Unboxing: Be More Grey

This often feels like an affirmation at something like an AA meeting, but I am a manual tester. I always immediately caveat this with ‘…but I’ll have a look’.

It is odd that I feel like I need to leap to my own defence so earnestly but I think ‘Manual Tester’ has a stigma attached to it even by other testers. A stigma that I myself subconsciously hold (thanks, impostor syndrome)

Much like the term ‘Code Monkey’ for developers (great song by Jonathan Coulton, the portal song guy FYI), it seems to suggest a lack of thought, comprehension or ability to handle anything overly technical. You just ‘do the testing’.

“Once you label me, you negate me”

Søren Kierkegaard

My testing has always been pretty grey. I’ve had local builds and DBs, I’ll trawl through repos, read through pull requests and will happily poke an API or 12. I cannot code though. While I can read code pretty well, learning to code has alluded me so far. I start off OK but eventually it always starts to feel very much “draw the rest of the fucking owl”.

How To Draw an Owl | Know Your Meme

This wall I hit with regard to learning to code also stops me from being an automation tester, from getting fully in the box or I guess, which is more frequently becoming a term, being a ‘Full Stack Tester’

“Potential has a shelf life”

Margaret Atwood

I imagine there are testers who refuse to code/automate and probably ones that cannot abide by manual testing. I will continue to want to have a look regardless of my total knowledge.

So much focus on how we do the testing and with what tools and defining the boundaries of the testing strategy. In practice, it is always more about the why, what, who/when for and that stuff is rarely as black and white as it seems.

All this grey matters and thinking outside the box/boxes allows curiosity, empathy and problem-solving to happen. It is in flux as well especially within an agile format and as what we are testing evolves.

Amongst the wiggle room and ambiguity is an opportunity to flourish, explore and adapt. Whatever kind of tester you get labelled as, try and be more grey or wander between the shades and avoid the boxes completely.


#alwaysbetesting #iamatester

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