QW2001 Tutorial F2

Dr. Cem Kaner
(Florida Institute of Technology)

Teaching Testing: A Skills-Based Approach

Key Points

Presentation Abstract

Training software testers involves teaching culture, vocabulary, concepts and skills. I think that many of the commercial seminars (and certification review courses) teach vocabulary and many concepts quite well. Some of them address cultural issues. Fewer address skills, but skills development is essential for new testers.

I've been training testers for 18 years, sometimes personally coaching them, sometimes teaching a pretty successful commercial seminar, and now teaching undergraduate and graduate students. Over the past year, I've rethought my approach to teaching.

When I studied mathematics, we learned a lot of conceptual material, but we also did a lot of drill--exercise upon exercise--from the course text and from exercise books like the Schaum's Outlines. These exercises forced the student to learn how to work with the concepts, and how to apply them under a wide range of circumstances.

Working primarily with James Bach, James Whittaker and Alan Jorgensen, I've been trying to develop a list of specific skills that testers use in the normal course of their work, and then develop exercises that will practice them in those skills. I have several such exercises now and am developing more as I go.

This session will go through practice exercises in bug reporting, domain testing, combination testing (all pairs), specification analysis for ambiguity, specification analysis for holes, and possibly some other areas. The more time we have, the more techniques we look at. In this session, I'll share course notes, quizzes, exam questions, and explain how I use them.

About the Author

Cem Kaner is Professor of Computer Sciences at the Florida Institute of Technology.

Prior to joining Florida Tech, Kaner worked in Silicon Valley for 17 years, doing and managing programming, user interface design, testing, and user documentation. He is the senior author (with Jack Falk and Hung Quoc Nguyen) of TESTING COMPUTER SOFTWARE (2nd Edition) and (with David Pels) of BAD SOFTWARE: WHAT TO DO WHEN SOFTWARE FAILS.

Through his consulting firm, KANER.COM, he teaches courses on black box software testing and consults to software publishers on software testing, documentation, and development management. Kaner is also the co-founder and co-host of the Los Altos Workshop on Software Testing, the Software Test Managers' RoundTable, the Workshop on Heuristic & Exploratory Techniques, and the Florida Workshops on Model-Based Testing.

Kaner is also attorney whose practice is focused on the law of software quality. He is active (as an advocate for customers, authors, and small development shops) in several legislative drafting efforts involving software licensing, software quality regulation, and electronic commerce. Kaner holds a B.A. in Arts & Sciences (Math, Philosophy), a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology (Human Perception & Performance: Psychophysics), and a J.D. (law degree). He is Certified in Quality Engineering by the American Society for Quality.