Testers Knowledge Accommulation & Tracking
We are putting too little effort in knowing what knowledge we have, and what knowledge we should have in the future to cope with emerging technologies.
As systems get more complex, and we are facing systems of systems, and as the knowledge we are required to know is growing (demand of the companies as a direct demand from the systems), we are about to witness a knowledge crises with testers if we do not respond. The future tester, as I wrote in one of my presentations to a European conference, is going to be more multidisciplinary, and know more of different topics (i.e. project management, product management, risk management, system architecture and design, etc'). So in order to be that person, we should educate ourselves, and be prepared.
Having said that, you have many courses existing today on all areas. It is a matter of budget and priorities for the the manager where to send his/her team to.
I use a simple matrix to track the knowledge of my team of testers, and it helps me also know where I have an "exposure" or a risk in the future test design, infrastructure administration or anything else I choose to track and direct the training and education efforts to - attached image.
The matrix helps me to identify the testers who learn faster, the testers that have little knowledge about something, and the exposure I have in dealing with complex test design and execution. It brings out the best out of people that can learn individually, and let them have further topics of knowledge to study on. They have to present what they do once in a while, and that brings more responsibility into their work, and of course satisfaction.
I can also identify problems using the matrix: personal gaps of knowledge (i.e. Ruth is no expert in any topic), and project gaps of abilities (i.e. no one has done test design more than once on Appl#2).
Professional knowledge is power, and we testers should realize that lack of that knowledge is our failure to face the future of our profession.