Triaged Tester

January 5, 2009

To teach a tester

Filed under: General — Triaged Tester @ 1:03 pm

Came across this intresting read 🙂

To Teach a Tester

Thus it began

  • In the beginning, dev and test were indistinguishable
  • Build, verify, validate
  • The compiler as the mitigating factor
  • But the beginning was short-lived
  • The explosion of software in the 1970s created demand the programmer community could not meet
  • Enter the age of the non-engineer software tester

The proliferation of crap

  • Buggy software was the norm
  • o Developer-centric software industry
  • o Press the buttons right or risk failure
  • o Still, software was better than the manual systems it replaced
  • And herein lies the problem: a complacent user community
  • o Expectations for software are low
  • o Software is the anticipated weakest link

You were hoping for sympathy?

  • The 1980s were full of fixes for this problem
  • SASD, Cleanroom, OOA/OOD, def/use …
  • But, developers were too busy to notice
  • Operating systems in flux
  • Programming language evolution
  • Compiler and platform bugs needing workarounds
  • All this is underscored by continued tolerance of crappy applications

An industry spiraling downward

  • But software is in heavy demand!
  • A formula ripe for government regulation
  • CMM = management over technology
  • On the industry marched and academia followed from Pascal to Basic to C to Java
  • We coded, learned the lessons, forced changed
  • What was missing? Test
  • While the devs created new ways to write buggy code, we were left to deal with the crap of yesterday

An academic first

  • In 1996 some bozo named James Whittaker taught a course dedicated to software testing at Florida Tech
  • The course grew to a degree minor and garnered recruiters from every major industry vertical
  • The book (How to Break Software) was adopted by over 80 universities
  • In 2006 Microsoft hired Whittaker, effectively ending that program

Education that worked

  • Theory that worked
  • Model-based testing
  • Data flow testing
  • Practice that worked
  • Bugs hunts
  • Paired testing with hotel bells, cameras and judges
  • Results capture (this is the important bit!)
  • Books … the ultimate knowledge capture
  • Articles, classifications and taxonomies … something to pass along to those that follow


  • Software testing has a sad history which affects they way you work and learn today
  • It’s unlikely to change other than through grass roots efforts
  • Mimic the early philosophers: think, do, learn and write down the knowledge
  • YOU and you alone can affect the theory and practice of Games Testing

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