Linda asks how one gets into the software testing field. “Are there certain formulas I would need to know or certain classes I would need to take? Or is it something I would have to learn as I go along the way?”
To my knowledge there is not yet any college or university offering a degree in testing. Many schools do have some classes on testing, though, with James Whittaker at the Florida Institute of Technology leading the way. A plethora of books are available, including Cem Kaner’s classic Testing Computer Software, James Whittaker’s most excellent How To Break Software, and Lee Copeland’s technique survey A Practitioner’s Guide to Software Test Design. Finally, my post Hallmarks Of A Great Tester describes my view of the tester mentality.
Learning as you go is definitely an option – that’s what I did, and what most of the testers I know did. The aforementioned books are a good place to start, but reading on its own is not enough. As with anything else you want to learn, the secret to success is to Practice, Practice, Practice! Apply the tools and techniques and thought processes you learn to an application. It doesn’t matter which one – one you wrote, one that came with your operating system, one that you purchased, one that you downloaded for free. Whichever application you attack, I guarantee there are bugs waiting to be found!
*** Want a fun job on a great team? I need a tester! Interested? Let’s talk: Michael dot J dot Hunter at microsoft dot com. Great coding skills required.