- Focusing Your Practice
- Avoiding Automated Performance
- Contributing to Open Source Projects
- Beta Testing
- Pair Testing/Programming
- Adopt "Parallel Thinking"
- Search for Bugs in the Wild
- Learn "Systems Thinking"
- Teaching and Writing
- Participating in Conferences and Workshops
- Develop Your Cognition Skills
- Finding the Time for Practice
Contributing to Open Source Projects
Contributing to an open source tool is one of the best ways to practice because it most accurately simulates a real project. By contribute, I mean that you can submit code, test code, write documentation and examples, or just be active on a mailing list and answer questions for people getting started. All of these activities will help some aspect of your testing because all of them expose you to different real problems on a software project.
Open source projects are good because you can contribute on your own time—or, if you're one of the lucky, while you're at work (a great example is the work that Atomic Object did with Systir). If you just can't seem to find the time or energy to contribute, you can also practice by downloading and using some open source tools. A good place to find tools to practice with is OpenSourceTesting.org. At the time of writing, they listed 207 tools.