It’s a bit ironic that I’ve become friends with a fellow tester only when she was about to leave the company. We still get to have dinner occasionally and I get to find out about the training and learning activities her new company offers. For instance, she’s got some training lined up on Perl. They also have book reviews with the costs for the books and for reading them shouldered by their company. I think the last book they’ve read was on scrum which I find interesting since I would like to have some experience with Agile methodologies. Their upcoming book for review is on Agile testing, which made me blurt out, “by Lisa Crispin?” and just left me with my mouth agape. Lucky lucky lucky!
As for where I work, well, the last official training I received was way back in 2007. It wasn’t even testing-related. It was an upgrade training on CMMI version 1.2. Some books on software development and testing were purchased last year (or was it the year before). We don’t have time allowances for reading them though. You can, but it would just have to be on your own time. That’s fine, but only if the workload and schedules given to you afford for you to have your own time.
Anyway, the lack of training offered isn’t — and shouldn’t be — an excuse for turning stale. It sucks if you aren’t provided training to keep you up-to-date. But it will still be your fault if you let that stop you from picking up new things altogether. With social media on the rise, one can turn to blogs and testing networks for materials. Web sites covering Agile methodologies, offering programming lessons, giving testing tips also abound. Online shopping has also made it possible to buy books from overseas, but it’s just too heavy on the wallet.
Unavoidably, there are things that impede or limit us — financial constraints, lack of time, no internet at work, lack of available training (although this one’s expected to change soon), etc. But what is important is that we don’t limit ourselves. We can learn if we want to. We can train ourselves. We can seek mentorship outside the confines of our workplace. The potential to grow is there.
Quite aptly, I received a text message from my friend: Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.