(This Blog was contributed by Phil Kirkham. He is going to become a frequent contributor to the STP Community Blog. If you are interested please contact me at Rhand@softwaretestpro.com.)
The fact that you are reading this is already setting you apart from the testers who are unaware - or don't care - about the great resources the Internet can offer a tester
What can the internet do for you? Here are five things that I've found invaluable.
The other day I read a tweet from a tester who was booking a car through one of the major car rental agencies. He chose the 'plain text' option for email responses and the emails he received had bugs in them. You might not have a system that offers this option - but it acts as a reminder to test that configuration options are tested end-to-end.
Searching Twitter for the hashtag #BugMagnet can bring many more examples of testers encountering defects - which in turn provide test ideas for your testing so that your application does not suffer A Tweet Of Shame
There are plenty of testers reviewing books and suggesting books to get. These can be directly related to testing (for example Tap into Mobile App Testing) or can indirectly be a good source of inspiration for a tester. I'm currently making my way through Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and it's really making me think about my biases and how my thinking process could catch me out when I'm testing
There are many 'lone gun' testers out there - the Internet gives them a chance to feel part of a community. Or you might not be a solo tester but you have a problem that you'd like help with.There are places to have general testing discussions or if you have a specific problem there are places to post your problem and get advice and answers.
If you want to test your testing knowledge then trying to answer a question is a great way of finding out if you really know a subject and can explain it to someone.
Learning new tech
Two years ago I was standing at the peak of the Rock of Gibraltar, looking out over the Mediterranean with a troop of Barbary Apes. I was there for a job interview after I read a tweet from a test manager looking for testers who wanted to work in the sun. I didn't accept the job offer I got after the interview as I also had an offer to go and interview at Atomic Object ( www.atomicobject.com ) in Grand Rapids, Michigan - this opportunity also came via the internet and seeing an opportunity listed on a s/w testing mailing list.
How are you making the most of the Internet?