Testing Curiosity


What drew you to testing? What keeps you here? What would cause you to leave?

I fell into testing by accident. Autodesk needed testers for a new version of AutoCAD, I had registered copies of AutoCAD, they asked if I was interested, I said “Oh yeah!”, they sent me test builds, I sent them bugs. I did not really know what I was doing, although I did know I was having fun!

This led directly to a position testing IntelliCAD for Visio, which was then still an independent company. My first day on the job my boss handed me a copy of Testing Computer Software and told me to get started testing. Scales fell from my eyes as I put what I learned from that book into practice. I discovered that I had been testing my entire life, and that I was good at it! Promotions came fast and furiously, as did bugs, and praise from my developers.

What drew me to testing originally, and what still draws me to it, is curiosity. Curiosity about how my program works. Curiosity about how my app is implemented. Curiosity about what was going through my developers’ heads as they designed and wrote and tested their code. Curiosity about how well they translated their dream of our product into reality, and where their dream does not match with what our customers mean to accomplish. Curiosity.

Curiosity drew me to testing and is one reason I stay here. Curiosity about what interesting bugs I will find today. Curiosity about how I can help my team test better, and more effectively, and more efficiently. Curiosity about what makes my teammates tick and how that interacts with and affects my product. Curiosity about what makes me tick and how that interacts with and affects my product. Curiosity.

What would make me leave testing is realizing that I am no longer curious about these things. While I find that I am no longer interested in proving I am a great tester, I do still enjoy helping other testers become great. As I work with them we generally find bugs, which I still enjoy doing. And I still enjoy hearing about the excellent bugs my teammates and friends find. Curiosity is still present for me I believe!

What drew you to testing? What keeps you here? What would cause you to leave? Let me know: michael dot j dot hunter at microsoft dot com.

Comments (2)

  1. Adam White says:

    Michael,

    For a minute – I thought you were talking about me 🙂

    I was drawn to testing by accident. I started in Development at a company that was going through transition. When I arrived my hiring manager was gone. The group I joined was "in transition" as well. I was offered a spot on the "QA team" where I became familar with unit testing and JUnit. This led me to a testing position with PlateSpin Inc.  PlateSpin Inc went bankrupt. A group of us started PlateSpin Ltd. I stayed in testing and got a great mix of testing and management. That is what really kept me in testing. As a hands on testers I realized that after a while technical problems are just technical problems. Not to downplay them as "mere technical problems" but I lost interest in them. The interesting problems  became the people problems. Especially people’s views about the Q word.

    Then I met Michael Bolton at TASSQ in Toronto. Stupid dice game! I went to a STAR conference and there I met the Bach’s, Rob Sab, yourself, and many others.

    From then on it was pretty much Game Over as my testing fate had been sealed. 🙂

  2. Rob Lambert says:

    Hi Michael,

    I fell in to testing also straight after University and realised I was good at it. What’s keeping me in testing is my passion for communication and improving it. I fully believe a large number of defects are introduced / not fixed / not found through poor communication.

    What would cause me to leave?

    If the whole IT industry believed that testing should be automated. Not because I can’t automate – I can, it’s just that there really is no replacement for good, accurate, observant testers who can communicate well.

    Thoroughly enjoying your blog…nice one.