This is the eighth of a ten-part blog series in which I will answer some of the most common questions asked about software testing, according to search engine autocomplete results (thanks to Answer The Public).
In this post, I answer the question “Can I learn software testing on my own?” (and the related questions, “Can I learn software testing online?” and “Can anybody learn software testing?”).
The skills needed to be an excellent tester can be learned. How you choose to undertake that learning is a personal choice, but there’s really no need to tackle this substantial task as a solo effort – and I would strongly encourage you not to go it alone. The testing community is strong and, in my experience, exceptionally willing to help people on their journey to becoming better testers so utilizing this vast resource should be part of your strategy. There is so much great content online for free and engaging with great testers is straightforward via, most notably in my opinion, Twitter and LinkedIn.
While it’s great to learn the various techniques and approaches to testing, it’s also worth looking more broadly into fields such as psychology and sociology. Becoming an excellent tester requires more than just great testing and technical skills so broadening your learning should be helpful. While I don’t recommend most of the testing books from “experts”, I’ve made a few recommendations in the Resources section of my consultancy website (and you can find a bunch of blogs, articles, etc. as starting points for further reading there too).
The next part of this blog series will cover the topic of certifications, so I won’t discuss this in depth here – but I don’t believe it’s necessary to undertake the most common certifications in our industry, viz. those offered by the ISTQB. The only formal courses around testing that I choose to recommend are Rapid Software Testing (which I’ve personally attended twice, with Michael Bolton and then James Bach) and the great value Black Box Software Testing courses from the Association for Software Testing.
You can certainly learn the skills required to be an excellent tester and there’s simply no need to go it alone in doing so. There is no need to attend expensive training courses or go through certification schemes on your way to becoming excellent, but you will need persistence, a growth mindset and a keen interest in continuous learning. I recommend leveraging the large, strong and helpful testing community in your journey of learning the craft – engaging with this community has helped me tremendously over many years and I try to give back to it in whatever ways I can, hopefully inspiring and helping more people to experience the awesomeness of the craft of software testing.
You might find the following blog posts useful too in terms of guiding your learning process:
- To The New Tester (James Bach)
- How Can A Trainee Improve His (Her) Skills (Michael Bolton)
- Bharani Asks About Daily Practice (James Bach)
You can find the first seven parts of this blog series at:
- Why is software testing important?,
- How does software testing impact software quality?
- When should software testing activities start?
- How is software testing done?
- Can you automate software testing?
- Is software testing easy? and
- Is software testing a good career?
I’m providing the content in this blog series as part of the “not just for profit” approach of my consultancy business, Dr Lee Consulting. If the way I’m writing about testing resonates with you and you’re looking for help with the testing & quality practices in your organisation, please get in touch and we can discuss whether I’m the right fit for you.
Thanks again to my awesome review team (Paul Seaman and Ky) for their helpful feedback on this post.