A long time ago … well 1993 in fact … in a second-hand bookshop far far away…well London, actually... a #NewbieTester found a battered book that she happily paid £23 for. In those days testing had no common language or clear principles. It was a task you did at the end of writing a program to ensure it worked. The book?

Today, the 2011 edition is offered on Amazon for £108 or £102 on kindle or the original is available for slightly less.

The alert reader will realize that the most important component in a program tester’s bag of tricks is the knowledge of how to write effective test cases…

Myers (1979)

This book changed my life! I became a disciplined focused Tester with a greater understanding of the Art and skill that a Tester required. My job became a calling! However, testers should take note: This book was written for programmers, not testers. It gives examples of how to devise good test cases, but relies on some knowledge of programming. That said it is still worth getting hold of a copy of the more recent version. The reviews on Amazon demonstrate this far better than any recommendation I can give. I was fortunate because that was my role between 1984 and 1993. I had been programming in FORTRAN and then in C. So I was able to take a lot away from that early version.

Many years later (2004) I took a course, sat the foundation-level exam in software testing to allow me to stay in a career I’d been in for 10 years. Delighted that the basics I’d learned from Myers were now mainstream and a key part of the Syllabus. I learned a few new skills too, but the course and exam barely touched on writing tests or how to find bugs.

Today as I take on the role of mentor to a #NewbieTester once again and attempt to act like a guru in all things testing, I look back with gratitude to Myers and others that followed. Yet, despite its maturing years, Testing as a profession is still confused and as a discipline slow to adapt in a world where you must adapt quickly to keep up.

In this blog, I don’t plan to repeat the content of any book or course. I won’t attempt to repeat what you can find anywhere by searching on google. I do plan to give a personal look at testing, to attempt to demystify and explain the process of how to write effective tests and hopefully impart some knowledge gained over the last 24 years as a Tester, before that 10 years as a programmer, and help you on your journey towards becoming a Foxy-Tester.

It is becoming clear that the role of Tester is changing and the future, for the survival of all Testers is in automated testing. The future for all of us lies in mobile device applications. I hope to get you boldly started on that journey too.

Carolyn Newham, BSc, MBCS, CEng 

Software Tester & Automation Test Engineer