- 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
Develop Your Cognition Skills
Whenever I get the chance, I try to work on my cognitive abilities. Cognitive abilities allow us to process the sensory information we collect, giving us the ability to analyze, evaluate, retain information, recall experiences, make comparisons, and determine action. By practicing to increase your cognitive ability, you'll be better prepared for all the other tasks you perform as a tester.
In his article "Inside the Mind of an Exploratory Tester," James Bach provides a great example of a practice exercise to increase rapid cognition skills. Go to a bookstore, pick a computer book at random, flip through it in five minutes or less, close the book, and ask yourself the following questions:
- What does this technology do?
- Why would anyone care?
- How does it work?
- What's an example of it in action?
Repeat the process until you can answer the questions.
Exercises like this are excellent for increasing your ability to find and learn the information you need when faced with new problems.