Being a software tester can be a lonely position. Testers often work by themselves on a team of developers — or on a team of software testers that’s separated from the development teams. And while testing is an important part of the software development process, it also tends to get overlooked. That can result in testers not getting the support they need to learn and grow in their careers as other members of the engineering team.

But testers have found ways to carve out space for themselves together. One way is through podcasts, where hosts and guests share tips on software testing techniques, teach software quality principles and commiserate over aspects of the job together, for a listener base of other software testers.

9 Software Testing Podcasts You Should Know

  1. TestGuild Automation Testing Podcast
  2. Testers’ Island Disks
  3. The Guilty Tester
  4. Quality Coaching Roadshow
  5. The Testing Show
  6. RBCS Podcast
  7. The Ministry of Testing Podcast
  8. THAT’S A BUG!
  9. AB Testing

This collection of nine software testing podcasts showcases the best podcasts currently available. Some are focused on training and introducing the listener to different testing perspectives from experts, some are light-hearted and fun, but all of them will provide the listener with a software testing community they can rely on throughout their career.

 

Must-Listen Podcasts on Software Testing

TestGuild podcast logo
TestGuild Automation Testing

1. TestGuild Automation Testing Podcast

This long-running weekly podcast, which started in 2014 under the name Test Talks, focuses on the challenges and techniques of automating tests, which involves writing scripts to kick off test suites during designated points of the development process. The podcast is hosted by Joe Colantonio, the founder of test automation resource hub Test Guild. Colantonio pulls from his own extensive testing experience to approach topics from different angles.

Each episode has a guest and is driven by that guest’s personal experience with test automation. In a recent episode, Colantonio and his guest, engineer Evan Niedojadlo, talked about the challenges of introducing software quality processes into companies that don’t already have one in place. They discussed the steps needed to move an organization from primarily relying on manual and exploratory testing to having automated processes, and stressed the importance of starting with “business critical tests” to generate buy-in from key stakeholders.

Colantonio is good at keeping the rhythm of the conversation flowing, which puts guests at ease and gives them room to dive into thoughtful reflections about the work of test automation. Colantonio also asks a lot of great questions — not just limited to technical questions, but also about the human aspects of test automation. On the episode about software quality processes, he likely channeled many listeners when he asked, “How do you get the courage to present problems and solutions to the executive team?” For a podcast about the “hows” of test automation, it never loses sight of the “whys.”

Listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify

 

Ministry of Testing podcast logo
Testers’ Island Discs

2. Testers’ Island Discs

This lighthearted podcast, a riff on the BBC’s popular Desert Island Discs radio program, features interviews with software testers about “their careers, their passions and the music that inspires them.” Each episode presents a new guest, who picks five favorite songs that are played in snippets throughout the episode. Guests discuss the songs and their career paths in software testing with host Neil Studd, who currently works as a senior test engineer at the popular API testing platform Postman. 

There aren’t any strict qualifications for appearing as a guest on the show, so the podcast is able to feature testers across a range of backgrounds. It’s interesting to hear about how different people got their start in testing, whether something about the industry drew them in or they fell into testing. Studd keeps the mood fun and relaxed, which makes for an enjoyable listening experience.

A recent episode featured guest Sam Connelly, who discussed growing up in Tasmania, how she got into testing and the challenges of building a personal brand as a software tester. The structure of the show allows for really interesting and honest conversations to bubble up. Connelly, for instance, talked about the relentlessly high standards implied in the term “quality assurance,” the importance of using layperson’s terms when discussing bugs and missing the customer interaction component of the job as a tester. This podcast is a good one for feeling like part of a community within the software testing world.

Listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify

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The Guilty Tester podcast logo
The Guilty Tester

3. The Guilty Tester

It’s unusual to find a podcast devoted to the non-technical aspects of a technical job, but navigating those aspects of the job is just as important for successful software testers. Host Dave Duke, a tester himself, interviews guests to discuss topics like the mental health aspects of the job from different angles.

In a standout episode recorded last year, Duke discussed the worst and best aspects of the job — how testers tend to get overextended and undervalued, and sometimes entirely left out of important discussions on the product they are helping to deliver. That’s a problem because testers can help projects go smoother if they’re included in conversations early on, and also because being excluded prevents testers from learning and growing in their careers. This lack of control, coupled with the pressure of being the last line of defense in software, can become discouraging for testers.

But Duke also dwells on the positive aspects of the job, like the satisfaction of improving the quality of products and the joy of exploring a new piece of software. Software testers get to see a variety of work and find pleasure in discovering weird issues — and getting others to understand and care about those issues. Duke paints a vivid emotional picture of the work involved, both the highs and the lows, and provides an important perspective into what it’s like to be a tester. 

The only downside is that episode releases can be sporadic (the latest episode was released in February). But, hopefully, The Guilty Tester will keep churning out episodes. It’s a great listen for both testers and their coworkers, who may develop an appreciation for an important member of the software engineering team.

Listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify

 

Quality Coaching Roadshow podcast logo
Quality Coaching Roadshow

4. Quality Coaching Roadshow

This podcast, hosted by quality coach duo Anne-Marie Charrett and Margaret Dineen, focuses on quality coaches, who are consultants that help organizations implement software quality processes to ensure the quality of products. Organizational change is always tricky, so it’s helpful to have a podcast dedicated to discussions with experts who specialize in creating new processes at companies.

Charrett and Dineen often stress the importance of clearly establishing the “why” behind every process change and tying each cultural adjustment to the company’s overall vision. They emphasize the value of patience in dealing with non-testers, like developers who are themselves focused on the work of delivering the product. Changing cultures is a long process, and quality coaches have to expect to get stuck and unstuck multiple times along the way.

Although the focus of the show is on quality coaches, the hosts and guests dole out advice that can be useful for any tester working alongside others in tech. It’s never easy to convince others to adopt new processes that prioritize quality, or to get buy-in from all departments. The podcast could also be helpful for developers to hear about the challenges QA teams often deal with and how to find ways to work together and improve quality.

Listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify

 

The Testing Show podcast logo
The Testing Show

5. The Testing Show

Co-hosts Matthew Heusser and Michael Larsen, who work as software quality and automation engineers, bring a tag-team approach to this podcast, which is both informational and lighthearted. In each episode, the hosts explore a specific testing topic with a guest tester.

A recent episode on testability discussed how to differentiate between software that is easy to test and software that requires a lot of extra effort to test. The concept places more onus on developers to build testable applications, rather than solely on the tester, and is an interesting way to think about software quality. Testers often have to build tools and jump through hoops to test different parts of the codebase under specific scenarios.

The hosts shared tips on writing testable code and knowing how to spot applications that are “untestable.” They encouraged companies to make testing easier — because if it takes a long time to do, then people are just not going to do it.

Listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify

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RBCS podcast logo
RBCS

6. RBCS Podcast

Software testing consultant Rex Black has been the host of this testing podcast since 2015, when it was primarily presented in a webinar format. He often brings on guests to discuss different aspects of software testing, such as testing metrics and testing automation. Black usually shares tips for listeners throughout each episode — on how testers can learn scripting languages and practice coding to become more technical, and how developers can help make their testing colleagues’ jobs easier. 

Black draws from his own extensive experience to examine the snags that can happen during testing. He calls out common bad development practices, like handing off all the code to testers with only a couple of days left to a sprint, which leaves no time to do a thorough testing job or create a fix. That often leads to “unearthing showstopper defects right at the end of the sprint.” Instead, Black recommends developers make user stories as small as possible so testers can test small chunks of code early on.

The podcast’s One Key Idea series, which zooms into niche concepts in testing, is particularly interesting. In one episode titled “The Big Testing Challenge We Failed to Solve in the 2010s,” Black examines why the testing community was unable to achieve the testing equivalent of jet packs — that is, to fully automate the testing process. Black concluded that it may have been due to a testing skill gap with developers and shared tips on how developers can acquire more testing skills. 

Listen: Apple Podcasts, RBCS

 

Ministry of Testing podcast logo
Ministry of Testing

7. The Ministry of Testing Podcast

This podcast is run by the Ministry of Testing, a software testing community that also produces the Testers’ Island Discs podcast. Kristof van Kriekingen, a test automation and performance testing consultant based in Belgium, recently took over hosting duties in October and talks to guests about different aspects of testing. 

Episode guests aren’t limited to software testers, though — a recent episode featured Simon Knight, a product manager with a testing background who shared the aspects of his current job that still intersect with testing. Some episodes feature panels discussing a single topic in testing, like the benefits of joining a testing community, how to define the idea of software “quality,” exploratory testing, accessibility and challenges with test data.

Knight’s episode focused on the balance between test automation and manual testing — even though automation is highly prized in testing, it’s not a “silver bullet” and there are significant drawbacks to shooting for 100 percent test automation. One of the best parts of each episode is when van Kriekingen asks guests about the most interesting bug they have caught. It’s a fun segment that’s a good reminder of what can go wrong and why it’s so important to have testers.

Listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify

 

That's a Bug podcast logo
THAT’S A BUG!

8. THAT’S A BUG!

Hosts Nat Couture and Suhaim Abdussamad, who come from software engineering and software quality backgrounds, take on a unique topic in this bug-focused podcast. In each episode, the pair zoom in on a particular software bug and discuss how the bug works, how it was discovered and how software quality processes can catch similar bugs. Diving into these specific examples is a great way to think about different aspects of the software testing process.

In an episode in early 2020, the podcast covered a bug in Boeing 787 airplanes that required the planes to be turned off and on again every 51 days due to a buffer overflow problem. It’s a reminder of how software bugs can exist in any type of product. Other episodes cover features in Facebook’s login page and bugs in smartphones and video games. Episodes are short and dense, usually around 15 minutes. 

Listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify

More on Software EngineeringSoftware Developers Shouldn’t Overlook Alt Text

 

AB Testing podcast logo
AB Testing

9. AB Testing

This monthly podcast, co-hosted by software engineers Alan Page and Brent Jensen, just surpassed 150 episodes. Because of its longevity, not every episode is centered on testing — many touch on other aspects of software development like DevOps and project management. But the heart of the podcast still revolves around modern software testing: the shift away from dedicated QA teams and toward developer-owned automated testing processes.

The show’s de-emphasis of testing reflects the industry trend toward this model of modern testing. As the hosts say, “We care deeply about quality, not so much about testing.” The podcast advocates for test automation that’s tightly integrated into the software development process.

A recent episode was on using data to back up conclusions reached during testing. Page and Jensen played a game of “data/not data” — a lightning round where one person lists things to test for and the other answers with whether statistics and data should be used during testing. The episodes may run a little longer than most other podcasts on this list, hovering at around 50 minutes, but the banter and rapport between the hosts keep it fun.

Listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify

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