Great question, and welcome to the world of software testing! I'm excited to see another person take an interest in testing – it can be an interesting, rewarding career.
As far as training and documentation go, there is so much available on the Internet! Some places to look:
- www.kaner.com Cem Kaner is a recognized leader in the software testing field. He's been actively in test leadership and testing instruction for a long time (in fact, he wrote the book on testing AND presented training to me when I was starting my career over fourteen years ago). His web site has links to numerous presentations, publications, and books. You can't go wrong with Kaner's instructions.
- Kem Caner co-founded the Association for Software Testing (AST) (http://training.associationforsoftwaretesting.org/) which offers a number of online and classroom-based courses.
- There are a number of for-profit and non-profit organizations (such as AST, IIST and others) dedicated to training and certification in software testing. A Bing search for "software testing training" will return a wealth of links you can peruse at your leisure.
- This site, http://www.searchsoftwarequality.com offers many tips, articles, and webinars on software testing. In fact, on September 22 we will be conducting an extended virtual seminar on software development, at which I'll be presenting training on "Keeping Quality in Agile". You found the site, keep checking back for more training opportunities.
In addition to the online and book training options, you will want first-hand experience. Nothing can replace experience – no classroom training, book reading or certification processing can replace actually testing software. There are a few crowd-source test agencies (http://www.utest.com being the first to mind for me) which allow you to register as a tester and to actually test software. You can apply the book and classroom knowledge in a real-world setting and, at times, receive payment for defects you find!
Finally, I cannot advise you strongly enough to find yourself a mentor. Wherever your hometown is, look around and find an experienced software tester who would be willing to mentor you. This first-hand knowledge transfer is incredibly valuable and can often turn into a professional reference when you start looking for a position in software testing.
An often overlooked source of training and experience is contract work in the software testing field. All over the world, staffing agencies specialize in finding staff for testing related projects. Quite often the staffing agency or even the hiring customer will provide training in key testing activities such as using a defect tracking system, and finding and posting defects. Many of the best testers in the field got their start as contract staff for short-term projects, where they gained skills, contacts, and professional references which led to their first full-time roles.
This was first published in September 2009