What to Learn

Inspired by Danny Dainton’s recent post about focusing his learning on a particular area, I have decided to do something similar.  I too have a concentration problem.  I love learning things and I get excited when I hear a new ideas and before I know it I have 5 different things I’m trying to learn at the same time and I end up having a very shallow understanding of any of them.  It’s kind of like that last sentence – I’m all into and.  I want to learn this, and this, and this and this.  That approach might work well when your starting out on learning something new and you need a quick survey of the topics there are to learn, but if I want to really become a testing craftsman, I need to be able to focus my learning and go deep on some things.

So I’ve decided to do something similar to what Danny is doing, and have focused time spent on learning new topics and skills that will help me be a better tester.  I’m not necessarily going to do a month per topic, but I am going to have a current focus on the go with some goals around it.  Once I meet those goals or I feel I have exhausted the topic or I don’t think that going deeper is going to add any more benefits, I’ll move on to the next topic.

I’m hoping this will give me discipline in my learning and help me to actually focus in on a topic until I have a reasonable mastery of it. I’m also hoping that this will help get rid of some of FOMO.  By knowing I will get to a particular topic in its due time, I can be free from the fear of missing out on some important thing that I think I need to know.  I can bookmark things for later and feel confident that I will get to them as part of my ‘learning plan.’

So no more shotgun learning.  It’s time to be a sharpshooter.

My first topic was inspired by a talk that Karen Johnson gave at the KWSQA conference here in Waterloo, Canada (You can view a recording of the talk here).  At one point in her talk she spoke about using visual thinking to help with problem solving.  I’m not very good at drawing, but I think it would be very helpful for me to be able to think and communicate more visually so my first project is going to be around learning to draw/doodle and how to use that skill effectively as a tester. We will see how it goes. 🙂


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