Start With What You Know

The blank screen stared back at me.  Blank screen are intimidating. Where do you start?  What do you do first?  What if you go the wrong way? Sometimes getting started is the hardest part.

I recently moved out of desktop testing to testing websites. I needed some automation, but – I’ll be honest – I had no idea where to start.  I’d heard of things like selenium and webdriver and many tool vendors, but which tools were going to do what I needed? I was only just started to get a good feeling for how the product itself worked, how was I supposed to pick a tool to use?

Learn to do by doing and start with what you know.  Sometimes simple proverbs can give you the answers.

I know python quite well so I started there. Sure enough, there are some great easy to use libraries that let me run selenium and webdriver. Are these going to be what I use in the long run?  I don’t know. But I do know that I have been learning a ton as I’ve started to ramp up on the python libraries for selenium. I’ve been learning a lot about Selenium, but I have also been learning a lot about how webpages work and how the DOM gets populated and how iFrames work and about javascript and html elements, and the list goes on and on.

If I had tried to make a plan for all the things I needed to learn, I would have missed so much.  By starting with the little that I did know and finding something that intersected with it, I was able to start creating a test. As I did that I ran into issues and started learning about the things I needed to know in order to solve those issues.

Do you remember playing Age of Empires?


You would start out with most of the screen dark and only one little spot of light and as you explored the game more and more would be come light.  This is where I am.  A little spot of light and a whole huge map to explore. There is only one way to find out what is on the map.

Time to explore!




  1. One Man says:

    Great post, I also have been given the task of automating some tests I create. The first thing I automated was the one I dreaded the most when testing and just worked out the rest from there


    1. offbeattesting says:

      That’s a good strategy too 🙂


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