Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Developing a Testing Mindset

It has been a busy past year for me. I wrote a compiler, finished a Bachelor's degree, finished an internship, started an internship, finished that internship, and started a full-time job as a developer. I think that was most, if not all, what I have done professionally. I also realized I 'm not a very good tester. I have fallen into the trap that I have laid out in previous posts. I have become a developer who leans way to heavily on the SQA's to test my stories.

I first realized this was happening when I was writing a compiler and was responsible to do all my own testing. I quickly found out I had forgotten a lot of what I had learned when I was a tester. So I started to rediscover my testing 'skill'. This of course would have been fine and dandy had I not forgotten it again when I started my internship as a developer. I fell back into that same mindset of "I'll let the tester test" and I didn't even write my own unit tests...for shame. 😓 It was brought to my attention because of a code review I was doing with another developer who strongly suggested I write some tests to go with what I had just written. At that time I realized what I had done and made a course correction to start testing (including writing all tests that needed to be written to improve test coverage). 

I was thinking about these experiences and what led me to 'forgetting' or ignoring the testing side of being a developer, especially when I had been one of the strongest proponents of developers testing their work before giving it to the SQA's to tear it apart.
I realized it was laziness.

It was a laziness and lack of pride in my work. I was not passionate about what I was doing, I was just going through the motions and therefore did not care about my code or testing it.

It was a realization that I should be passionate about everything I do and every bit of code I write that has kept me from forgetting to test.
It is such an easy thing to do but yet so difficult to keep the mindset of everything I do I should do to the best of my ability. When your writing code this means including to test it thoroughly.


  1. Hhhhmmmm. I share with you the passion for testing and quality, and I also think there are number of factors making developers skip their testing. In some cases it can be lack of passion or ownership of the stuff they are writing. But in my mind your second point is closer to the truth in most cases, and that is laziness, or simply wanting others to do the testing for you.

    We, the software world, brought this on ourselves decades ago, when we defined that we have specialised testers that would clean up after the developers wrote the code. And just like young kids that do not make their beds or clean the table after their are done, not because they are bad because the parents made the mistake of not making it a trivial part of life to clean after yourself, we as a community need to make corrections to this behaviour.

    BTW, on a separate note, and after you made this first mistake, in my experience some of the best developers I know did testing jobs earlier in their career, and this made them be more empathic towards their users and helped them to create code that is cleaner and overall better.


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