We all have new testers joining our teams and it is always a question what should we include in the initial training program for a new tester?
On the one hand, we want to get people, especially young testers, to get their feet wet and their hands dirty with real testing work. But on the other hand, we do want them to understand what they are doing and how they should go about doing it.
And so it becomes a balance between theory and practice, between testing stuff and business stuff, between formal training and mentoring… And this is what we want to talk about today.
What does the new person know?
There was a time when a new tester literally came straight from the street without any knowledge or experience in testing. In the best of cases the person had some business knowledge.
But today a new tester may come from many backgrounds, he or she may already have some training or even a full-blown certification in testing – this does not mean that he or she can test…
Start by mapping what does this new tester have and knows. Most training programs (in one form or another) will need to be customized.
If the person needs to learn testing techniques then make sure you have this as part of your training program. If they need to learn some scripting, make sure it is also in the program, etc.
What does the organization need?
OK, so we have what the person has, but now we need to look at the testing team and understand how do we test and what tools (concrete and virtual) do we currently use.
What problem are you trying to solve? And will this person, and their abilities and skills, help you solve that problem?
Know the business environment
- What areas of the software are more critical than others?
- Business requirements
- Customer users
Know the different types of users
Personas – show the new tester relevant personas profiles and teach them how to create personas themselves.
Know your test artifacts
- Test artifacts are kind of like the company’s culture, you need to teach the existing artifacts to new testers.
- What is the existing structure of artifacts and why is it organized in this specific way.
- Could there be any improvements?
Know your environments and tools
- The current environments and tools that the company work with.
- Is there room for more?
Know the company
- What’s valuable to this specific company?
- What do they pay attention to?
- Communication and relationship building training.
- A good induction process can mitigate questions and gaps in knowledge later.
- A good induction is about making that person feel welcome – like they’ve made the right decision.
- And also productive as quickly as possible.
- Induction to each department by people working there can help.
- On the job training.
- There is learning by reading, studying, theory, understanding, memory.
- There is learning by doing: Pair them with the most experienced member of the team, and let them learn and study how your business and testing works by seeing someone else doing it.
- Online versus classroom-based training.
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