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  • Writer's pictureIan Wells

Four kinds of testers

I have hired 50 or more  testers and interviewed hundreds of tester candidates.

The trick is to hire the right tester for the testing job you need done.  I have come to appreciate these types of testers:

The Accountant Tester. Accuracy and book keeping are essential to keep track of the myriad of combinations and tests that can be run. Accountant-testers are meticulous and make sure no details are missed.

The Developer Tester.  Building up automation is crucial to preventing regressions. The worst kind of bug is a corruption error ( Silent Deadly) and computers are ideally suited to examing thousands of numbers and watching for changes. In my opinion, automated test suites need to be higher quality than the code they are testing. So hire top  developers to build up     quality automated tests. Automation can be broken up several ways.

The Breaker Tester. Testing is a different mind set than writing code. Developers get their  job satisfaction  by making code work. But Breaker testers get their reward by trying to break code. Breaker testers have a special mindset to know where to look to find bugs, how to debug, how to avoid finding bugs that “don’t matter” and how to interact constructively with developers and managers who made the code. Enjoyment but not gloating. Breaker testers often apply exploratory testing approaches.

The Doctor Tester. The skills of a top tester are similar to those of a doctor. A doctor has a limited amount of time to investigate what is wrong with a highly complex “system” ( your body), what tests to run, and to suggest remedial action. Of course a doctor has been trained for years how to  debug the  human system. As  testers become more experienced, and rise up in their profession, the organization relies on them to diagnose a  complex software release, so it can be healthy when it ships. Doctor testers have deep knowledge of systems, are critical thinkers and perpetual learners.

This post  was part of talks I gave and articles I wrote   in 2013 about how to hire testers . Follow this link to find  how Testing guru James Bach categorized the testers he has met.


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