A Day in the Life of a Software Tester

A Day in the Life of a Software Tester – Jon

Ever wondered what it’s like to be a tester? Regular ST.C contributor Jon takes you through his average day in the life of a tester.

My working day starts as most people’s day starts, with a long and exhausting commute, five feet from my bedroom to my home office via the coffee machine. If anyone has a more tiring start to their day, I’d love to hear it!

Then on to planning my day, which starts with reviewing my Trello kanban board. I make sure yesterday’s completed tasks have all been moved into the ‘Done’ column, read through and update my ‘To Do’ column, and then move today’s planned tasks into the ‘Today’ column. From there I will move my first testing session to the ‘Doing’ column and get cracking.

I usually begin with the most interesting testing task I have so that, assisted by coffee, I am able to resist the short walk back to bed.

A Day in the Life of a Software Tester
After an hour of exploring, analyzing, note-taking and hopefully bug-finding, it’s about time for the daily project ‘stand-up,’ and by ‘stand-up’ I mean a Slack video chat with the rest of my project team. The daily meeting normally lasts around fifteen minutes, with everyone taking it in turn to give a brief update of what they did yesterday, what they’re going to do today, and whether or not they are blocked by anything.

(I know I just described a widely known and adopted practice, but it’s better that I fulfil my word count with something relevant to the profession than talk you through my cheese and pickle sandwich recipe later on.)

Once the daily standup is done, I’ll add any actionables from the meeting into my task board then start my next testing session of the day. This will be either a continuation of the previous task, where I’ll add to the earlier notes, or I’ll start a whole new session with a new set of notes.

With session two out of the way, next on the agenda is a strong cup of Yorkshire Tea, a dash of milk, no sugar.

By this point in the day, I’ve probably found one or more things to talk to a developer about so will give them a call to discuss. I’ll always opt for a face-to-face (or in this case a video chat) over IM or email as it cuts out so much potential misunderstanding, and body language is a massively underrated form of communication, especially with the software industry where we default to less social mediums.

Having discussed any questions, issues or bugs with the developer, I would then update my notes, log any bugs I need to log and update my task board accordingly.

Then a late-lunch, because a tester’s gotta eat eventually.

After I’ve eaten and got my energy back up (or down, depending on how much I eat), this part of the day tends to be the most common time to have meetings booked in my calendar. This could be a previous projects retrospective, a current projects deployment plan or maybe a future projects kick-off meeting.

After any meeting, I’ll tend to review the notes I took during the meeting and tidy them up, or if I didn’t make any, I’ll throw some brief ones together for future reference. These notes will take the form of a mindmap to ensure that I have, at best, only a 50/50 chance of understanding them when I revisit them in the future.

Then there’s time for one more testing session followed by a final task review. There has almost definitely been a bunch of tasks and testing ideas to have come up throughout the day, so I’ll add them to my Trello backlog.

And that’s it, I sign off for the day, eat some dinner, play some video games, go to sleep then do it all again.

All this sounded a lot less boring in my head.

Jonathan McGreevy

Jonathan McGreevy

Jon is a regular blog contributor who contracts for SoftwareTester.Careers. He has led the test strategy on projects ranging from small apps to company-defining flagship solutions.

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