How to win a Testathon — Experience Report

No matter how many good articles we read on - “how testers can contribute in a hackathon”, we observe that a very few of us end up appearing in any hackathon (internal or external). Pick any hackathon, among many reasons for not attending, the most common one is — we don’t see any reward for our skills in which we really stand-out at i.e. evaluating and finding the most hidden bugs. As hackathons are centred to hack the best idea in a time bound environment hence finding bugs is generally out of scope.

So, we testers quite often think — along with the daily work, what exciting things can we do to keep ourselves motivated? Though I have many good answers to this question, however for this blog, let’s discover one of the best — participating in a “Testathon”!

One fine day, one of my teammate shared a registration announcement for Testathon. The name itself struck a chord, though I had been fortunate to collaborate in hackathons and win too, Testathon sounded new to explore.

Testathon is similar to a hackathon, focused for testers.

What is it & who hosts it?: Testathon is similar to a hackathon, for testers, it is made possible by a group of volunteers who are passionate about Software Testing.

Kick Start: There is an invitation criteria (will talk about it later), of all the registrations across the country, only 50 gets them. All of us registered and waited at the edge of the seat for the invite with fingers crossed 🤞

Voila!, some of us got the invites to join the final 50! 💃

Time to brace yourself: The event was held on 2nd & 3rd of Feb, 2019 at Bangalore conducted by Global App Testing and Facebook.

At the event, we tested a series of amazing apps (most yet to be launched in market) along with the best testers across the country, all of us were competing to win and at the same time keenly observing, pairing up with best minds out there, strategising to do our bests to uncover as many bugs as possible, and trying to add value to the product, in a tightly time boxed session.

There can be multiple sessions and you are free to choose app/team to work with. With each team, you get a coach who helps you throughout. We were lucky to get awesome coaches who were very supportive that they were even getting the blocker bugs fixed immediately to help us uncover more bugs in the next step.

First day, we returned with 3 awards. Second day, more of my teammates returned with even more awards in the categories of:

- Best Bug
- Best Bug Reporting * 2
- Best Most Devices * 2

And of-course one look at the tempting prizes Tab, Alexa and many more. It was like a Deepawali out there & time to celebrate :)

Some won prizes, some won hearts, but all of us had some memorable moments & certainly had fun. It was an excellent opportunity to be part of the network with other like minded testers and learning more.

Everyone involved in this amazing event, the volunteers, coaches, and specially the host were energetic and supportive from the word go. To add more fun, we got to dance. That whoa! feeling when your host from overseas, pronounces your traditional dance damn well — bhangra (can you imagine?) and make you dance like crazy :) Hats Off to Vernan Richards

तैयारी जीत की (Tips to win)

System planning

  1. Pay attention to the registration form and invite mail. Keep respective device(s), apps, services ready with you.
  2. Have a diverse set of device/browser versions and screen sizes. Older the device higher probability for finding unique bugs.
  3. Keep your sample reporting template ready to be used.
  4. Ensure your phones are fully charged. Carry Power Banks/chargers and multiple USB cables.
  5. Checkout the sponsors section, probably testing one of their apps is the clue.
  6. Keep tools ready to transfer the supported media easily to your laptop (most time gets consumed here)
  7. Have internet data as backup. The venue may have limited connectivity due to number of people attending and also acts as an alternative in case of network choke up

Fundamental planning
Being an excellent exploratory tester, you will be naturally equipped with your favourite tools to give you speed, Eg:

  1. Learn to use network sniffing/altering tools: Fiddler/Charles proxy, Beeceptor, Postman interceptor, Burp suite to find good bugs with actionable stacktrace. The more you find security/privacy breach bugs, better the chances of winning.
  2. Learn to check logs on specific devices. Trick: find out command-line for specific OS or some devices themselves have record option to be enabled, which you can email. Can subscribe for next blog on this topic.
  3. Tools to quickly take screenshots, video, intercept networks calls and check logs. Eg. Mobizen
  4. For web products these can be useful:
    — Knowing to work with devTools/inspector is the best.
    — Plugins to try different set of test data. Eg. BugMagnet
    — Quickly understand/hack with web-elements using Chropath

The Day Of Battle:

  1. Reach early, get to know others, that will help to team up in particular sessions. (There is a best team award too) and briefing plays a vital role in your entire day there.
  2. Be an effective communicator make sure that you are testing within the scope. It’s time bound, and the time flies.
  3. As soon as you find a bug or 2, try reporting. Trying to map the screenshots/videos to the bugs at the end may not leave you much time (the automated timed bug reporting system won’t accept your entry later).
  4. Overall personality of being self organised and context based decision making, dynamic to change the plan will help.

Most importantly: More than winning, the takeaway would be — learning new ways/ideas, getting to know other exciting people, how they work, and enjoying at the same time. So yes! just enjoy and rock your Testathon. May the force be the with you 👍

Closing Notes
For us, returning home with exploring new, meeting more folks of your wavelength & also people who give you new perspective to look everything, able to make an impact is rewarding and winning was also one of them. And we had to say Goodbye to Testathon but just till the next time.

Source credits for many of the mentioned tips: Prashant Hegde
To get the invite: official page

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