Don’t Break Apps: Dispel Notions

You might have heard it from a tester or two, now and again: “I get paid to break apps”. It’s cute & funny and who doesn’t love being both or either? But, it’s wrong. Unless you are writing and creating the application, you are not “breaking” it in your testing adventures.

I firmly believe in the spirit of “breaking an app”: attacking a program with tools and chaos and exploiting known vulnerabilities and the like. That’s the stuff we live on. I enjoy pummeling an app just as much as the next gal but I take issue with the cavalier notions that may come from using the term as a badge of honor. Don’t get it twisted, we’re not just breaking things. You don’t take a laptop and test it by running it through a dishwasher and drying with a ball-peen hammer. That’s not what I do.

Our role is to expose weaknesses and nonfunctioning areas that you proclaim to have broken. To surmise and posit defects and report our findings. To illuminate the value status to our team and clients. To research everything even remotely related to the program and use our imagination to put the application through the rigors of human use and programmatic abuse to highlight the areas where things just aren’t behaving as expected or where our expectations don’t fit. Our pride should come from us effectively, expediently dispelling the notion that things are working. Refuting, in learned detail, the belief the program is operating correctly and effectively. To hoist a flag when it appears as though we have “broken” the app.

I dispel notions for a living.