20 Years of Testing

A while ago, I saw this tweet from Maaret where she reflected on her 25 years of testing and on how her career and roles have developed throughout time:

This made me realize that 2022 marks my 20 years of testing, so I decided to follow Maaret’s lead and reflect on my own timeline. 

I tried to look back at my career from different angles. From a technology perspective, I have been mostly testing mobile applications, with some embedded platforms and web testing in between. I have worked mostly as a consultant, but in many different roles. Then, I have switched from test management back to more hands-on testing and I seem to return to test leadership roles every now and then. I have been involved in test automation for most of these 20 years. This has been my main focus in the last few years. I have also been involved in managing and developing an open source tool for automation for Unity3d. 

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Defining moments

I had a few defining moments that I wanted to mark down on my timeline. 

First, I was lucky enough to read “Lessons Learned in Software Testing” in 2003, early in my career. This was an important moment as it was this book that introduced me to exploratory testing. It also made me realize I wanted to build a career as a software tester. 

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Moving away from my home country in 2006 was another milestone. I worked for a big telecom corporation and I got to experience the Finnish culture. This opened up different learning opportunities and taught me new ways of working. I then moved to the UK for one year, before returning to Romania in 2008.

This was for another milestone: starting Altom, a company focused on software testing, where I am still working today.

In 2009, I came back to Finland for a project that introduced me to Agile Software development and got me back into test automation. Since then, test automation has always been a part of my day to day job. 

In 2011, I discovered the BBST® materials from Cem Kaner and finished BBST® Foundations, a course that I then deemed to be “my testing bass line”. I found the materials and the courses so useful that I immediately wanted to get involved with teaching them as well, hoping to share these materials and the overall exploratory approach to software testing with as many other testers as possible.

In 2013, we started working with Cem Kaner and Rebecca Fiedler on offering the BBST® courses via Altom. I became one of the main instructors, after teaching a few classes alongside Cem Kaner. I enjoyed learning from him how to run the courses, guide students and offer meaningful feedback. It was in 2019, after Cem’s retirement, that Altom took over the BBST® trademark. Since then I have been working with my colleagues not only on teaching the BBST® series, but also on updating and improving the materials. 

In 2012, I joined the first Test Lab at Eurostar and thus started my participation in conferences as a contributor and speaker, not just as an attendee.

I held my first presentation and my first workshop in 2013 with Tabara de Testare. Since then I have been presenting at different international conferences regularly. 

In 2014, I started working with Bitbar on a project that involved creating a test automation framework for mobile games. This was my first introduction to the world of game development and its specific testing challenges. I have been working on tackling these challenges ever since. I started working more and more with games and apps built with Unity3d and, in 2017, I started working on AltTester® for Unity, our open source solution for UI driven test automation for Unity. 

All these milestones and experiences have turned me into the professional tester that I am today. I love hands-on exploratory testing as much as I love test automation and test tool development. I do my best to use my “let’s try it out” attitude to drive experiments and practice skills that help me learn something new every day. So how about the future?

The next 20 years

Some people say that testers have to take the contrarian approach and have to look for faults everywhere, that they need to always see the negative rather than the positive in every new idea. You’d think twenty years of that would have left me jaded. But, on the contrary (pun intended), I find myself energized and focused. Rather than negativity, I like to think that testing fosters curiosity and learning. For the next twenty years, my plan is to stay curious and keep learning. I look forward to meeting the next generation of testers and the next generation of ideas around exploration, automation and the ways in which we can combine them. The only plan I have is to not have a plan and just be ready for change. 

Looking forward to the next 20 years!

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