Atomic recently hosted a couple of students from the Kent County ISD doing a job shadow as part of the Groundhog Shadow Day. They spent an hour at a time with different people at Atomic, and I volunteered to be one of the people to be followed and questioned. It was a fun experience, made a nice change to the workday and was even productive as I was able to use them for some quick ad-hoc usability testing on one of the apps I was testing.
As well as being fun and rewarding, I found there were two ways that made it a valuable experience for me:
1. What I Like
As part of the prep for the visit, I had to work out what I liked about my job and how could I sell it to people who didn’t know anything about it. I was able to come up with a good list:
- The challenge of finding bugs in program written by top-notch developers.
- Exposure to different business domains—every project is different, and I’ve been exposed to business that I never knew existed.
- New toys. On my desk I have a Chromebook, iPad, a selection of iPhones, and a custom hardware device. And my computer is loaded up with numerous VM’s and browsers. Next on the list is an Apple Watch.
This really helped me appreciate my role here at Atomic.
2. How I Got Here
Also as part of the prep, I had to explain how I became a tester and how I had gone about learning to become a good one. This was another good reflection exercise as I worked out what I had done to learn testing. This included:
- Reading books: there’s a few I would recommend to every new tester.
- Participating in the online community: I started off lurking on forums and mailing lists and gradually started to contribute.
- Conferences and local meetings: swapping war stories about great bug finds with other testers was a great way to add to my tool chest.
Doing this exercise helped me understand how much I had learnt through books, how much through experience, and how much by contact with other people. And it gave me ideas on how to continue my learning.
Even if you don’t have a young person coming in to shadow you, working out what you like about your job and how you have got to where you are can be a valuable exercise to do.