Do you promote yourself?

This is a short snippet of a post, do you promote yourself? Your skills, knowledge and experience….you don’t? Well you should.

I advise you to get onto social media, get onto LinkedIn, get yourself a website and/or blog. Get business cards, join online and offline communities. If you are serious about your career, make people believe that you are!

Twitter: @inky_freak
LinkedIn: carrichappuk
Instagram: inky_freak


I want promotion!

One of my now ex-bosses once gave me a really great piece of advice, she said “if you want to be promoted, act like you already are”.

This does not mean start trying to be the boss in a literal sense, you’re just going to upset your colleagues, and likely your boss! But it does mean look at the responsibilities of the role you want. Are you already exhibiting the characteristics of that role, more importantly are you showing them every day. Remember, it’s not just the technical skills, but the mindset and character that you need to show.

Everyone it seems wants instant gratification in life, this is equally true of their work life. You don’t get selected for promotion just because you have been somewhere a long time. Your bosses will be looking for key skills and behaviors in you, that’s where you will shine and stand out from the crowd.

It is also pertinent to note that you need to vocalise your wishes. If you want a more senior role, tell your line manager (don’t rant to the team at large…this isn’t going to work!).

I have been fortunate enough to have excellent people in my teams. People that volunteer for the difficult or tricky projects, people that see the potential obstacles as challenges to take head on and defeat. This dogged determination if also key.

Learn, absorb and most importantly display every day, the skills and behaviors of the role you want. Make it known you want to progress, then take personal responsibility for your own progression.

Personal responsibility for your development

Within many companies (those worth their salt) you will find a clear path of progression, a path that has been planned out and proven. That’s brilliant, and if you work for such a company, well done, don’t waste the opportunities that are put before you.

These paths are not always funded literally, you won’t always get to go off on conferences, training courses and the like. Especially now where many company budgets are tight in the current economic climate.

But my advice is this, do not rely solely on the good will of your company. Take responsibility for your own development.

I have been an IT professional since 1999 across a variety of industry sectors and companies. In all that time, I have understood that I need to be passionate about my career. If I like my career then I need to invest in myself, regardless of what a company can offer me in training, I am a tester…I need to master my craft.

While a company might provide training, this is typically only if it has at best mutual benefit. At worst it only benefits the company (although very rare). But that’s only going to provide a snapshot of the wealth of information out there. Your company may only test A & B type project, so any training will be tailored to that goal…but what about the X, Y and Z projects…what about the skills needed for that?

If you are a tester, if this is your chosen career, take it seriously. You must take responsibility for your personal development. Testing is a vast subject, it touches on  the technical, the psychological and the logical. The potential for learning is huge, so reach out and get stuck in…grab your personal development by the horns and make it work.

I personally hook up with like minded individuals, and use social media to learn interact and ask questions. You can visit Ministry of Testing to get started, you might also like this post.

My TestSphere deck has arrived!

I thought I would get myself a TestSphere deck to use with my teams, and for personal development also. It arrived today and it’s rather exciting!

To my team…hold onto your hats, this could be fun. To my blog readers…I’ll try to remember to blog about the TestSphere sessions I hold, maybe you can see how they go and if they might work for you!

Avoiding ad hominem arguements

Ad hominem (to the person) arguments make everything seem personal, or that the person you are talking to is making a statement about you or your personal character, or ability.

As testers we must work to minimise this type of discussion or argument. We almost always have some bad news to deliver…the product doesn’t work, the product can’t go live.

De-personalise reporting, feedback and discussions. Talk in terms of the product, not the developer who wrote it. It’s not always easy but this separation is key to fostering strong relationships, it can also be the foundation to more open and direct conversations later.

Avoiding ad hominem is the foundational element of civil discourse.

How do you keep connected?

Being connected to the testing community is something that has always been important to me. There have been times when its not always been possible, but I continually strive to connect, share and learn from others in my field.

One of the most significant ways I have found is through the Ministry of Testing, a big online community dedicated to testing.

Another very good way to connect is via the various social media channels available to us all. I personally use Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter…all of which have advantages and disadvantages depending on what you are tying to achieve.

My personal list looks like this, maybe you could benefit from these connections as well. I have listed these with name, blog link and then twitter handle.

James Bach

Michael Bolton

Anne-Marie Charrett

Ministry of Testing

Rosie Cherry

Dan Ashby

Richard Bradshaw

Gem Hill

Heather Reid

Andy Carrington-Chappell  (me)

Using Selenium WebDriver on Linux with Python

When automating I have used Selenium predominately on a Windows based machine, and as it’s windows I have typically used C# as the development language to interact with the API.

However recently I have been using Linux almost exclusively, and as such have been mainly using Python for my development tasks. Until this morning I had no idea how to get WebDriver working on Linux, so by doing some research, playing, learning and using already known tools…I have created this primer for getting Selenium WebDriver working on Linux.

Read my full primer here!

Logic Errors in Testing

While testing it’s easy to fall foul of logic errors in your thought processes. One of the most common errors is the post hoc fallacy.

This is a logic error or fallacy of post hoc, ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this). It can sometimes be all too easy to attribute issues to unrelated events just because they follow them.

For example, a new tenant moves into a new flat and upon arrival the flats hot water boiler goes faulty. The landlord automatically assumes the arrival of the new tenant caused the fault. This is an example of the post hoc fallacy.

In testing we must resist the urge to jump to conclusions, and instead use investigation, logic and critical thinking.

Creating your own test tool

Sometimes you may need to create a tool that helps you in a specific task, perhaps not specifically testing but related to it. From my experience I have created tools that check and format EDI messages, or run data cleanup or tools that provide high level test estimates based on team / department metrics.

You wont always have development resource to help you create these tools, as a result if you cant create them then you wont leverage the efficiencies they bring.

This means it’s worthwhile learning a development / scripting language. As a minimum you should consider a universally accessible scripting language such as Python.

Remember though, that anything you create will more than likely have to be ratified by your IT team, especially in some industry sectors. You’ll also need to take ownership of that tool, it’s maintenance and source code storage (in case of audit, updates or incident).

Why not think about some of the tasks you currently undertake in your team(s). Is there somewhere you could use a bespoke tool? If so, why not get started as a self-learner and undertake a project to create your own tool.