Thoughts in your head are different when spoken out loud.
During the class (and exercises) I was thinking of many good ideas. And when speaking them out loud – I struggled to get the message across. Not because of the language or something like that – but because I had not thought them through.
This gave me excellent opportunity to (wrongly) feel good about myself whenever anyone said anything along the lines I had thought – making me feel that I had thought of the same thing but in a bit different wording.
Don’t try to be smart. You most probably are, relax and be yourself.
Try to overcome the tension of needing to get the best answer with the first try. You will only confuse yourself and then fail to get the best answer. Relax, be yourself, if you are smart as you think you are – you’ll get it right.
Knowledge degenerates. Experience stays.
You know you can never forget how to ride a bike, right ? It’s the same thing. Knowing the skills needed for testing is not enough. You have to use them during testing, train yourself to use them and sooner you can say ‘abrakadabra’ – you are forever stuck with them.
In the words of Yogi Berra – “In theory, theory and practice are the same, in practice they are not.”
You must always consider the context, there are no perfect solutions. Everything you do in one project must be revised in the context of the next project. (And you can exchange ‘project’ with any of the following : ‘task’ , ‘challenge’, ‘product’ ,’version’ ,’environment’, etc.
Broaden your literature, who knows where you might pick up a good idea.
Different people have different ideas, right ? Quite often an outsider can give you the best idea for finding a bug (or solving a problem). If you lack access to broad range of other people to bother with your problems then you should consider reading stuff. There are countless number of books, articles, journals out there.
Reputation can be build (and lost) anywhere.
James talked a lot about building reputation, mostly in context of software communities. But more importantly, in my mind, you can build (or lose) the reputation in your company. And I don’t mean only getting a rise (which is good), but also more people would like to work with you. They’ll be more inclined to listen to you, help you and do things your way. (And your boss will stop demanding that you write 200 test cases each week.)