Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Software Testing: Some Definitions

Perhaps we need to embrace Tester Pride and let the world know about the contributions we make. Do your friends and neighbors know what you do for a living? Do they know of the contributions you make? Probably not. As far as I know, the only tester in the world who advertises his profession to total strangers on the street is James Bach with his well-known "TESTER" license plate.

James's license plate got me thinking. What can we say about our work that would fit comfortably on the fender of a car? Here are my suggestions for bumper stickers that just might rock the industry.

We could start by hijacking existing bumper sticker mottos:
  • Ask me about my latest bug.

  • Honk if you love to crash software.

  • My other car is a bug.

  • Have you hugged your software tester today?

  • But those seem too lame and tame. How about emphasizing the unique mental attitudes of testers?
  • Software Testers: Always looking for trouble.

  • Software Testing is Like Fishing, But You Get Paid.

  • Software Testers: "Depraved minds...Usefully employed." ~Rex Black

  • Software Testing: Where failure is always an option.

  • Or, we could emphasize the often-unnoted contributions testers make:
  • Software Testing: When Your System Actually Has to Work

  • Software Quality: Don't ship without it.

  • I don't make software; I make software better.

  • Improving the world one bug at a time.

  • We could even support both sides of the "making and breaking" question:
  • Software Testing: You make it, we break it.

  • Software Testers don't break software; it's broken when we get it.

  • Software Testers: We break it because we care.

  • Not bad for a start, but perhaps we'd like to get in a few digs at development while we are at it:
  • To err is human; to find the errors requires a tester.

  • If developers are so smart, why do testers have such job security?

  • My software can beat up your software.

  • A good tester has the heart of a developer...in a jar on the desk.

  • But maybe that is too hard on our poor developers, and we are all in this together. What I'd like to see is developers' cars sporting the following:
  • Test is my copilot.

  • If your software works, thank a tester.

  • Or, we could even support positions within our own testing community. I work with test automation and spec-based test generation most of the time, so how about these:
  • Old Model-Based Testers Never Die; They Just Transition to a Higher State.

  • Life is too short for manual testing.

  • Friends don't let friends do capture-replay.

  • Support spec-based testing: Be code-dependent no more!

  • People should think and machines should test.

  • Test never sleeps.

  • There can be lofty sentiments for those idealists among us:
  • Visualize Great Software

  • And some not-so-lofty sentiments for those whose ideals have taken a beating:
  • Trust, But Verify.

  • Truthfully, though, I am a tester because that is what I have always been, even when I was a kid. I have always asked awkward questions that I felt needed to be asked. I always looked for answers I could be satisfied with. So, the bumper sticker that sums it up for me would be:
  • Pertempto ergo sum – I test, therefore I am.
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