Beware Software Testers! Is your profession taking over your personal life?

I am a Software Tester and unlike many other testers, it was my own decision to start my career as a tester. By saying this, I want to clarify that:

1. I was not a programmer, who had to start a career in testing due to poor programming skills OR conflicts with a project leader/manager!

2. I was not a sub-standard student, who was too much afraid to step into programming. So the dream of a Software Engineer’s job lead him to start a career as a tester instead (which is WRONGLY considered as a job with less responsibility and a job that doesn’t require much skills/intelligence/competency).

3. I was not a Call Center/BPO employee, who, after spending a couple of years in BPO wanted a better and attractive job. And testing was the easiest (!) way to enter the alluring IT world.

4. I was not a fresher trainee, whose Manager could not find a better role to assign him and as a result the poor chap was thrown at the testing team.

[NOTE: You pick 100 Indian testers randomly and I am not sure if I would be surprised if 70%-80% out of them fall into either of the above 4 categories!]

I was none of the above categories and still I started a career as a Software Tester. It was not that I was left without a choice. I had other career options too; but still I chose software testing as my career because I had always wanted to be a tester. I have seen many strange faces, after they come to know that I had chosen to take up testing as a career in spite of my bright (!) academic career. I wish they could only realize the amount of satisfaction and pleasure that I find from testing!

I have always taken pride in calling myself as a Passionate Software Tester (Self-Certified). I don’t know, how far I do justice to the "tester" inside me, while making such claim! But recently, I have started to realize that testing has started affecting my personal life too! Which, I suppose, is NOT a good thing in other’s opinion. At times, I tend to perform actions, which might have been considered “great work” in a testing environment but it hurts people in my personal/day-to-day life! I will try to list out a couple of such incidents where I think my “personal being” was taken over by the “tester” inside me!

1. Recently, I had a chance to visit my family after a long time. One day, I was talking with my mom and she commented: “Since you have started a career in testing, you have become more complaining in nature. These days, you find more faults in my cooking too. You were NOT so complaining in your childhood days”. I was shocked at this discovery! I had never wanted to hurt her feelings by pointing out the possible shortcomings (like extra pinch of salt, excess use of oil etc) in her dishes. But the “stupid tester” inside me had done the damage already. However, I was glad that my mom could link this to my testing job and gave me a chance to ponder over it. Thanks mom! For pointing out yet another “possible” mistake in me!

2. It was Chennai, and I was standing in a queue outside a bank ATM. It was a typical hot and humid Chennai summer day. So the people standing outside in the long queue were getting impatient with the passing of every second. Thanks to the bank authority, who are least bothered to install another ATM machine, although it is located at a busy area and where it is hard to make a transaction, without having to stand in a really long queue.

Anyway, after a long 30-35 minutes wait and after 10-12 people, finally it was my turn to use the ATM. I entered the ATM booth with a million dollar winning smile on face. I was searching for the right card in my purse, when I came across an expired ATM card (of the same bank)! Suddenly, a wicked smile flashed over my face. The “tester” inside me was prepared with yet another mischief (it could have been a brilliant test idea and was worth a pat on the shoulder from the test manager, in my opinion). I inserted the expired card into the machine. And shockingly enough (!) it asked me for my PIN. I entered my old PIN (which I was using for the expired card) and bang! The ATM machine’s display screen flashed with a blue screen without any text/instruction! And it started beeping continuously (as it does if someone forgets his card inside the machine). I tried with “Cancel” button. It ejected the card but kept on beeping. After that, it never came back to normal state to accept a new card. All further attempts to insert a valid card were in vain. By this time the crowd waiting outside in the queue were getting restless and a couple of them started enquiring the matter. The tester inside me was jubilant at the success of breaking down the ATM machine. But the feeling of disgust seen in the fellow users (waiting behind me) of the ATM, made me aware of the seriousness of the matter. And before it was too late, I had to leave the ATM in a hurry!

There are more such stories where I behaved in a way that might have been considered as excellent work, had I have done them in my work place. But they were causes of embarrassments for others, as they never
expected such actions from me!

But anyway, I enjoy being so and I think I will keep doing such things (“weird” in the eyes of others AND “good testing” work in my eyes) in future. What do you think? I am wondering if anyone of you also might have experienced such things. When the “tester” inside you had overpowered your "personal being”! When you could not resist yourself from doing things that are considered weird and un-natural! I would certainly like to hear your stories. Do share your experience(s) by leaving behind your comment.

Happy Testing…
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About Debasis Pradhan

Debasis has over a decade worth of exclusive experience in the field of Software Quality Assurance, Software Development and Testing. He writes here to share some of his interesting experiences with fellow testers.


  1. I like the ATM episode :)Regarding a profession in Software testing. I have seen very few testers who like polishing their skills. That makes the job boring and make them whine about it.

  2. Hi Debasis,
    This is a very good post,enjoyed a lot reading it.I have even faced such real time live scenarios.
    Happy Testing.
    Pavan Turlapati

  3. I have tried to adopt a rule I learned from James Bach: "No testing at home." However, I often realize that I've been critical after I've opened my mouth. So, I am working on the next best thing to "no testing at home": no bug reporting at home. If I fail to resist the urge to test, I can at least keep the test results to myself. :)

    Ben Simo

  4. @ Ben,

    "No Testing at Home", although sounds good enough, it might be hard to follow for a tester like me! So I think I will try to adapt your method ("No Bug reporting at Home") instead! That way, I can ensure that I don't make someone unhappy/irritated by telling him/her my test result. :) Thanks for letting me know your testing approach for personal life. Happy Testing...


  5. Hi Debasis !!

    I would like to tell you something!!

    I completed my M.Sc., Microbiology and worked in a reputed pharma company for 8 months. I was forced to resign that job and forced to enter this field.

    Now, I am a beginner to this field and working as a Jr.Software test engineer since 20 days.

    While reading this article, i found surprised to be one of your 4 listings....

    I don't know how to be a tester...what is testing....but after reading your article i was very much impressed and now i am very happy and proud to be a tester....

    Now, I would like to continue my career as a tester........

    Thanks a lot Debasis....

  6. @NSMV,

    Firstly, I would like to welcome you to the World of Testing! Being a beginner to a field is not a sin! Everybody starts a career as a beginner. That is a universal truth. It becomes a sin if someone shows little interest to move ahead and remain at the level of a beginner even after spending whole lot of time in a career. You sound like an enthusiastic tester to me, who seems to be quite passionate about the craft (S/W Testing). I wish you all the luck and glory in this field.

    I am glad that you found my writing convincing and motivating enough to continue your career as a tester.

    You have made me feel proud of myself, by feeling proud of being yourself a tester, after reading me. This is my biggest reward. Thanks.

    Continue visiting my blog from time to time and I promise, you will not be disappointed! Happy Testing...

    [A little request - Why don't you leave your name along with your abbreviation (NSMV), the next time you leave a comment? That way I can connect with you in a better way! To me, complete names still seem to be easier to connect with than the short abbreviations.]


  7. Hi Debasis!!

    I didn't expect reply from you.

    I am very happy to have a strong support.

    Thanks for giving me reply and encouraging me.

    I will be in touch with you.

    [My name is too long to remember. So please remember me as Lakshmi]

  8. @NSMV (Lakshmi),

    Did you use the phrase "didn't expect"? As you have decided to take software testing as a career, let me warn you that you should better stop using such phrases (and more importantly drop such mentality)! As a tester, you should be prepared to expect anything and everything! How can we narrow down our thoughts and ideas by not expecting something?

    Once some great thinker had said - "Expect the Unexpected"! In my limited knowledge in testing, I can fairly say that, this paraphrase best applies to testers! Here is an article that I had written few months back on the similar lines. Hope you will find it interesting, though the attached video demonstration no longer works! I will try to replace the broken video with a working one as soon as I find one.

    When you said that you didn't expect a reply from me, actually unknowingly you hurt me badly. I try to reply all those readers who try to communicate with me via emails, Orkut scraps and whatnots... How could I ignore a comment made by a reader on my much beloved blog? I am leaving this reply to let my other readers know that I really care for their feedbacks (both good and bad, positive and negative, as long as they are NOT targeted personally). In case, some other reader is reading this comment who always wanted to communicate with me but never did so since (s)he didn't expect a reply from me, I would urge you to throw away your inhibitions and start commenting.

    Lakshmi, I always try to help testers who seem to be serious and passionate about testing. And at first glance, you looked like one! Feel free to contact me regarding anything related to S/W Testing and S/W Quality in future. At least I will reply back saying - "I don't know the answer to your question" if I really don't know it. Happy Testing...


  9. Debasis i should tell a truth now...more than the post u have witten i just was taken away by the explanation u have given to lakshmi..


  10. Debasis acually to say i had the same feeling that lakshmi stopped leaving a single comment.but after i got a reply i thought i should comment on each post i read this is true i am recollecting your posts and comment(reading it the 2 nd time) just to say thanks once again!!


  11. Hello Debasis,

    I am very much impressive from your blogs. I am the only software tester in an organization. I already posted comment via your contact me form but did not get reply yet. I want to know about Test Plan and How to follow Testing Procedure In an organization Testing is done manual. I also want to know how I should prepare my interview. Please advice and guide me. Also I want to know your Orkut Profie.


  12. @ Preeti,

    Reply sent via email. Please check your inbox!

  13. He Debasis,

    Thanks for your reply. I am very much fond of your blogs.
    Reason behind it that your blogs are based on reality, real experiences (this is the main reason that every one wants to read your blogs) and not have so many pages, very knowledgeable, valuable, every thing is well planned....

    Preeti Sharma

    Keep that spirit!

    Happy Testing

  14. Hi Deasis,
    I have noticed that your site has copyrights for 2008. I think It should be Changed.



  15. Debasis,

    There is problem occurred sometime for posting comments for you blogs.
    Please consider it.


  16. @ Preeti,

    Thanks for reminding me about the Copyright Notice that was left unupdated! I have made the necessary changes. And regarding the error that you encounter while commenting on the blog, would you mind leaving a detailed error report on the same? That would help me narrow down the defect and could help me fix it. Try to make the report as detailed as possible (platform, browser type and version, screen resolution, any other parameters etc.). Thanks for alerting me about it. Happy Testing...

  17. Hello Debasis,

    I did not have IE8; im posting this from IE8 browser on Windows 7.

  18. @ Hisham,

    Thanks for testing the "Operation Aborted" bug in IE for me. Actually, IE 8 has a fix for it. The error happens in IE 7 or earlier versions.

  19. Hi Debasis,

    I am currently working in an Healtcare domain, can u please give me some tips how to find more defects in the product.

  20. Hi debasish. After 4 yrs of development I want to shift to Testing. It is may be due to any one of the reasons mentioned above. please suggest is it right step to take? I want to be a good tester.

    my id:

  21. Hi ... I am new in software testing career so i was wondering here and there to find some stuff and I got your blog... I really enjoyed this...


  22. Thanks for posting a very sweet article. So much needed data i'll get and keep in my file.Thank u so much.

  23. Software testing is identify ,rectify, isolating the defect and deliver a quality product to the client.

  24. Hi Debasis,

    I want to work as a tester, for now being a fresher they have tagged me as a developer but yet not started working on projects, so i have convinced my manager to put me in testing, Is it a good idea ?


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