Recently, I began blogging over at Techwell with my Active Lifestyle resolution. As a follow up, I am writing a guest series there.
As I have mentioned before, I was a Girl Scout for a while when I was growing up and loved the exposure to new and different things that I wouldn’t have occasion to try in my everyday life as well as the structure around life skills that would later be essential to self-sufficiency. For me, there’s nothing new around the recent enthusiasm to game aspects of our day-to-day lives and, as I’ve blogged before, having structure around learning helps me to progress.
As a grown woman, I again found an interest in earning badges when a former-Girl Scout friend of mine mentioned Lauren Grandcolas’ book You Can Do It!: The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls to me. It’s full of experiments modeled in the style of Girl Scout badges and reduces the potential intimidation of attempting new skill acquisition.
One day, after I had seen a 3D-printed octocat at the Atlanta Mini-Maker Faire at Georgia Tech, I was searching for octocat images online and I discovered the Nerd Merit Badges that reference Github, the movie Office Space, and the book The Pragmatic Programmer among other wonderful and obscure aspects of geekery. These inspired me to apply the badge concept to software testing. After all, developers shouldn’t have all the nerdy fun, though I’m pretty sure I’ve already earned my Family Tech Support and Homonyms badges… (For my word nerds, contrast with homophone here.)
Allow me to preface this experiment by recognizing the interval of time a Girl Scout takes to earn a badge is not a month. Girls fulfill these requirements over time, probably interspersing activities from several badges over the course of many months. I recognize that neither you nor I will necessarily complete all the requirements for each month’s Tester Merit Badge and that’s fine. Checking everything off the list is not the point. We’re here to learn and step outside our comfort zones, so start where you’re comfortable and stretch yourself a bit!
For the inaugural Tester Merit Badge, I have designed the Explorer badge as an introduction to exploratory testing. I am modeling it after the requirements of the Girl Scouts of America’s Finding Your Way badge.
Girl Scout of America badge: Finding Your Way
- Know Your Maps. Be able to explain 3 diff. types of maps.
- North, South, East, West. Show you know how to use a compass.
- How Long and How Far. Use map to determine time to specific place.
- Walk the Distance. Estimate time to walk distance and try it.
- Map Maker. Draw map of a route with a legend or key.
- Map of the Place. Draw map to scale of a specific place.
- Make a Model. Make 3 dimensional model.
- Finding Your Way Without Map or Compass. Use sun, stars and nature.
- Trail Signs Traffic. Use trail signs to set up a mini-trail for others to follow.
- Bus and Train Maps. Learn to use bus or train maps. Try your route.
See the first Testing Merit Badge on the Techwell blog!
Tim Western said:
That’s an interesting thought. As an Eagle Scout myself, I’ve often thought about ways I could bring testing like challenges to the boys as a way to get them to expand their way of thinking. (BTW the captcha box is a bit buggy. 1 + two… well it could be a number, or a string right?) I’d be interested to see what a tester merit badge might include. That’s an interesting thought.
I hope to hear back from the Techwell editor soon-ish. If not, then I’ll just impatient and post it here… Soon!
Yeah, I laugh at the Captcha box myself but haven’t sought out a better one.
Michael Larsen said:
I *LOVE* this, and I’m jealous that *I* didn’t do it first (LOL!).
It never ceases to amaze me how inspired the Scouting programs are and how they can help foster learning and growth in fun and interesting ways, even in some rather challenging areas. I still hope that I might be able to help develop the equivalent of “Wood Badge” for testers and test team leaders.
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