"Never judge a work of art by its defects." ~
My sister loves to paint since her early childhood days. In the days when we both stayed at home, whenever she painted a picture, I was usually the first critic. She used to bring the beautifully painted picture to me for my opinion.
She: How much will you give this on a scale of ten?
I: Probably six (The painting was probably worth nine).
She: I’ll beat you up!
I: Ah… then probably seven.
She: Nooooooooo… What’s wrong with it?
I: Oh…now you see, this eye is a bit smaller than that one, and again, the hands are a bit longer than they should be. This mountain is a bit too steep, the trees are too small, the windows are too high, and so on, and so forth…
She’d force me to give a nine and leave. Some time later, she came up with the quote at the top of this post. And after thinking about that line for some time, I had to agree that it was exactly what I had been doing. Since then, I have tried to change my viewpoint.
But now it’s my job. I have been made a software tester.
For those who don’t know, the formal definition of software testing is, “The process of executing a software with the intention of finding bugs.” The developer makes a program, and I have to find flaws (bugs) in it so that they can be corrected. By definition, “A successful test is one where a bug is uncovered”. A tester’s job is as important as a developer’s job, if not more. But I don’t want to do this work.
And why don’t I want to do this work? Is it because I don’t like it? Not at all! On the contrary, I don’t want to do this work because I’m afraid I might like it.
Programmers and testers are supposed to be two totally different kinds of people. The former group believes things will work as expected, the latter group believes they won’t. the former group aims at creating a system, the latter group aims at destroying it.
The former group is where I want to be, the latter group is where I have been put.
Over the last few days, my whole outlook towards things has changed. I have been looking at things to find flaws. Since yesterday three of my friends have sent me links to their blogs, and I was surprised to find that I actually mailed back a list of mistakes to them.
Imagine looking at the Mona Lisa and only seeing its imperfections. Imagine going to watch a Chaplin or Ray classic and making a list of goof-ups. At a party, when you find nothing wrong about the excellent food, imagine saying, “Another couple of days and this fish would have turned bad*.” Would you ever be able to enjoy anything in life if you started behaving like that? I wouldn’t.
As a person I’m more comfortable with creating things. I like to make things work. I want to cry out “Eureka!” when a program works, not when a program crashes. That is precisely why I don’t want to do testing (though my tester friend Bhavana keeps motivating me from
And I already see it happening. I am getting a sadistic pleasure by finding mistakes in the beautiful documents our development team has prepared. Earlier probably I would be interested to know the program design, but not anymore. I only want it to get ready so that I can break it down. I no longer appreciate the developers’ work. I only appreciate the look on their faces when I point out their mistakes to them.
Somebody take me out of here please, I’m afraid I’m starting to like my job.
* This is an old Bengali joke.