Sunday, 26 April 2009

"What is testing?" The question that we all get asked

One question which I get asked and I'm sure a lot of others as well is "What is testing?" or some derivation of that. Well most of the time I will just say something like "I'm paid to break stuff" and "preferably before the users do". This is somewhat of the truth and without spending too long explaining it all (as most people don't care that much) is accurate enough for them. And then I actually enjoying find it fun finding new and interesting ways to break the new piece of code which I have been given to test. Though I prefer it when it is a challenge to break it, it is not all that fun to just have it break when you look at it oddly and have it die terribly. Though testing of course is more than just this with checking meets requirements, fit to deploy to production etc.. Then again if I don't break or find some cool or weird behaviour, I feel a little disappointed and like I am not doing my job properly.

While thinking about this I think back to an old blog post of mine where was looking at the difference between QA and Testing. QA is really what the project auditors do by looking at processes, scope etc. as QA can look at if you are following a set process to ensure quality of the process which results in the delivery of the final product. I think is this more like what would do in say the food industry where they ensure the processes are correct and only sample a small percentage of the output while in Software Testing we try and cover as many combinations as possible to get as close to 100% coverage as can given the project constraints.

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