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Testing: Like Destroying Sandcastles

In this blog for software quality assurance and testing, I decided to return to the “Test Talks” podcast, presented by Joe Colantonio, for another episode (#223). In it, he sat down with Noemi Ferrera, a software tester for a Chinese mobile gaming company to get her take on the subject.

Noemi gave a few interesting metaphors that I appreciated for how to look at testing. In one, she gave the example of going to a movie where you had already read the book. It was different than how you imagined it while reading it, and testing is a way of making the “movie version” fit the way you envisioned it playing out. 

The other metaphor for testing that she gave was, if you were children at the beach, the developers would be the ones building the sandcastles, whereas the testers would be the ones destroying them. I don’t know if that would be the most accurate way of looking at it, although it is amusing, and I’m sure many developers might harbor some resentment towards testers for telling them their code is flawed.

An interesting side note was something that it sounded like the host said, which was that testing was not in any curriculum that he’s aware of at the college level. He said a lot of computer science majors coming out of college doesn’t know much about testing. I would have thought testing would have been taught more broadly. Perhaps he should take a visit to WSU and audit this class if it truly is not very common. 

She came from humble beginnings, starting to code at nine by fixing bugs in her computer games so they would load faster. Not all of us can say we started coding at such a young age. I was introduced to my first programming class when I was in college. She encouraged listeners to “go to a meet up,” and if there are none around, “make one.” “Be curious and go do stuff,” she said.

I was heartened that she said this because the new chapter of the Worcester State computer science club is holding our first code jam this upcoming Saturday to design out own website. I am excited to do exactly what Noemi is encouraging a beginner coder like myself to do. Although there is probably not going to be as much of a focus on testing at this meet up, I’m sure she would be proud.


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