In recent times, I have been doing a lot of reading about mentoring and recently came across an article on the importance of good mentors.

For the testing community, what are good resources (books, videos, articles, blog posts and presentations) for mentoring other testers? The context can vary from basics to experienced testers.

  • What do you mean by resources? Books, blogs, articles, videos? All of those? – Phil Kirkham Apr 2 '13 at 11:53
  • Thanks Phil - I've edited to include your suggestion on resources. – aftershock9 Apr 2 '13 at 12:49

I'd second Phil's plug for the Software Testing Club website, and encourage you to seek out the mentoring group on there (although it does appear to be pretty quiet at the moment - perhaps it might be prodded back to life? I recommend it because that's how I ended up receiving some absolutely invaluable mentoring from Michael Bolton. (Who is, incidentally, an awesome mentor).

I would suggest it's worth considering what you want to know about mentoring. Mentoring relationships can be formal (arranged via a formal mentoring scheme, with training for mentors and mentees, a set timescale and goals for the relationship and formal support), or informal. They can be driven by the individual (I went looking for my own mentors), or be part of an organisation's training and development approach.

You might be looking for more information as a mentee - how do I find a mentor? How do I figure out if they're a good mentor? Should I be looking for someone with specific experience in my industry sector? How do I figure out what I want to learn from a mentor? Or you might be looking for more information on how to mentor someone - how do I find mentees? What sort of help and advice should I be offering a mentee? When does it cross the line into "doing their homework" for them? How can I get better at mentoring?

If you're looking at those sorts of general questions, then there's no need to stick strictly to testing websites for help - check out the Mentoring and Befriending Organisation. (Note: I'm not a member - which is free - but I participated in a mentoring scheme organised by a professional association which based their excellent training materials on resources provided by the Mentoring and Befriending Organisation.)

If you're looking more specifically for examples of mentoring in the software testing field, then I'd suggest checking out SummerQAmp - who are being supported with training materials by the Association for Software Testing. If that sounds interesting, check out Michael Larsen's blogpost asking for contributors.

Finally, I'll finish up by saying mentoring is NOT just training by another name. It's definitely not about providing someone with all the answers - or even with the questions. I like the definition the Mentoring and Befriending Organisation use on their website:

A voluntary, mutually beneficial and purposeful relationship in which an individual gives time to support another to enable them to make changes in their life

I'd definitely say that applies to the mentoring I've received through my career. (One mentor I only had one meeting with, but the question he asked me then led to me changing company about 6 months later.)


Shameless plug for The Software Testing Club website - has good list of tester blog feeds to read, discussion area to start discussions and join in with. Trying to answer questions and help is a great way of finding out what you really know. ( same principle for this site and SQAForums )

Are paid courses possible ? If so the AST courses are good for beginners and experienced

And agree with the answer that says local meetup groups, if there isn't one in your area, start one. Mixing with other testers, doing talks is a great way of learning


Here are some blogs I've found very useful for learning about Selenium (and testing practices by association):

As for books:

There are also a number of conferences that are extremely useful for testing in general:

If you live in a populous city, there are numerous meetups, where you can find people who are willing to mentor other testers. Monthly meetups are a great way to get acquainted with other testers in your local community:

I would also suggest the #selenium channel on IRC Freenode.

  • 1
    Dan, this would be a better answer IMHO if you didn't start with all the tech references. They're good references, but they have nothing to do with the question (how to mentor people, specifically testers) so I nearly skipped your answer. – testerab Apr 2 '13 at 20:42

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