a tester is about thinking outside the box and having a passion to learn. If you have hobbies, especially if you put them on your resume. You need to express these attributes. For example, if you love cars and you list it as a hobby on your resume. You should be able to express that you started a local club, moderate a forum, attend car shows, or frequent a local hobby garage. You should also show that you participate in these events to learn more about your passion…cars.

Preparing for a testing interview. The Almighty A.Page (as I like to call him) gave away a secret nugget. He gave us one of his personal interview questions.

“How would you test this function?”
int rollDie()
{}//returns 1-6

The secret to this question is to understand what he is asking. Yes, you can do all the white/black box testing you want but it wont solve the real problem. The true problem here is that you need to test randomness. Furthermore, how random the function needs to be is dependent on who will use it. A casino will want true randomness and a board game may not be as specific. Understand the root problem of questions and bugs by stepping back and looking at the whole project. Check out Alan Pages section of the book Beautiful testing for a more in depth look at testing randomness.

Always, relate all testing to the customer. Software is useless if no one uses it. If customers aren’t happy they wont use it. Testing helps keep customers happy. The idea of a tester as a code grammar nazi or a non-technical Ui tester is going the way of the dodo. Roles like SDET at Microsoft and Amazon are becoming the norm. Even if you are a developer writing code for test and understanding testing is necessary for minimizing bugs and increasing software quality overall.



alan page, microsoft, software, testing, development, code, SDE, SDET