According to the Webster Dictionary
craftsman means “a person who is very skilled at doing something”
I consider myself a craftsman. I’m an independent software tester since 2005. I just jumped into it, but with one thing clear in mind. To be a good software tester. Specialized in something, not that important yet. Skillful, that for sure. To do that, I committed myself to a rigid learning process. I started to collect and read articles about certain topics related to test (such as Risk Based Test, Session Based Test, Exploratory Test and Risk Management). I registered for training/courses to improved my knowledge. Yes, I admit. I have some certifications.
I started to go to conferences. This was for me a step in the right direction. At conferences you meet people who are as passionate as you are about test as a craft. The real turning point for was CAST 2011 in Seattle, organized by James and John Bach. This conference was a gathering where a lot of the context driven testers came together. This was (and still is) the group of people I want to belong to. There you know you can find people who (and information which) can help you to remain a skillful testers. You hear their experiences you can learn from. You share your experiences and get feedback for perhaps further improvement. At CAST2011, I really find my vocation. To be a context drive tester. I try as much as possible to work by the seven principles. It was not always possible. I gave it a little twist for the benefit of the customer at that moment, but I never abandoned them. For me, CAST is the conference I go to for the years to come. A gathering with skillful people from whom I still can learn a lot.
Next to conferences, I participated in several peer conferences. Local and international. These are also great place to go to. These peer conferences can be specialty related like performance test (WOPR) or related to an industry like financial services (STiFS). I also participate in a local group, DEWT. I’m one of the founding members. We have several meetings per year and a yearly peer conference to discuss various topics related to our test profession.
To make a list of what I have done over the past years to become and remain a skillful tester, I can come up with the following:
- Read blogposts
- Read books
- Read Test Magazines
- Read articles about certain test topics
- Write blogposts
- Write articles
- Listening to podcasts
- Watching videos from talks/keynotes of other conferences
- Follow courses/training to improve your skills
- Join a local peer group where you meet with other passionate and skillful testers
- Go to conferences
- Go to peer conferences, where you talk about certain specific test topics
- Speak at conferences
There are more things you can do, like participate in “weekend testing” or coaching testers who just started there professional career. You can think about being coached yourself.
By doing all these things I worked on my skills to become a craftsman. I’m I done? No. Every day I learn new things, improve my skills. I know I have to do this my whole professional career. As long as I live.
As a craftsman, I work on my skills, in order to improve them. As a craftsman, I want to be a person “who is so good that they can not ignore him”.
So, I’m Simon Peter Schrijver. I’m a professional tester. I’m a craftsman.