The state of being: software quality

Thinking about Quality is pervasive. It stretches outside our chosen fields and becomes something we take with us. Testing software is not a skill you turn on and off in the office. It is one that settles down inside you and changes the way you look at software all together.

Before I started working in QA, I, like many people I still know, overlooked software’s shortcomings. Alan Cooper calls these people ‘apoligists.’ If something doesn’t work correctly, or isn’t designed very well, you muddle through it and maybe feel a little dumb yourself, but thats as far as you get. But working in QA wakes up a different part- a part that questions why software should be allowed out the door in the current condition. You want to know why the bugs you find weren’t important enough to find or fix. You question the design decisions that leave menu choses buried in outdated links or take you way too many clicks to get where you want to go. Quality Assurances stretches outside of the QA field and has you interested in design and user experience, it has you pondering what areas tend to show bugs and if the software engineer may not have paid close enough attention to that particular area. You become interested in programming so that you can understand some of those engineering decisions. You sit in with project managers on client calls so you can understand what the most important features are to the customer.

In short, working in QA sets you at the convergence of some of the most fascinating parts of the software business. It encourages you to learn about all of them, take an interest in all of them and adapt your job duties interact with all of them. I have heard that QA is a so often a jumping point for other jobs. However, perhaps that is because it puts people in such an exciting position and exposes them to so many different areas of the field.

Upon leaving the rigors of daily testing- does that mindset ever leave you? Or did it weave itself through the way you look at software so much that the idea of software quality, software ease of use, settle into you for good?

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2 Responses to The state of being: software quality

  1. Great post! I never thought myself as a complete QA outside of work until I broke my leg playing roller derby & was laid up for some time. I was so bored & medicated, I was playing Farmville….and submitting bugs. Who submits bugs on a free game? I always evaluate sites I am on, or applications I use – wondering what decisions were made about the (sometimes lack of) user experience.

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