Boost your development: Tester Skill Tracks

A different kind of skill track!

People’s motivation and speed of progression improves dramatically when they have a clear solid vision for what there they want to be in 3-12 months time and a set of concrete actions they can take to get there.   “Be a better tester” is all very well, but what does that actually mean?

To try and answer this question, David Parker and I set out to create a set of TesterSkillTracks.  Each track is a different skill related to testing, and along each track is a set of “levels”.  Each level is defined as something you can do, and is a clear qualitative step up from the previous level – it’s not just “do X more and better”.  We’re using this within Metaswitch Networks (where we both work) and finding it useful.

We’ve found that working on these tracks has enabled people to

  • focus on a particular area to develop
  • stretch themselves further when they’re already really good at testing
  • break out achievable chunks when they’re brand new
  • identify and discuss where their manager thinks their capabilities are different from their own assessment.

So, please take and use and let me know if this helps you.  And please let me know any feedback that you have.  What’s not exactly right?  What makes no sense or could be clearer?  What tracks are missing entirely?  What’s there but completely irrelevant or rubbish?  I’d really appreciate any thoughts, positive or negative.

Some notes and caveats.

  • This is intended to let you break down, clarify and focus “I want to be a better tester” into “The next thing I will achieve is <this>”.  This is not a tick-box exercise of competencies to go up a pay-grade.
  • We have taken a wide view on skills useful to a tester and included various skills that are outside the narrowest definitions of the “tester” role.  We want people to grow and develop beyond just being a particular shaped cog in a machine.
  • We deliberately tried to avoid linking these skills to any particular testing creed or school.





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