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An Interview with Tim Koomen

  • 25/03/2010
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  • Posted by EuroSTAR

Below is an interview with Tim Koomen, prominent Dutch tester who was also the recipient of the European Testing Excellence Award in 2003

– How did you get involved with testing initially?

As many other testers, I guess: in 1992 I was a developer who was involuntarily dragged into testing, and to his own surprise found out that he actually liked the job.

– What has been the most challenging test project in your career to date?

Probably my first project, as everything was new for me. I learned something new every day I was there.

– What has been the most interesting/unique test project/activity you have been a part of? And why?

Well, that must have been writing the TMap Next book in 2006.  Time pressure, co-authors who were just as stubborn as I am,  organizational pressure to do several other things besides writing a book, parallel processing of a Dutch and English version at the same time, and in the end being proud of what we delivered, in time.

– What changes have you seen take place in testing over the past 5 – 10 years?

1) Certification of testers and testing of non-functional aspects (especially security, performance) have both definitely become big.

2) Agile is an important trend now, but 15 years ago RAD (which has many similarities with agile) was already an important trend. I’m not sure the agile trend will continue or that it is more a wave-like pattern .

3) So far, testing has kept up with every new development in IT (standard packages, web, agile, SOA, datawarehousing, you name it). In itself, that is already a big accomplishment.

– Where do you feel testing as a profession is heading for in the future?

Testing will see a lot more specialization: specialists for testing non-functionals, testers with lots of technical and development expertise, test automation specialists, testers with lots of domain and business expertise, and so on.

– When you are not working, what do you do to relax and unwind?

I love cooking (and then the eating and drinking, of course), being in nature, spotting birds and other animals (including bugs!), gardening, movies and computer games.  If I were to compare my hobbies with testing, I think I will find many similarities.

– You have attended a number of EuroSTAR conferences, which was your favorite and why?

The 2003 conference in Amsterdam was to a special highlight for me as I received the European Testing Excellence Award, something which I’m very proud of.

– Has Testing become a career choice amongst IT Graduates/Professionals?

Yes, at least in the Netherlands I have met enough testers who started their testing career straight from university or college. Although not as much as I would like, several universities and colleges spent time on teaching their students the principles of testing. Still, it will never be the most obvious choice. I’m afraid testing will remain to have a negative perception for many people.

– What specific areas of testing do you find yourself most attracted to?

Aah, too many to mention! Areas that come to my mind first are test strategies, test organisations, risk-based testing, linking risk and test coverage to choice of test design techniques, and of course test process improvement.

– Who has been the greatest influence on your career? Why?

That is without doubt Martin Pol, as he was the one who dragged me into a test project and who taught me many, many things.

– Where is your favorite holiday destination?

Everywhere, as long as it has beautiful nature and we haven’t been there before …

– If there was one piece of advice that you would give to an aspiring tester, what would it be?

If you like solving puzzles, if you like being a bit contrary, independent and critical, then testing may be just the right job for you!

– Who are your favorite band? And what is your favorite song?

U2 are probably my favorite band, The Clash – London Calling my favorite song, at this moment of writing … Ask me tomorrow and it will probably be different J

– Last question, what qualities do you feel are important in order to become a talented test professional?

Same answer as my advice to an aspiring testers, plus add a good dose of creativity.

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