I’ve caught the ‘Generalist Tester’ disease, does that mean it’s fatal?

I sat re-reading the email from a mobile company I had applied to work for but was unsuccessful. Me being the kind of person I am asked for feedback. It went a little like this “we felt that your experience was more from an all-round perspective and for this specific role we required a dedicated tester with solid experience in only testing.”

So, I am sitting thinking if I am not a dedicated tester then I must be an all-rounder or Generalist right and what exactly does being a generalist look like? From that feedback it sounds fatal to my professional growth, or is it?

Generalist the dictionary defines it as ‘a person competent in several different fields or activities.’ Reading that I would of thought it was a good thing as just by that mare explanation is was proof I had the ability to cross-skill or up-skill but is that enough in this era?

What would the professional background look like for a GMT (General Manual Tester)? The ones I have met (including myself) came from the business side where they were SME with a desire to learn and a focus on quality. Curiosity is paramount to the personality of a GMT, so the natural progression is within a technical field like software testing. Most would of been at some point in their career a UAT testing resource which gives the GMT exposure to SDLC but more importantly the language used within the software development team. A smart GMT will notice the difference and learn tech talk so they can freely move from business to tech with the language various.

Having a business perspective will give the tester an excellent understanding of the product UI/UX functionality which in turn,  can add insight especially if your trying to create negative test plans. Focusing on delivering a high quality, high value product to the business is first and foremost in the front of a testers mind. Working closely within the team includes building trustful relationships, especially with developers and the product owner.

This is NOT what a GMT is:

  • Someone who refuses to learn anything new
  • Does not work closely with automation tester or team to ensure complete test coverage
  • No knowledge of any testing tool

How does the GMT become a precious resource within a highly functioning Agile team?

  • Research as much as possible
  • Ask questions – time box this and request it at a time when the team member is free to answer them. Remember TIME IS PRECIOUS!
  • Learn everything about the architecture of the product that is being tested
  • Infrastructure (browsers, databases, languages, etc) as these may effect the outcome of the testing
  • Be active with production errors by trying to replicate the issue in a test environment and use the Logs or System Feeds
  • Run SQL queries on the database to verify testing results

While researching this I came across another article that mentioned a technical tester should be able to install & config the system under test and run unit tests created by the devs for feedback. In the projects I have worked I have not had the authority to install my own system (even using a VM) but configuration was possible of the test environments. Run unit tests, this could be possible with my current team as everyone is generous in sharing knowledge.






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