There are a lot of stories out there from testers who compare their hobby to testing, and what they learned from their hobby about testing. Today I want to tell you what I learned about testing from driving and repairing my small RC-model car: Nothing! Absolutely nothing!
The message might irritate you, but I can tell you why. When I am driving my RC-car I have fun watching a 30cm (1 foot) plastic car making about 50+ km/h (30+ mp/h) and making squeeking turns on asphalt. If something breaks, I have to repair it. Since I don’t have a 3D printer or a CNC lathe and mill, I have to simply buy the spare parts and exchange them, when they break. I don’t want to tune or pimp my RC-car. I maintain it as good as I can, I recharge my LiPo-batteries, and I have fun driving the little thing. It’s a few minutes every few weeks, that I pull that thing out, and do something with it. And I don’t think about testing in that time. It’s called relaxing.
Testing is a discipline, that is using so many skills, way more than anyone can ever conquer. Just look at some of the skills inventories that contributors to the testing world have published.
Skills range from technical skills and knowledge, thinking skills, scientific methods, technical knowledge, coding, communication, organization, and many more. So whatever you do outside of work in your spare time or as volunteer that needs one of the skills that is on the list for testing, you practice a skill that you could also use at your work place. Which is good.
But there is also another important part: Relax! If everything around you that’s going on reminds you of testing, then you can never relax. And you and your brain need time-outs from work to relax and recover. Otherwise you will quickly hit the symptoms list for burnout and other severe physical and psychological problems.
My message for you today is: Relax, stop thinking about testing on a regular basis, don’t think about work. Enjoy life, meet friends and family, do nothing, or buy an RC-model and go out there and have 20 minutes of fun every now and then.