Software quality and testing: Resources for beginners

A while ago I answered the following question on’s Ask The Software Quality Expert: Questions & Answers.

My question is regarding education and training to develop a career in software quality and testing.

I have done some (very) minor testing on the V&V team for a client company where I was working as a tech support contractor. When I got a sampling of what QA was like, specifically testing, I was hooked.

What resources, short of investing thousands of dollars in school, can a junior SW tester use to garner some knowledge so that doors in the field are opened? I think a career in quality and testing would be great, and my particular interest resides in automation of testing process. I've done some scripting and coding, but would not consider myself a full-blown programmer.

Any advice on where to begin? And once having started down the path, what are the best options for continuing and furthering education and training?

Here is a clip from my answer:

Finally, and most importantly, find the time to practice. Each time you practice testing, you should be interested in doing some specific thing better. By improving one specific technique at a time, you gradually improve your overall ability over time. If you keep reading his tutorial on Self Education for Testers, James Bach offers more suggestions on ways to practice and techniques for rapid learning. You can also take a look at an article I wrote on practicing software testing where I recommended several ways to log some time honing your testing skills.

Longer term investments would include picking up a couple of books including Lessons Learned in Software Testing , any of the books from the How to Break Software series. Currently, I really like the Stealing the Network series for its ability to show actual problem-solving examples. I also recommend you keep working on your scripting and coding skills. This will help you not only in understanding the technology behind what you're testing, but it will be essential for effective automation and will allow you to branch into performance testing later in your career.

You can find the full posting here.