The hardest thing at the beginning of any career path is that massive void in the head and the bunch of questions – where to start, where to learn from, whether free materials will be enough, or whether paid materials will be better, or maybe some paid mentoring to guide us by the hand. Each of us had been at the beginning of the road at some point and didn't know where to start. In today's article, I'd like to introduce some places worth learning from and can help us, especially at the beginning of the QA specialist career.
As I mentioned in the previous article, the ISTQB syllabus is a collection of basic information, phrases, descriptions of activities, and concepts related to testing. The syllabus associated with the FL(Foundation Level) will suffice from the beginning. You can learn from it about existing testing types, boundary values, testing based on the software development model, principles associated with testing, and much more.
Is it worth doing the certificate related to the mentioned syllabus? People have many opinions, but for me – it is not worth it. No one is going to come out of the blue and require you to recite the definitions of the boundary values perfectly. Therefore, I believe a much better and more valuable approach is the practical application of knowledge from the syllabus.
For example, I went through several interviews for a tester position, and I don't think I answered the question about the definition of anything from the syllabus correctly once. When answering the same questions from a technical angle (how I would test something or how I would behave in a given situation), I do it without hesitation. It was mainly due to my practical experience and knowledge of the basics in practice rather than learned theory.
The syllabus materials are publicly available and free on the ISTQB website. You can also find official translations into other languages on the Internet. However, I encourage you to learn in English because of the prevailing culture of working in that language in the IT industry.
Another place worth noting is the crowdtesting platform uTest. It relies on the fact that anyone can log in there and express a desire to test various applications on their devices. Testing and finding bugs in apps can involve earning money. Depending on the project, the level of experience, the type of bug you find, and your rating on the site, you can earn more or less from finding bugs.
However, the most important thing about the uTest platform is that it has a very accessible academy for the novice tester, which is entirely free. It takes you through the basics of testing and how to navigate the platform itself. The academy also has many modules devoted to various elements, such as reporting a bug, signing up for testing, collecting logs from an application, preparing screenshots or videos of a bug properly, and much more. Each module is rounded off with a quiz to test your knowledge of the subject.
The academy culminates with several mini-projects that test the knowledge we have previously acquired in practice. In addition, by taking part in these mini-projects, you get a foretaste of what it is like to work in a live team and what communication between other testers and those responsible for the project looks like. An interesting fact about one of these academy projects is that I was highlighted in uTest's weekly report for finding and describing a rather specific bug.
While testing the filters in the app, I noticed that with the slider responsible for setting the minimum and maximum price, I could put the price on the right to be lower than the one on the left. Usually, such a slider should not allow us to do that.
3. Test IO
One of the alternatives to uTest is Test IO, and it works on the identical principle – there's something like an academy with a collection of educational materials, after which you are verified of the knowledge you have gained. Then, analogous to uTest, you receive invitations or sign up for interesting projects. As you gain experience and results, you can access more profitable projects. There are more sites with similar approaches, but I was exposed to just these two.
It may or may not be obvious to some, but on the YouTube platform, in addition to videos of adorable kittens, you will also find channels of enthusiasts in their field, including testing. Entirely for free (or for the price of displayed ads), they pass on their knowledge of the theory or practical approach to testing or how to operate the tools used in testing. I won't recommend some specific channels on YT here, but I highly encourage you to look for content on your own, whether it be the operation of a tool, a general overview of what testing is, or simply how to create a good report or test case.
A place maybe not free but with really affordable prices is the Udemy platform, where you will find courses in various fields and, of course, testing. It is worth noting here that Udemy offers discounts on many courses about twice a month. Therefore, it is worth waiting for a promotion if you are interested in a specific one.
Another thing to note about promotions on Udemy is that they can only appear when you log into your account and are not visible to people without an account. In this case, what course do I recommend from Udemy? "The Complete 2023 Software Testing Bootcamp" even though it has "bootcamp" in its name, which, as I've already mentioned, is associated with exploiting money and poor value for money. This is not the case here.
The price at the time of promotion is adequate, and the knowledge contained in the course for someone completely green is a hit. The course is frequently updated, and its creator actively answers questions. It also includes a content breakdown for beginners, intermediate, and advanced learners. The course touches on theory but also on the practice and use of tools you may encounter during your work as a tester.
6. Software Testing Help
I will recommend two sites from the places I learned from in the beginning and even still look there from time to time. The first is "Software Testing Help," which contains a really huge amount of free knowledge. Here, you will find the theory of testing explained and testing issues discussed. There is also a technical section on tool support and automation.
The second site I mentioned is "Guru 99," like on the previous site, here you will also find a massive amount of free theoretical and practical knowledge. The difference is that the site is not limited to testing knowledge only. You can find there knowledge about software development, Big Data, or AI. You can also find several projects in testing that you can sign up for.
I left something after which you will look like this Pikachu:
Maybe it is not a tool/place for someone who knows absolutely nothing about testing, but certainly someone who already knows something more or less and is still seeking knowledge. A testester's best friend in the search for answers to questions that are churning in his study or work. I'm talking about "Google," thanks to which you can find answers to virtually any questions. Of course, remember not to rely on the first page and verify the answer you are looking for from several sources.
And that's it for the sites I would suggest to someone with no testing experience. You could find other places with equally helpful and valuable knowledge for beginners, but I wanted to share the ones I have used and am confident about.