As a software tester, staying up-to-date with the latest industry developments and practices is critical for providing value to your team and advancing your career. One of the best ways to do this is to create a learning list.
A learning list is a customised plan and a powerful tool that can help you stay ahead of the curve and safeguard your career should the worst happen. The methodology of creating a customised learning list can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, set goals, and track your progress. Here are five steps for creating a customised learning list that can help you enhance your skills, knowledge, and career prospects.
Identify your learning goal:
The first step is to identify the overarching learning goal you want to achieve. Your broad learning goal could be focused on objectives set out by your manager, how to overcome a challenge at work, an identified gap in your skillset, a specific testing domain you’re interested in or a new role aspiration.
Identify your current knowledge, skills and experience:
Next, it's important to take stock of your current knowledge, skills, and experience as a tester. This step can be positive, you’ll likely identify you know more than you thought, and you can see how far you’ve come since starting your career. This self-assessment can help you work out what you need to learn and prioritise your learning. Be sure to consider important soft skills as well as tools, techniques, and testing methodologies. Begin by listing your current abilities and note the skills and topics you need to improve on and learn to achieve your learning goal.
Research resources and leverage your community connections:
Conduct research to find relevant resources to learn the skills and topics that will help you achieve your learning goal. This could include attending conferences, watching webinars, reading industry blogs or books, and following along with video demos or other learning resources, all of which are available through Ministry of Testing. Additionally, leverage your community connections by engaging with fellow testing professionals through Ministry of Testing’s Club forum and chat. By building community connections and interacting with others who share your passion for software testing, you can gain valuable tips and knowledge about topics that can help you in your professional development.
Create a list and set SMART goals:
After identifying the resources needed for your learning list, organize them in a logical order to build upon your knowledge. Then, create SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals to work through your list. This ensures a clear plan of action, helping you stay focused, motivated, and accountable. Regularly track your progress and adjust your plan as needed. By setting structured goals, you can maximize your learning and achieve your learning goal. Consider posting them publically to help keep yourself accountable.
Reflect on your progress:
This is the most critical step! Once you have completed a SMART goal, take some time to reflect on your progress. What did you learn? How does what you’ve learnt fit into your context? What worked well? What could have been better? By regularly reflecting on your progress, you can adjust your plan and SMART goals accordingly. Additionally, reflecting on your accomplishments can help you stay motivated and inspired to continue your learning path as a software tester. Throughout this journey, remember to make use of your community connections; they can also help you celebrate your successes and conquer your challenges.
If you're interested in creating a learning list, here are a few tips:
- Don't be afraid to start small. You don't have to learn everything all at once. Start with a few resources that you're interested in and go from there.
- Be flexible. Your learning list should be a living list. You may need to adjust your list accordingly as you learn new things and change your goals.
- Have fun! Make sure it's a goal you're passionate about. You're less likely to stick with it if you're not feeling motivated or enjoying your progress.
Creating a learning list is a great way to improve your knowledge and skills as a software tester. By following these steps, you can create a customised plan that will help you reach your goals. So, why not get started on your own learning list today?
If you’ve already created a learning list or have different strategies of what to learn next, why not share your methods and findings on The Club forum?