The overall quality should always have the highest priority on every software product. This is especially the case for mobile products, since mobile customers have much higher expectations of the software running on their personal devices. To keep up with the constantly changing mobile world, especially software testers must improve their testing skills constantly to not lose the race.
1. Be Part of Testing Communities
One of the best ways to stay up to date with the latest trends and new technology on the rise is to be actively part of testing and development communities. A very vital, active and healthy testing community every tester should be part of is the Ministry of Testing Community. The main communication channel of this community is slack where testers from around the world share their knowledge not only about mobile testing but also about other fields of interest.
Next to the online community, there are plenty of software testing conferences, where you can learn from other testers while listening to their talks or to attend the hands-on workshops. During such sessions, lots of knowledge is usually transferred and gives you the possibility to talk to the speakers afterwards.
2. Invest in Learning
Being part of a testing community or attending a conference might not be enough to stay up to date. There are formal training courses available on the market, such as BBST, ISTQB and others. In these courses, every software tester can learn more about different testing techniques. However, these trainings can be expensive and might not cover the needs of mobile testers. There are alternatives ways, so called mnemonics, to learn about mobile testing and to remember the techniques. The two most known mobile testing heuristics are I SLICED UP FUN from Jonathan Kohl and MOBILE APP TESTING from Daniel Knott. Both mnemonics are great to learn new mobile testing techniques and provide an easy way to keep them in mind.
Next to trainings, courses, mnemonics I highly recommend to read testing related blogs online. There are many great bloggers out there sharing their knowledge for free. A list of great bloggers can be found here.
3. Practice Testing
Taking formal training and reading about mobile testing is one part of becoming better. However, the best and most effective way to learn new techniques about mobile testing is to practice mobile testing on real devices. For this case, I recommend installing and using many different apps on a mobile device. While using the apps, look at the UI if it changes in different usage scenarios. See, if an app behaves differently on different mobile network speeds, just to name two possible areas where bugs can happen.
Furthermore, I also recommend switching off the automatic app update on the phone. Before updating apps to the latest version, read through the release notes and see if the development team provides any information about bug fixes. When such information is present, try to reproduce the bug inside the app and take notes about the steps and try to understand the underlying problem (if possible). This exercise will help you to generate new testing ideas and learn from mistakes others have done.
4. Build Your Own Testing Network
As described earlier, being part of online and offline communities is essential to learn. While attending online and offline testing events, every tester should start building her/his very own personal testing network. Don’t be shy, if you see a person standing alone at a conference step out of your comfort zone and start a conversation. You might be surprised how easy it is to talk to other people and to build up personal connections and a whole network of testers.
The earlier mentioned slack channel of Ministry of Testing is a good starting point to get in contact with testers. Furthermore, I recommend following different hashtags on twitter, such as #MobileTesting or #SoftwareTesting to follow people talking about the topics. Last but not least, there are other social networks out there, where you can get in contact with software testers, too.
5. Make Use Of Community Powered Tools
Mobile app testing requires lots of hands-on testing activities. However, there are activities that can and should be automated to not repeat the steps before each release. Therefore, it is essential for mobile testers to know different mobile testing tools available on the market. Newer versions of a tool might provide new possibilities to automate more and to help the whole software development team to focus on the tough challenges rather than spending too much time on repetitive tasks. In the past years, many open source software testing frameworks have established on the market. Over time they got improved by individual developers or companies creating a community around the tools, which make them more robust, powerful to use and help other teams to develop and test better product with a higher quality.
Community powered mobile testing tools to look at are:
Improving your own software testing skills as a mobile tester is essential these days. However, as you have just read in this article it is not only to learn about new tools or techniques but also to be part of the testing community to exchange on your existing knowledge with others and learn new things to extend your own tool box.