Short summary for the restless and easily bored:
Take all courses that the Association for Software Testing (AST) are offering, they are worth every minute and cent you spend on them. Just trust me on this.
For those of you with too much time and nothing better to do:
I feel a deep respect for people who are good at what they do, and take pride in their work. Exactly what they do is irrelevant (as long as it is legal), but I enjoy watching a skilled worker do a good job. In fact, I like it just as much as I dislike watching an unskilled or uninterested person do a lousy job. Of course pride and skill go together - how can you fell pride unless you do a good job? And in order to do a good job I think two things are more important than anything else: a genuine interest and a strive to constantly progress and improve.
I am very interested in software testing, and I always want to do a good job. I take pride in what I do, and I constantly try to learn more and get better by reading, writing, listening, talking and discussing. And by taking courses.
I recently took the AST course BBST (Black-Box Software Testing) Test Design, which was the best software testing course I have ever taken. Why?
To start with I like the format of the BBST courses. Taking the courses online means I can do the work when it fits my schedule, and also when I am the most focused and effective. Furthermore, the BBST courses are very interactive, which is crucial for my (and most other people's) learning. I especially like that all courses include peer review. Having to review the work of a fellow student means that you need to know the topic well yourself and be able to go beyond reciting the lecture notes. And, you always learn something (usually a lot) by how someone else answered a question or solved an assignment.
Test Design is a topic I have given courses on myself, and care very much about. It seems that in general, focus is often on test execution, whereas test design is sometimes, unfortunately, neglected. The BBST Test Design course gives the best overview of test techniques that I have ever encountered, and a lot of concepts that used to be vague to me have now been sorted out and clearly defined. I enjoyed how the course presented a great variety of techniques, but focused on a few and really went through them in detail with hands-on exercises. The beauty of the course is that is gives a skill set that is ready to be applied immediately. I learnt practical things that I will start using right now.
I am also impressed by the course material, which is extensive, well structured and of very high quality. Knowing how much work developing a course is, I am humbled.
As with all other BBST courses I have taken, a bonus is the other students. Having so many smart, interested and enthusiastic testers with such different backgrounds to discuss testing with is a rare pleasure.
In short, I enjoyed the course and learnt a lot and I recommand that you take BBST Test Design too.