Escaping The Hamster Wheel Of Routine: Software Testers’ Edition

Escaping The Hamster Wheel Of Routine: Software Testers’ Edition

How do you avoid the trap of boredom in your testing career? Swathika shares her ideas on how to break out of your routine.

If you’re a software testing professional, your work life can get busier every day as you try to adhere to your timelines and deliver your best. And suddenly … you realize you are stuck in a rut of boredom, doing the same activities every single day.

Folks, it’s time to adapt to continuous learning. Learning continuously will make you stand out in a crowd and also gives a sense of satisfaction, every day, that you have learned one new thing. In this article you will learn how to become a continuous learner, a happy tester, and beyond! Come on friends, let’s dive into this…

Learn How To Use New Tools And Frameworks

Learn about new testing tools and frameworks that you have not used before. If you come across any cool features that other tools don’t have, talk about it ! 

For example, recently I started a learning project to compare Cypress and Playwright. I wanted to create a POC (proof of concept) to understand the differences and appreciate the unique attributes of each tool. Another example: while I was working for Aventus Network Services, who are a part of Polkadot Ecosystem, I was tasked with automating tests that involved purchase of NFTs using Ethers. Unfortunately, Cypress doesn’t support browser extensions, but I explored a plugin called Synpress that allows me to integrate Metamask Wallet with Cypress. You can review my automation code in this repository. 

Create Repositories To Demonstrate What You’ve Learned

As you learn new tool sets, create your own test automation portfolio on GitHub. You’ll find it rewarding, and your repositories will be a great conversation starter during interviews. 

After I read a post about repository creation by Angie Jones on Applitools, I created my own GitHub portfolio to showcase my learning. If you have some spare time, feel free to browse, star, and share my portfolio! My portfolio has helped my interviewers to get a sense of my skill set and the best practices I follow in automation.  During one interview, I used my repository to show the interviewer how I used the Page Object Model to keep tests organized and promote clean code.

Exchange Ideas Over Coffee

At work, try to grab a coffee with a colleague sometimes, not just to talk about the best wine bar in town but also to get to know their perspectives on testing. You could ask them how their team practices Agile, for example, and what type of impact they feel they’ve had as an Agile tester. 

Through one of these conversations, I learned about the power of mind maps, and I started using mind maps for my projects at work. I created a mind map that explains how software testers can improve processes in an Agile environment using LucidChart. While enjoying a cuppa with one of the developers on my team, I told him about my LucidChart mind map. And the first question he asked me was, “May I know who the target audience for this is?” This question disturbed me in a positive sense, so I decided to show this mind map to my team during one of our sprint review meetings. The entire team really appreciated the effort, especially where I emphasized bridging the gap between testers and developers as the team works on the user story together. But I’ll save the details of that story for another article!  

Join And Learn From A Testing Community

Become a member of a testing community to learn, contribute, grow, and help others to grow. 

I have always enjoyed reading and watching what’s new at the Ministry Of Testing. I hope to speak at a TestBash someday!

I also follow and learn from well-known testing bloggers to look at things from their perspective. And I follow the ambassadors of Cypress, Postman, and Playwright for curated content specific to those tools. 

Medium is another great place to find good writing on testing. One of my favorite Medium writers right now is Anshita Bhasin.

Read An Old-School Book

In this busy buzzing world, nothing is more rewarding than finding some focused time to sit back and read a book ! A great book I read recently was “Buddha In Testing” by Pradeep Soundararajan. I also just discovered that my company has a library with loads of interesting books. I hope to get hold of a good one next time I’m at the office.

Go To A Testing Event Online Or In Person

When you attend testing conferences, you can meet leaders in software testing from all kinds of organizations and from all over the world. It’s a great way to get inspired and see things in a way you never did before! 

I haven’t had the chance to attend any recent live events, but I have listened to virtual talks via the Ministry of Testing. My favorite talks are on test strategy and mind maps. If, like me, you’re interested in clear guidance on creating test strategies, I highly recommend listening to Creating Test Strategies Teams Will Read by Thomas Shipley. 

Start A Blog And Keep At It

In the past, impostor syndrome has kept me from writing about my knowledge and experience. This held me back until a colleague pointed out that although I might be writing on matters that have been covered before, my personal perspective might shed some new light. 

So, if you are a person who wants to write but hesitates to do it, please don’t think twice about it. I have always been an introvert, but I found writing to be a great medium to channel my ideas and energy! You can read my blog and please do let me know in the comments how you feel about what I’ve written.

You don’t have to limit yourself to writing about career knowledge. You can also let the world know about your hobbies and other personal interests. For example, I plan to blog about my love for pencil sketching and cooking skills.

Use The Power Of Social Media

Give your dreams some wings and let them fly. Social media is very powerful: you can influence others to adopt good testing practices. Invite your connections to share their views on your ideas. Collaborate and make a difference. 

For example, every time I complete a portfolio project on GitHub, I make sure to share them with my connections and invite them to collaborate. The benefits of my sharing these posts have been many and varied. I have received compliments, suggestions to improve, and also many requests to connect from people who are interested to learn more through pair programming. I have motivated many friends who are manual testers to dip toes into automation. I have shown a clear and focussed pathway to automation without making my connections overwhelmed about learning various programming languages. 

A Final Word

I hope this article has given you some ideas to change up your routine and try something different. Let me know in the comments what you’re planning to do that’s new and different, or what you’ve already done!

For Further Information

Swathika Visagn's profile
Swathika Visagn

Senior Test Engineer at PwC UK

I am a very curious Senior Quality Engineer who is more driven towards automation and promotes shifting left. I have proven experience as an agile tester having strong fundamentals in manual and automation testing principles. I enjoy the entire journey from setting the automation framework from scratch to building the pipelines onto continuous integration tools like Jenkins. My framework adds more flavor by incorporating service layer (APIs) calls with UI layer automation which we call it 'Seaming' in automation terms. I communicate with stakeholders about risks, accessibility and pain points rather than number of passes/fails. I test with a purpose by automating business flow and add in appropriate plug-ins to make the automation reports/metrics readable for stakeholders. I also love to take part in agile ceremonies and volunteer to run retrospectives/daily scrums to keep the team self thriving in temporary absence of the scrum master. When I'm not scripting, I love to binge on Netflix, indulge in testing communities, read about Web3 and all things Quality :-) I am a yogic person too. If anything that calms me that's a cup of chai and a morning walk in the park.

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