Whether you choose your testing career by chance or by choice, you should always want to excel in your career. If you decide to become a great tester like well-known testers all over the world, you will find the following suggestions from one of the most influential software testing experts in the world, James Bach.


If you are a newbie, start by building for yourself a strong foundation in testing with following recommendations quoted from James Bach’ writings and talks.

Learn vast of knowledge. “Read the materials and blogsJames Bach – www.satisfice.com, Michael Bolton – www.developsense.com/

Read as many books as you can. Here is James Bach’s suggested list.

  • Lessons Learned in Software Testing” or “Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar”, by James Bach
  • Introduction to General Systems Thinking, by Gerald M. Weinberg
  •  Quality Software Management, Vol. 1: Systems Thinking, by Gerald M. Weinberg
  • Tacit and Explicit Knowledge, by Harry Collins
  • The Black Swan, by Nassim Taleb
  • Testing Computer Software, by Cem Kaner, remains a good classic testing book

From my experience, I would suggest you read “Testing Computer Software” and “Lessons learned in software testing” first.

Should combine and apply scripted, exploratory testing with manual and automated testing in the right way and don’t adore any kind of testing or refuse others. James suggested that There is no such thing as an exploratory or scripted tester. All good testing is exploratory to some degree and scripted to some degree. and There is no such thing as manual or automated testing. It’s all just testing”.

Learn the programming language. “We should also learn the programming language used by the programmer in the company we work for the right… If you want to get good at using tools while testing, try learning Python… A tester of any kind can contribute early in a development process, and become better able to test, by pairing with a programmer regardless of his own ability to code.

Practice gaining hands-on experience.  “Participate in sessions conducted by www.weekendtesting.comPractice testing things that aren’t secret, and then post your test results online so that others can see them

Don’t concentrate much on certificates. James said that “Don’t get certified. There are no respectable commercial testing certifications. If you are forced to get certified for some reason, do not take it seriously. It’s not an achievement, it’s just a conveyor belt that extracts your money and gives you nothing you couldn’t get for the price of a Google search. True certification remains this: the respect of respectable people”.

Learn how to ask questionsIn the discussion of this topic, there is an interesting link to guide “How to Ask Questions the Smart Way

You can read more suggestions from James Bach here.


If you an experienced tester, the following advice from James is what you may want to know.

Testing is not better than the communication of the results. Read more at “Explain testing every day and question something about how you work every day.

Read everything by Jerry Weinberg. What would you want to read to nurture your career? The answer is that you should read everything by Jerry Weinberg. Similarly, when asking James a question “What are the best career advancement steps for someone who is a junior to intermediate QA professional?” he said that “If you want your career to move into management, read everything by Jerry Weinberg. If you want to be the best tester in the world, read everything by Jerry Weinberg.  If you want to do what I do, read Weinberg.  Read Weinberg if you want to be a programmer, too.”

Understand seven kinds of testers. To advance your career and manage your testing team members more effectively, James recommended that you understand seven kinds of testers. These are patterns or groups of heuristics proposed by James. However, if you want to become a full-stack tester like the word “full-stack developer” in development, you should have the insight into the strengths and weaknesses of these kinds of testers. And you should try your best to pull out some strengths from these and turn them into your skills.

Join a community. He said that “Get on Twitter and watch the conversations among the Context-Driven community. Participate in those discussions.” In Vietnam, you can join some testing communities out there such as Testing VNAsk Tester, and so forth.

Own your career growth and make you unique. In the talk “Buccaneer-Tester: Winning Your Reputation”, James Bach said that “Find the mix of interests and talents that make you have what no one else has. Take stock of this and find a story that makes you important and special.

To wrap up, I collect and present here some advice from James Bach that is relevant to me as a tester. Many more of his writings can be found on his blog. If you have any ideas you would like to share with the testing community, I would love to hear from you. Please leave your thoughts on the comment.

[Orginially posted here: https://dzone.com/articles/the-utmost-question-how-to-become-a-great-tester]

Thao Vo

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