Friday, September 11, 2009

Autodidact

"I'm an autodidact. I share the insecurities of all autodidacts, that maybe we missed something along the way. Maybe I'm doing it wrong. Maybe if I had some sort of plan instead of a cloud of vague notions. I wait for one of the ideas to coalesce into an idea-shaped particle, and then I sit down and start writing. "

I got this out of a Jon Carroll column. It really hit home. After all, in testing I'm an autodidact, too. Sure, I went to college, and sure I got a degree, but nothing there taught me testing. I've been to some conferences, and taken a few classes, and I read a fair amount, but for the most part, what I learned I've learned on my own.

I'm missing something.

But you know what? Even if I had gone to school for testing, and been trained in testing by someone who knew a lot about the field, I would still be missing something.

I would be missing all the times I'd read an article on some testing technique and said to myself, "hey, that would be really cool if I used it for this totally different thing". (For example, I read an article about a guy who was using the VMWare CLI to start and stop machines for installer testing, and I said, "hey, I could use that to dynamically configure machines in a Selenium Grid").

I would be missing all the times I'd screwed up a test and discovered that actually I'd been testing something completely different - and that was useful information.

I'd be missing all the times I stumbled across a tool I'd never heard of and made it do something with help from Google and from friends.

So yeah, I'm an autodidact. I'm learn a heck of a lot from myself and from all the information I seek out by myself. I suspect most of us do, and I think a lot of us doe a pretty darn good job with it.

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