10 Years in Testing, 10 lessons – Lesson 7

Lesson 7 – Developers are often awesome testers

This lesson is really important to me because I’ve seen some really crazy and damaging assumptions from both developers and testers about testing capabilities of developers.

There are two stereotypes I have observed.

  1. the “testing is owned by testers”-tester: “Only testers are good at testing and developers suck at it. You can’t trust them to test their own work.”
  2. the “I can’t do anything other than code”-developer: “Oh no, I can’t possibly test my own code! I don’t know what to do for testing, please hold my hand!”

Both are just silly and thrive on learned helplessness. Thankfully, even though I have come across these stereotypes, I’m glad to report that most people I’ve worked with are good people and are all for working together: Testers that have learned a great deal about coding and developers that are excellent at testing. It’s great to work with capable people!

But of course, I have also worked with a couple of idiots that fall in those stereotypes. I cannot stand testers that claim that all developers suck at testing and can’t be trusted with it. Those testers are stuck in the old ways, when both professions were working completely separated from each other. I’m still pissed that this divide happened in the first place.

On the other hand, I have also been extremely frustrated to work with developers who refuse to do anything for testing and pretend they don’t know what to do. Like seriously, you don’t know how to run your code and go through a couple of flows, just for starters?! I have tried to work with those kind of developers, pouring energy into it to get them enthusiastic about testing and share the responsibility with me, but after a couple of bad experiences I have given up. It’s not my job to change people, so I made the decision to focus on the people who are willing to work with me. Asshole move? Maybe, but my happiness matters too. Those people can suck the energy right out of you, not worth it in my experience (it was liberating for me to realise that it’s not in my sphere of influence to control others). It’s up to leadership what they want to do with people who are unwilling to improve with the team.

Sure, nobody is going to be magically good at something, but frankly, learning the basics of testing isn’t that hard. Just like learning the basics of coding isn’t that hard.

In this day and age, both tester and developer have to study each others craft. You can no longer hide behind the walls of your own craft and not want to know anything else. You don’t have to become a master in both, but decent? Yes.

Woops, getting a bit too much of a rant here, while the core of this lesson is positive: I have seen so many developers be awesome at testing! Most of them know more about test automation than I do, and sometimes they have found important bugs that I didn’t find. Very humbling and inspiring, really.

So, look around you and appreciate what people who aren’t testers do for testing. Chances are, they do more than you think. If you are fortunate to work with those people, let them know that you appreciate them because this crazy year can certainly use some positivity. (Sounds really crazy coming from me, Queen Cynical, I know.)

Thank you for reading, you can find the rest of the blogs here.

2 thoughts on “10 Years in Testing, 10 lessons – Lesson 7

  1. More than 10 years in testing and feeling exactly like you! So true!! You make me to appreciate more then I am my developers friends and I’m really hope for more developers that will appreciate the QA people and will help us with their knowledge. Happy to read your lesson.

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