James' Story: Becoming A More Powerful Tester

By James Browning


My heart skipped a beat, then I began slowly re-reading the email Richard Bradshaw had just sent me.

What the..? Oh, I’ve actually won something: a place on the Rapid Software Testing (RST) 3-day course through the Ministry of Testing Scholarship.

Three days with Michael Bolton! 'Exhilarated' is an understatement of how I felt that day.

I wandered over to my boss and casually mentioned that we’ll be one tester down towards the end of October. At first they were a little confused, but after a swift explanation they began to realise: when this tester returns, he will be more powerful than ever!

The Adventure Begins

The train pulled in to Manchester Piccadilly late Sunday evening. The journey from Cambridge had been a long one, but after a quick pint with Mr Bradshaw, I was ready to settle down for the night.

The Lowry:  As I wandered into the complex, it was clear that Ministry of Testing had done a thorough job of organising this event: clear directions, a warm welcome and enough tea/coffee/food to last the day.  Everyone had arrived on time, and so the RST course began.

It didn’t take long for us to realise that this was a very interactive course indeed; with stimulating brain puzzles to trigger the tester within and a variety of entertaining presentation techniques.  It was clear that we are not only here improve our testing techniques, but also to acquire the vocabulary to communicate about testing effectively. I was absorbing all the precious knowledge.

After class, some of us would head over to the local bar. This opportunity to reflect on the day and share our interpretations was assisted by a complimentary beer courtesy of Ministry of Testing.

Coming Home

Three days pass and I’m back on the train heading south. Sure enough, the course is all it’s cracked up to be. Mr Bolton had triumphed at holding our attention for days on end without a glazed pair of eyes in sight.

Each day was packed full of crisp and concise content, and the delivery was on-point. It was hard going at times but that didn’t distract us from challenging Michael’s claims and improving our understanding of the RST methodology.

My notebook is now full with ideas, sketches, stickers, definitions, book references, heuristics, testing methods, quotes and more stickers!  My brain is overflowing with inspiration and I can’t wait to share it with the team back at Origami Energy.

Back In Cambridge, What’s Changed?

Having participated in the RST course, I feel like I’ve developed a powerful awareness surrounding my role as a software tester.  I now understand how to plan and execute testing sessions efficiently and effectively.  I am unshaken when explaining my approaches to non-testers, and feel that I can confidently pass this knowledge onto new-testers to assist their development. This may just be the turning point in my career.

Thanks to Ministry of Testing and Scholarship Heroes for giving me this opportunity.

Author Bio:

James Browning is currently based in Cambridge, UK as a Test Development Engineer at Origami Energy Ltd. working on their real-time energy trading platform. For the past 9 years, he has been focused on a variety of technologies such as mobile telecoms, serial protocol decoders and USB automotive diagnostics equipment. However, being relatively new to the Ministry of Testing community it is clear that this is just the beginning of his journey to becoming a testing legend.