I just spoke to your class. I showed you the Psychic App, the Mysterious Spheres, the Notepad bug — it’s the same stuff I show professional testers.
Your next assignment is to tell me a problem you’ve seen in something you’ve used.
You’re using Twitter, Tweetdeck, Facebook, MySpace, SecondLife, maybe even LinkedIn.
You’re creating web pages, uploading pictures, downloading games, deleting spam, running virus checkers and firewall software.
You’ve got a Blackberry, a Razor, an iPhone, a Droid, maybe even a Zune.
From the App Store, you’ve installed Wa Kingyo, PixyMe, Shazam, Pandora, and a hundred other gizmos.
You own a DS, an XBOX, a Wii, a PSP, a PS3.
You’re playing Bioshock, Inferno, MassEffect, Zelda, Mario, CoD, GTA4, WOW, Farmville, MafiaWars, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom
You upload and download homework to the wiki, do your papers with OpenOffice.
You’re on Skype, Windows Live Messenger, Facebook chat, AOL IM, and texting on your cell.
You’re on Wave, Buzz, and Docs and you uploaded to blink.tv, YouTube, Flickr, PhotoBucket, and Viddler.
And of course, you’ve got your blog or your vlog or your podcast, skypecast, or webcast.
You’re surrounded and outnumbered by custom-made streams of electrons, pedabytes of ones and zeroes flying around you per second. And while you swim in all of this technology, I bet you’re not thinking what you want to be when you grow up.
While you wait for the video you edited to go viral and wait in line to become an internet millionaire, I suggest you pass the time by starting to notice problems. There are companies that will pay you to test their technology and report problems. Yes, there are a lot of people out of work, so that’s why it may be good for you to start now. Start building your experience ON YOUR OWN. Employers might not care what school you went to, but they WILL care what stories you have to tell about problems you found.
So, all you have to do… (for now)
… is start noticing things.
Start remembering errors and annoyances and things that go badly in all of the technology you’re using.
Discover something that doesn’t meet your expectations and practice describing it in writing — what you did, what you saw, what you had installed on your configuration.
I can help. If you’ve found something, report to me in email or find me in Skype. I’ll coach you how to report it, or to find other things — on purpose.
Testers are detectives. We hunt for where software is broken and then tell a quick story about it called a bug report.
Don’t let the teachers fool you. You’re smart and you already know a lot (look at the list above).
You have eyes and you have a brain. That’s all you need for now to start practicing.
Get started. Report one software problem you’ve seen in the last year.
Think about it, or if you forgot, find another one. Professional testers like me never get tired of hearing stories, and we can help you know where to look. We may not find what you find because we have a different configuration than you do, but that’s the fun. Bugs are treasures waiting to be found, and companies want them found either before or after shipping (usually before).
Get on Twitter and query the #testing hashtag. Read what people are saying. Try out some shareware or a 1.0 app, get a machine you don’t care about and fill it with software, then start hunting.
Or, you can just wait until your video goes viral on YouTube and Tosh.0 and *others* will let you know the problems with it.