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6 new books every software testing engineer should read

Meaghan Lewis Quality Engineer, Github

Testing is continuously evolving, which means that there are constantly new trends, tools, and practices to keep up with. I'm always on the lookout for good and idea-provoking testing books and have read many of the latest titles.

Here are my top picks for books every tester should add to their reading list. All of these books were published within the last two years.

A Practical Guide to Testing in DevOps

Katrina Clokie's A Practical Guide to Testing in DevOps outlines testing in a DevOps culture and how you can apply those testing practices throughout development and production. Clokie has some great strategies for testing practices and exercises throughout the book that you can apply at different points of your software delivery lifecycle.

The book provides real-world case studies so that you can see how to put the ideas presented into practice with your own development teams.

Humans vs Computers

Gojko Adzic co-wrote one of my favorite testing books, 50 Quick Ideas to Improve Your Tests, so I couldn't wait to read Humans vs Computers, which describes how computers are running the world.

With computers and software so prevalent, sometimes you have to step back and remember that they were created by humans, and that humans are prone to making mistakes that affect users.

Adzic takes you inside the mind of software developers to raise awareness of the mistakes they are most likely to make. The examples show the pain users can experience fighting with computers, and you will certainly feel a lot of empathy for them. 

Humans vs Computers shows developers how to avoid their most common errors, and helps them to better understand the user's perspective. Adzic presents some great ideas here, with humorous examples as illustrations. This book will make you reevaluate your approach as a tester.

The Way of the Web Tester

You might remember Jonathan Rasmusson for his book, The Agile Samurai several years ago. His third book, The Way of the Web Tester, won't disappoint.

The Way of the Web Tester covers test automation basics, but it's not just for beginners. Everyone on your software delivery team will get something from this book. Testers will discover fresh ideas about how to approach automation, and developers will gain insight into how to strengthen their testing practices.

At a high level, The Way of the Web Tester presents tells you how to choose what to automate, how to write good automated web tests, and how to coordinate and share testing efforts across your team.

Part one starts out with the test pyramid, which introduces the different levels of tests in detail, as well as when and where to use them. Part two delves into more advanced topics, such as best practices for writing and organizing tests, and insights into principles such as test-driven development and mocking.

The content, graphics, testing horror stories, and tutorials grabbed my your attention, and will get you thinking about how to do more effective testing.

Test Automation in the Real World

In Test Automation in the Real World: Practical Lessons for Automated Testing, Greg Paskal covers everyday situations to shed light on how different companies implement automation. He also shows you ways to avoid automation pitfalls.

Paskal acknowledges that while automation has many benefits, it can easily fail over time for a variety of reasons. He stresses the importance of building a good foundation for automation from the start, and offers best practices to maintain a robust automation suite. Drawing on lessons learned throughout his career, Paskal gives advice on how to equip yourself for success with test automation.

Best of all, you can apply the lessons learned in these pages to any test automation tool, technology, or team.

Dear Evil Tester

Alan Richardson author of the EvilTester.com blog, so it's no wonder he's penned a book called Dear Evil Tester. Richardson prompts readers to think about testing from a different perspective, and he has some advice for you that probably won't hear anywhere else.

Dear Evil Tester tackles the subject in three parts.

The first contains the published letters and answers from the Dear Evil Tester blog. He started the column so people could ask questions such as "Should I just pretend to test?", "How do you deal with a developer with an attitude?", and "Can anyone test?" (By the way, you can still submit your questions to the Evil Tester.)

The second part contains practical advice based on unpublished questions from the Evil Tester column. The advice is a bit edgy at times, but is extremely useful for test engineers who want to make a big change in their testing practices.

Part three consists of essays that summarize the attitudes and responses to the letters sent to the Evil Tester. Richardson's Evil Tester persona, it seems, wants to encourage readers to unleash the evil tester within.

The Digital Quality Handbook

In Eran Kinsbruner's The Digital Quality Handbook: Guide for Achieving Continuous Quality in a DevOps Reality, the term "digital" refers to content that's available to users on the web. Web and mobile technologies continue to evolve, which means delivery teams must evolve as well.

Kinsbruner offers encouragement to those struggling to keep up with trends and practices in the development, testing, and releasing applications, and he serves up examples of real-life scenarios where teams overcame challenges to grow and thrive in the digital age. 

The book is divided into four sections. The first is all about how to get started with mobile testing. The second addresses advanced automation techniques. The third covers testing in DevOps, and the fourth tackles production and performance testing in the digital era. Kinsbruner encourages readers to pick the section of the book that resonates with them most and read that section first.

What have you been reading?

These are my picks for the best recent books on software testing. What are yours?  I look forward to reading your comments about these titles and others you've read. And if there are other testing books you recommend, feel free to leave a comment below to share.

Meaghan Lewis works as a quality engineer at GitHub.  She's going to be a roundtable expert at the 2018 Automation Guild conference, which is an online test automation conference that runs January 8–10, 2018. Go see her at the discussion!

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