To commemorate World Tester’s Day, we at “Trending in Testing” have started an initiative “Global Tester Series”. As a part of this initiative, we have interviewed some amazing Software Testers and we will be sharing their responses with our community. We believe this will inspire other testers and will also provide them with a lot of valuable insights.
The fourth article in the series is an interview with Ajay Balamurugadas, AVP-Delivery at Qapitol QA. Ajay started with testing standalone desktop applications and soon moved on to web applications and mobile applications. He continues to be a hands-on software tester along with training new testers, presenting at conferences, conducting workshops, and sharing his thoughts through his blogs and tweets. He has also been inducted into ‘The Bach Brothers Legion of Testing Merit’.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the interview session with Ajay.
Question 1. Could you please share your story about how you paved your path into Software Testing?
Ajay: I did not know about Software Testing when I gave my first interview. I graduated in Printing Technology and was hired to test software for printing professionals. After a year, I realized that I wanted to be a software tester who could test any software and not just software restricted to the printing domain.
Question 2. Who is your inspiration or mentor to guide you towards your journey?
Ajay: I will not be able to pick one mentor. Each expert has helped me in one stage or the other. While Pradeep Soundararajan introduced me to Exploratory Testing and the CDT world, I have learned a lot from James Bach and Michael Bolton. Shrini Kulkarni, Meeta Prakash continues to help me answer my tough questions. I cannot forget Matt Heusser who helped me sharpen my skills through the Miagi-Do School of Software Testing.
There have been many colleagues who have inspired me to give my best. Every professional I interact with has an impression on me. I am happy to have the opportunity to interact with multiple professionals through conferences, meetups, social media, workshops.
Question 3. What are the common challenges that you face as a Software Tester? How do you overcome them?
Ajay: I would like to classify the challenges into three categories:
There is so much to learn every day. There are changes all around. Talking to other testers helps. I learn from meetups and watching videos on software testing. Twitter and LinkedIn also help a lot as people share their views and discussions happen. There are communities where people ask questions and the community members answer.
When the industry is still stuck at practice due to lack of knowledge. Convincing them becomes difficult. For example, we know the least about the product and project at the start. But we document the most at the start. Anyone with a clear-thinking mind would say that it would not be great to write more when we know the least. That’s how the industry seems to be working.
I try my best to demonstrate to people about such practices and the alternatives through my workshops, books, and YouTube videos.
3. Demonstrating the value of software testing
It becomes difficult to explain the value of software testing especially when many think that testing is automation and anyone can test. Only when the foundations are right, the testing mindset is set, you can achieve success. Jumping to automation without having a strong foundation leads to automating mess.
Question 4. What can people in the same role do to upskill themselves so that they can keep pace with the changing trends?
Ajay: Get better at what they are currently doing. Start with listing out all the factors and steps in everyday tasks and focus on improving each task by 1% consistently.
About the changing trends, trends will continue to change. Be confident that whatever you know now was a changing trend long back. So, start learning the fundamentals of the new change. Take help from peers, books, videos, workshops, articles.
You will get time to learn if you really want to learn, else there are many excuses.
Question 5. According to you, what are the important factors to consider for becoming successful in Software Testing?
Ajay: Everyday learning, good communication, Ability to learn anything, to remain calm and organized when everyone else is confused, and to have the courage to say the truth every time.
Question 6. What are the upcoming trends in Software Testing that our audience should know about?
Ajay: The technological landscape has widened. What was thought of as science fiction is now a reality. So, instead of following a specific trend, be more curious than before, read about what the industry is talking about and things will be fine.
Question 7. What advice would you like to give to aspiring testing enthusiasts regarding how they can pave their way in the industry and be successful?
Ajay: Your career is in your hands. Your job is not your career. Nowadays everything is available for free. If you are disciplined enough, you can achieve success. If you are stuck, ask around. The right mentor will help you.
Question 8. Any other thoughts you would like to share with us?
Ajay: Testing is one of the few professions where you get paid based on the questions you ask 🙂 Enjoy testing. As Michael Bolton says, if you are not enjoying testing, you are not doing it right. Join me in The Testing Lab to see if you would like to enjoy testing.
‘Trending in Testing’ would like to thank Mr. Ajay for taking out the time to share her knowledge and experience with the Software Testing community. We appreciate her efforts a lot!
Stay Tuned for more interviews in the series.