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admin | reflection of the past meaning | 11.02.2015
I am interested in a Testing Career – can you help me learn more about the field? In October and November 2012, I wrote a series for Testing Circus called: Do You Think I Could Be a Tester? Identify a tool or application he uses to demonstrate how to test a piece of functionality. None of these suggestions are fool-proofed and it is important to tailor the approach to the person.
In this series on career development I am providing different suggestions for how you might manage your own career progression. Provide a brief overview of learning and skills required for the employee’s present position. Provide a brief overview of learning and skills required for future opportunities (if applicable). Based upon Section I identify the learning opportunities and career building opportunities that realistically can be completed over the next six-months to a year to make progression towards the employee’s goals. Learning Opportunities can be defined as: internal training, external training, blogs, and virtual conferences. Career Building Opportunities can be defined as: opportunities to develop skills and knowledge through work assignments or other similar opportunities. In developing a career plan you have many options from creating a formal plan to using tools such as mind maps to organize the skills and knowledge you would like to develop.
Mind maps are a wonderful way to provide a graphical, visual representation of information to organize your thoughts and testing approaches. When creating a mind map, it starts from the center of the document and branches out with cascading lines forming relationships through descriptive words, symbols, and colors. To get started with creating a mind map, download a free version such as X-Mind, FreeMind, or FreePlane. Some sources indicate mind mapping techniques, using pictorial methods to document information, have been used for hundreds of years.
During the late 1960’s Tony Buzan, British psychologist, made the modern mind mapping popular through: defining a set of ten-rules, creating a name for the approach, and registering it as a trademark. Below is an example of a mind map I created to organize my research about learning more about the history of mind mapping and how I might use it in testing. For purpose of this example, I provided a few more symbols to show how you might use them to visually document information. Stay tuned as I will be adding more postings discussing mind maps providing different examples on how you might use them in your testing.
I am a researcher by heart and I wanted to share a few links on tools and research that may interest you. I am a Director of Quality Management Programs, which means I manage a Software Testing Department and company-wide quality programs.
Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Career planning goes beyond presenting a nice picture that depicts the roadmap from junior towards senior positions. A career roadmap should be designed with reference to the market benchmark so that employees see their growth and development beyond the organisation they work for. In order to translate the career roadmap for Nadia, she needs to first explore her career aspirations. Nadia has assessed her competency level against her current position and has realised that she has some development needs. Nadia has, together with her supervisor, selected a list of development activities that will certainly help her to close competency gaps now and for future positions.
Jason’s request for offering a Personalised Career Development Plan was firstly targeting on retaining and attracting people. Additionally, it does serve as employment value proposition to potential and existing employees. To accomplish this employees and supervisors need to spend some time on going through this career planning process.
Clipping is a handy way to collect and organize the most important slides from a presentation. Such as FaceBook, Twitter or anything that he is familiar with so his focus is on learning the testing piece.
In the last posting I shared how you could use a mind map to layout your vision, goals, actions, and how you might be accountable for achieving those goals. When those opportunities become available it is too late to prepare for them – you must be ready.
This should be a living plan that can change as progress is made and new opportunities arise.

In this position I will be continue to oversee the strategic direction and leadership of the Software Testing department. The below mind map is an example on how you can define your vision, goals, actions, and how you will be accountable. They can be helpful in so many ways including brainstorming sessions, laying out solutions for a problem, note taking, documenting test ideas, and defining goals. Mindmeister is another option, which is an online service with a basic free subscription allowing up to 3 free mind maps storing the data in the cloud. To learn more about Tony refer to his website which includes a MindMap to navigate through his website.
FreeMind was used for this example providing an overview of several ways to organize information. A check mark can be used to identify research that was found to be beneficial or a task that is completed. I love the testing field and implementing new programs, and I also have a passion for cooking and photography! It involves customisation of this roadmap for each individual – matching current and future foreseeable career needs with the options available within and beyond the organisation. Benchmarks such as required qualification, professional experience and years of service are to be reflected.
During the career exploration stage, questions about her personal gifts, her talents and her passion would be useful to guide her career visioning. Additionally, she went through the competency assessment for her short-term career aspiration and detected, not surprisingly, that she needs to build up some vital HR competencies. With a documented plan agreed together with the supervisor, Nadia is now motivated and can use the plan to navigate her learning and growth with the organisation; as for the supervisor, it serves as a good reference for on-going performance coaching and development dialogue to aid her growth in work and life.
However, his vision has served as a trigger to implement a wide-ranging competency-based career development process that became part of recruitment, talent development and performance management for all employees. Another situation is the type of testing he witnessed at another company – for example that company may use test cases whereas another company is using session-based testing.
If his goal is to implement company-wide solutions then a testing career might not be for him. Just be careful because if he does not understand testing then he might be overwhelmed with both what is testing and the product under test.
In the September 2013 edition of Tea-time With Testers I wrote an article called: Prepare for Promotion Now!
In addition I will oversee and implement a quality management system and participate in company-wide quality initiatives and programs.
If you want more information on mind mapping see my posting An Introduction to Mind Maps and Testing. I first learn about mind mapping and testing from Darren McMillan – click here for his website. However, developing a mind map using software allows it to become a living document where information can be added, removed, and updated. For a small monthly fee you can create more than 3 maps and collaborate with other testers. A red “X” can define articles that were not helpful and will not be used a reference tool or testing ideas that were not performed. There are a lot more symbols and approaches that can be used to create and maintain the mind map. The lack of attraction of the jobs in his organisation in the eye of the youth, especially fresh graduates, was the driver for his request. Additionally, job titles, in particular in today’s competitive environment, should be taken into consideration. Additionally, it might benefit her to analyse personal career motivators (Career Anchors by Edgar Henry Schein) and personality profiles such as DiSC because certain personality characteristics match some roles better than others. But be careful about discouraging someone because a testing career could help him for other opportunities or he might find he really loves the field. There is a risk that this could discourage him from a career he might enjoy since he will not be going through the typical training program. I was in the right place at the right time and over the years I continued my formal education while progressing my skills and knowledge.
Be sure to identify the gaps in skills and knowledge you are trying to bridge to help with knowing if you are making progress.
See my previous posting on Ideas and Approaches on Developing a Career Plan and if you review my blog you will find more postings on leadership and career development. I often start a mind map and if it gets too large I make a copy to break it out into several maps. It is wonderful for distributed teams where you can be in different timezones but yet updating the same map.

The links are usable through the actual mind map and exporting it as HTML, which presents the nodes and links in an outline format.
Take some time to explore the functionality provided by the various mind mapping software packages and how you can use it. Giving a clear career track with attractive opportunities was to help addressing this issue. Besides this, with the shift towards competency-based human resource management practices, multiple career tracks should be adopted that allow employees with different strengths to grow horizontally rather than on a single vertical career path.
Using this helpful information Nadia has specified her short-term career aspiration – usually for a timeframe of 2 to 3 years – as Manager at Human Resource. A Tester’s skills crosses so many areas such as problem solving, critical thinking, risk analysis and mitigation, report writing, troubleshooting among many others. In preparing for a future promotion you need to understand where the company is headed and continue to develop your skills to be ready for future opportunities.
When I review how my career has progressed over the years it all came together for this promotion fulfilling a new need in the organization.
As I am testing I need to know what has been tested, what larger problems remain, and what risks have not been addressed. Alan Collins, considered the Father of Modern Mapping, published extensive research on graphical thinking and learning. This is a great way to link your research within your mind map providing a central location for your information. When creating a map you could add a node as a symbol legend so readers will easily know how you are using each symbol.
Additionally, Nadia has stated her long-term career aspiration as Senior Manager at Human Resource that she would like to attain after 4 years.
Make it informal so it does not feel forced and be sure to give the person opportunities to ask questions. Remember never let the lack of a manager or mentor involvement to hinder you from developing your skills and knowledge.
You could have a second mind map or just add more nodes to your planning map to document your progress. They can be a great alternative to a written test strategy or test plan document when a lean approach is appropriate. And if you are looking for a mentor and one is not available at work or in your own social settings – tap into social media. When returning to college for my Masters in Strategic Leadership, I went to college full-time and worked full-time. For example you could add the date when you attended the Rapid Testing Intensive course by James Bach. If using a collaborate tool such as mindmeister, multiple testers can update the same mind map. It can be helpful to test a few of the free mind mapping tools to compare ease of use and supported features.
If you are building relationships through social media I am sure there are testers who will be happy to help you.
When using a desk top application, a mind map can be copied and sent to several testers so they can update it for their assigned testing. For example, X-Mind provides different templates such as: project planning and flowcharting. Over the years I continued my professional development through social networking, books, blogs, webinars, and training seminars.
Once you better understand how you will use a mind mapping tool, you can identify your requirements to review paid products.
Social networking opens up a lot of opportunities for interacting with experts throughout the world regarding different subject matters.
Plus I look for new opportunities at work to take on additional responsibility or incorporate what I am learning to how we work. I have never been concerned about working a 40-hour week as I believe we each make life choices on how we use our time. Manufacturing, Chemicals, Oil & Gas Graduation in Commerce from “University of Karachi, 6.

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