One of the hardest parts of working as a software tester is keeping on top of new technologies, techniques in testing and development and software testing tools. I can sometimes feel quite intimidated at the amount of information that I need to absorb in order to keep on top of the game.
Gavin Davies writes about this feeling of intimidation in his post Software Development: Doing It Scared and how we naturally are tempted to retreat to a place of safety. As he points out though, it doesn’t get the job done.
He gives some tips on overcoming these feelings, I pass them on to you here:
1) Cut it down to size.
If you have a task that’s overwhelming, cut it down to smaller manageable tasks. I like to set these tasks to dates as it helps keep me focused.
2) Get Help.
There are lots of places where you can go and ask for help online (my personal favourite is the Ministry of Testing). Try and keep your questions specific and put some context in the question to help those answering it.
One word of caution though, whilst there is no such thing as a dumb question, your question may have been already asked. Do everyone a favour and search first to see if your question has already been adequately answered.
Also, ask your colleagues and team members for help.
3) Remember your existing skills.
Remind yourself that you are already skilled in some aspects of testing. Once you have learned your new technology/skill, you will be able to quickly ramp up and apply the new skill to what you already know. It will get easier!
There’s a bit more on what not to do in the post, which is good reading. Gavin ends with this worthwhile point:
“Software can seem overwhelming. The more we learn, the more we realise how much there is to learn – more than one person can possibly know. As software developers, we will always face fresh challenges. Nevertheless, a life worth living will take you out of your comfort zone time and time again and positive thinking, teamwork, good practise and organisation can help tackle daunting tasks.”