No one wants to write a buggy Code

Software testing is gradually coming off age and with every new day everyone is starting to realize the importance of having a dedicated testing effort for any software project. In a company like Adobe where I manage small to medium sized test teams, there is now a much greater focus towards testing. Most of the times we have a 1:1 ratio between developer and testers which is very good but still as the project starts to wind and testing team has to test almost all the s/w every day, it starts to get tight and amid this one big question which every tester keeps asking is that

“why the hell developers can’t write a new piece of code without bugs”

which in itself is a very un-reasonable query but a more reasonable one is

“when a developer fixes a bug, why can’t he ensure that there is no side effect.”

Why ? why and more whys ??

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Bug Life Cycle

Whats the life cycle of a bug or a defect ?

Even though this seems like a simple problem and may not need lot of thinking but its very important to understand it well. Most of the tester spend lots of time around bugs. They report bugs, regress bugs, verify bug fixes, bounce them and so on. From the same yard stick a developer spends lots of them on and around bugs as well, tries to reproduce them, asks and gets more info to repro them, fixes them, tests the fix, comments on the bug for testing recommendation and so on.

Amid all this, dev and tester also fights a lot over bugs 🙂 and possibly all for a good cause viz. Quality. Lot of this fight can be saved or better understood if we really understand the life cycle of a bug. That way if a bug gets marked back to tester for adding more information, that would then look like routine or normal to him rather then taking that as an offensive.

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ISTQB – Software Testing Certification

As I explained in my last post on CSTE and promised to write about ISTQB, here I am with the relevant information.

ISTQB stands for “International Software Testing Qualifications Board’ and is a very new player in software testing certification arena and is a brain child of Rex Black, one of the known figures in software testing world. The mission and goals of this organization can be found at www.istqb.org

They offer “ISTQB Certified Tester” which is gradually gaining ground. Indian chapter is managed by ‘Indian Testing Board” which is primarily run by ‘Vipul Kocher’ (an old colleague at Adobe India 🙂 ) who is running his own company called “Pure Testing”.

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CSTE – ‘Certified Software Tester’ Certification

Certification in Software Testing
Since software testing is still not taught in great detail like other aspects of Software Development, viz. programming, user interface designing, installation and customer handling, in colleges and schools, there is a dearth of good formal courses and because of this, certifications from qualified institutions come handy.
In this story, I am going to talk about CSTE which is by far the most popular and sort of the standard certification in software testing field. Infact about couple of years back, this was the defacto certification which any software tester or a software quality engineer would flaunt. Your truly is also a CSTE certified tester. A new certification is fast gaining ground and is called ISTQB.

What is CSTE ?
Its ‘Certified Software Tester’ and a certification which is awarded by QAI, one of the most reputed and old organization in the field of software quality and software testing. CSTE used to be called ‘Certified Software Test Engineer’ but they ran into trouble when someone questioned the validity of title having the word ‘Engineer’. Since its essentially a certificate, it was a little inappropriate to use ‘Engineer’ so they dropped this word but the acronym was preserved.

Who manages this ?
QAI manages this program and you can do most of the things through the following website :
http://www.softwarecertifications.org . The non-online part of manging the test centre, taking exam and other stuff is managed by local chapters of QAI in respective countries. In India QAI operates out of Delhi and they manage this. Who can qualify ? Anyone but typically someone who has been in trade, preferably has spent some time testing real life software and sort of understands CBOK (Common Body of Knowledge) What is CBOK ? CBOK is the collection of all the testing concepts, testing techniques and everything which a tester needs to know. QAI also publishes a book which has this and its called CBOK. It used to be of $ 100 when I did this in 2003, not too sure of current price. But you can get that info from the above link.

Why should one do it ?
Well, its a kind of formal certification and there are organization which acknowledge this and either reward you for this, e.g. Adobe India reimburses all expenses if you do this successfully so it comes for free for folks here or as a valuable certificate at the time of hiring.

Where do I go to find out more ?
http://www.softwarecertifications.org/
http://www.qaiasia.com/Contact_us/frameset.htm

1013-14A, Ansal Towers, 38 Nehru Place,
New Delhi – 110019, India
Phone: +91- 11- 26219792, 26220580
Fax: +91- 11- 26218974
Email Id:
customer_relations@qaiasia.com
Website: www.qaiasia.com

Should I do it ?
Yes, why not.

How do I prepare ?
Simple. Buy/arrange CBOK and read it well, really well. No need to read any other book, at all. If you can’t get hold of CBOK then at least try to get the list of content so that you can read about them in other books. But CBOK is enough. Also, Join some of the yahoogroups and googlegroups on this topic.

I would write about another certification called ISTQB in few days from now so keep watching this space.

Good Software Testing Books

Often I am asked this question about books on software testing and usually my recommendation has been same over years. I am not truly a great fan of reading software testing books to understand this art and probably other practitioners might agree, for testing is learnt over time and rather perfected over time but I am a great fan of reading in general. Its not really as simple as maths (or as difficult as some would like to incorrectly put it) which can be explained and contained with in predictable results out of time tested formulas, its more of a evolution which happens over time.

Anyway, coming back to basic question on what are the good books on software testing. My suggestion would limit to three books viz.

  • 1. Roger Pressman’s book on software engineering
  • 2. Cem Kaner’s “Testing Computer Software”
  • 3. Rex Blacks’ “Critical Testing Processes”