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What does it take to be a software testing mentor?

How do you handle young testers in your organization? Use your experience and flexibility to help grow a new generation of testers who can roll with the changes.

An experienced software tester has much to teach junior colleagues as a software testing mentor. But remember that...

the field is changing rapidly. First, encourage junior testers to be continuous learners. The best testers challenge themselves constantly, whether it be by learning the user domain better, taking courses to expand their horizons or connecting with thought leaders in the field. A tester can't be "heads-down" on the current project and expect to have a long and thriving career.

And testers have to stay on top of changes, both within the field and within their company.  Pay attention to where the business is going and become involved in adding value to the business.  As a software testing mentor, there will be more to your job than just testing.  Know the bigger picture, and make sure junior testers do too.

Even if you're not a vocal personality, remember that the best leadership is by example.  Set a great example for them on a day-to-day basis.  If you're not already doing so, engage with the leading testers and thought leaders in the field; they are very accessible, especially through Twitter.  Second, champion the career development of your junior testers.  If there is training or a conference that you think will help them, encourage your management to allocate training dollars to send them.

Last, be transparent.  If you are a manager or lead, you need to communicate what you know to them.  As a software testing mentor, you need to share your experiences and share whatever information may be made available to you by your management.  This accomplishes a couple of things.  First, it makes you credible to them.  Second, it fosters a sense of shared teamwork; everyone wants to know that what they are doing is important.

And it also gives them something to look forward to in their career, to expand their portfolio and get further involved in different types of testing, as well as the company goals.  You are establishing continuity for your company as well as building your reputation.

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What are your strategies for mentoring testers on your team?
There's a very particular challenge: lack of interest from management and from the testers as well.
Management is not sure how to "bill" in-house training (because it's not project-related) and not sure what you can teach.
Testers are not keen to dedicate their personal time, even if it's not an overtime.
Once, introducing internal testing competitions helped to ignite the interest. Once, sending a few testers to a conference like CAST helps them rediscover the passion.
And if the management is not supportive then, probably, testers should look for motivation and learning opportunities outside of the company. Check out local professional communities and meet ups.
Motivation, Organization, and Creative ideas are the three key factors.
"Junior" testers (regardless of age) are typically keen to learn and like to ask questions. It's not as much motivation as de-motivation should be taken care of.
Organizing small but daily learning opportunities helps greatly. I, for example, used remaining time of daily update meeting to have interesting group discussions, sharing ideas and lessons. When engaged, people also may go beyond the work hours. With the same group, I set up a Trello boards where I posted cards with interesting learning topics, and assigned cards to the members with some challenges - it was fun, competitive, and worked pretty well.

On the other hand, lack of support within the organization should not be the blocker. For example, at Toronto Testing Meetup we run live and online events open for everyone to practice and learn.