Combined or subsumed



‘Years ago (before online resume submission), the mailroom delivered a box to me. When I opened it, it was a large origami crane, with a note — ‘Unfold me.’ It was a resume.’
Debunking common job-search myths

Have we reached a stage already, where positions such as developer and tester are feeling like holding onto the past? Are they yet another role where the tasks to be either divided, combined or subsumed?  The CV has be largely hailed as out of date, but nothing cohesive to replace it as yet. Perhaps we are in same state for how we think about people in the workplace, and we can’t yet exist without the pervasive labelling in company structures. We will be forced to change soon, however we personally feel.

The curse of the ISEB tester

The insipid march of ISEB trained people has meant that reality takes a back seat, and testing as a whole, has dissolved into discussions over methodology rather than treating each company/project as a unique entity. As a test manager, many testers have passed through my hands, and the worst are the ISEB-trained purists – a certificate that has caused more issues than it resolved. Because of agencies and companies blindness, ISEB has become a crucial requirement – regardless of the actual skills or experience of the individual. I have met ISEB tester of various type, but what they share in common is a lack of broad experience, or ability to adapt. No project can comply with all ISEB standards – it is a good ideal to aim for, but should not dictate the testing approach – that is down to individual companies.

There has been a proliferation of ISEB testers the last few years, who basically took the test as many times as they could, to shoehorn into testing (for some reason, mainly Africans). The BBC has been atrocious of their hiring skills for testers of this type, which was an ill-fated consultancy job I did last month. The experience left me reeling from the complete incompetence of upper management of such a large respected organisation.

This new wave of basically useless testers has left me with a suspicion of anyone carrying this certificate like a badge, and I always track back through their experience. I took the exam myself a few years ago, responding to the bleating of companies and agencies that seem to rate this qualification highly, but also have no idea to its content.

The worst tester of this type I came across was a hiring at Emap – the guy had an ISEB certification (The Foundation certificate) and was vetted (according to consultancy who I was using at the time), and the job requirement was just basic web testing – not rocket science, any capable IT-friendly person could have done it. But here reads the first defect he rasied (this is exactly what he put!) “Registration doesn’t work”. He then proceeded to raise loads more bugs around things like “name field doesn’t work”, “address line 1 field doesn’t work”. Useless.

The best testers come from different IT backgrounds, and bring that knowledge into testing. Gaining a qualification that you are allowed to take an infinite amount of times, and then slip into contracting is only doing testing a disservice. Test Managers – please do not use ISEB as qualifying criteria to hire – for one thing they usually annoy developers very quickly with their constricted viewpoints, and really nobody likes a methodology bore. Testing is a DOING activity, and require adaptability – Find me an ISEB trained tester capable of thinking out-the-box, and I will eat my ISEB certificate