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Two Resources for Introducing Young Developers to Testing and Quality

At Atomic, we’re doing a great job of taking on and training up new grads to be excellent developers through our Accelerator program. I recently gave a talk to introduce them to some testing concepts and quality attributes that they should be thinking about in their work.

I used two resources that I’ve found useful in my career and still refer to from time to time.

Test Heuristics Cheat Sheet

For testing concepts, I shared the Test Heuristics Cheat Sheet from Elisabeth Hendrickson. This provides a list of “quick attacks” you can perform on an app, and I often use them as I start exploring a new program.

Because many other testing types are included, the sheet also acts as a useful checklist. You can use it to make sure you’ve covered the tests that you could run, or refer to it as a refresher when you’re struggling to think of what to test next.

Reading  a document and putting the ideas into practice are two different things, so I’m not expecting the new people to run all of these tests right away. I have, though, planted the seeds for a new habit. After a couple of reports of problems with trailing spaces or double-clicking buttons, these habits will become ingrained–leaving me free to find more complex issues.

Software Quality Characteristics

For quality attributes, I shared the Software Quality Characteristics list from the Test Eye.

Before showing the list, I asked people to name some quality characteristics besides functionality. After security, performance, and accessibility were mentioned, they started to struggle. Showing them the list made their eyes open–and hopefully, their minds also followed.

I was also able to share some examples from past projects with different quality concerns, and I explained how using testability as a quality attribute had made my life as a tester much easier and more productive.

It was a useful experience for me to reflect back on how I learned about testing and what I’ve found most useful. If you have any tips or comments about bringing new people up to speed, let me know in the comments.