Tester Remains On-Stage; Enter Beauty, Stage Right

Are you skeptical yet? If you are, I can’t say I blame you. To many people, the word “testing” brings up images of drop-dead simple pointing and clicking, or following a boring script written by someone else. They think it’s a simple job, best done by simple people who, well…at least you don’t have to pay them much. I think there’s something wrong with that.

Again, the above isn’t critical investigation; it’s checking. And checking certainly isn’t beautiful, by any stretch of the word. And beauty is important.

Let me explain.

In my formative years as a developer, I found that I had a conflict with my peers and superiors about the way we developed software. Sometimes I attributed this to growing up in the east coast versus the midwest, and sometimes to the fact that my degree was not in computer science but mathematics.[75] So, being young and insecure, I went back to school at night and earned a Master’s degree in computer information systems to “catch up,” but still I had these cultural arguments about how to develop software. I wanted simple projects, whereas my teammates wanted projects done “right” or “extensible” or “complete.”

Then one day I realized: they had never been taught about beauty, nor that beauty was inherently good. Although I had missed a class or two in my concentration in computer science, they also missed something I had learned in mathematics: an appreciation of aesthetics. Some time later I read Things a Computer ...

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