Learning New Skills

Now that I have been doing a good bit of functional testing, I am ready to branch out and learn more. One area that I know very little but have a ton of curiosity about is security testing. I do have a small slither of experience. It’s not really even worth mentioning although I find myself wanting to share it right here right now.

When I was in college, the Internet was a much smaller place. I went to a college that had a healthy community of computer geeks. I found my way into their lives on a whim. I was taking a required basic computer class when our teacher told us about the campus BBS. My first thought was, “that sounds like a great way to keep up with what is going on campus.” While BBS did stand for Bulletin Board System, the computer version is way different than the one posted in the school student center. So I logged on my first time expecting to see a virtual bulletin board with events and such but what I found was chat rooms, subject boards(think early forum posts), and some files you could download. I also found many wonderful friends from that BBS – so I’m glad I was curious enough to log in and brave enough to stay logged in after realizing this was totally different than what I had expected.

Many friends I met were into computers – which make sense that you would find those interested in computers logged onto and chatting with other computer users. One person I met was a guy who was in grad school at the time and super good with computers. He already had a high tech job and had written his own BBS. It was through him that I conducted my first security test – hacking into another friend’s fake BBS account.

One friend had an alias – well he had several but he had one I really liked. Her name was Ginger and she was flirty and fabulous. Females on the BBS system were a rare thing – so chances are if you were talking to a sexy, flirty female, that was really a guy who probably had some deep-rooted issues. But back to Ginger. She was cool and fun. It was also an account he would log into a lot. So I thought it would be fun to log in – pretending to be Ginger when he was on his real account. He would have no idea who it was. at one time I knew Ginger’s password but he had changed it without telling me the new one. So my other friend helped me pull this off by cracking Ginger’s password. I remember he used some software (maybe password finder…who knows) to get into the account. The program seemed to run through many different password options and it took about 30 minutes to break in. Oh but what a feeling of accomplishment! It was a lot of fun. Some days I think if only I had been more interested in the technology behind the BBS and not just chatting for hours then I would know all this stuff I am trying to learn years later.

So to begin learning, I am reading a lot of books. Then I hope to work through the exercises and then move onto more books. Then maybe I can get some real-world experience. If only I had paid more attention back then, I could be some sort of Software Testing Superstar today.

The Neophyte Tester

One of my unspoken New Year’s resolutions was to not start any new blogs. I’m addicted to starting new blogs – sadly I’m not that committed to writing content for them. So I decided that I wanted to blog about software testing. Being a newbie I wanted a place to put my thoughts, experiences, etc – hence the reason for the new category Neophyte Tester.

Right now I am doing a lot of functional testing but hope to branch out in some direction. This I’m not sure which direction to go. I figure I will do some research and decide which area appeals to me.

Each month I also plan to read at least one book on software testing and one on development. This month I bought Beautiful Testing: Leading Professionals Reveal How They Improve Software that is so far pretty interesting. It almost seems like a book you would give someone who wants to understand testers and their role. But it is good for me since I’m so new to the testing field. I haven’t decided on which development book I want to buy although I’m leaning towards something to do with Android.

My regular job is changing. We are implementing a new software project and saying goodbye to the one in development. It’s bittersweet since I was drawn to this job for the testing aspect but also excited about being part of the implementation team for this new product that will also have plenty of testing opportunities.

My freelance job is going great. I’m getting a lot of good experience with testing and I can tell that what I’ve learned from it is helping me at my full-time job. And with my freelance job I have been making some extra money – which is awesome considering I just wanted a chance to test and not too worried about getting paid. But the pay is great and makes me think that I could do this part-time making good money.