About this time a year ago, I received notice that my contract at the time was coming to an end. Shortly after this, I received a phone call informing me that I did not get another position I had recently interviewed for. While I had the next 30 days to sweat it out over my job prospects, I was determined to be prepared for any downtime I might experience.
There’s no shortage of books to read in my professional library. There’s no shortage of videos in my “Watch Later” playlist on YouTube. My Pluralsight and Safari subscriptions could also keep me busy with online video courses and books to read. These things could all help me hone my skills, but none of them could generate income. I began looking into crowdtesting.
With all the free time I expected to have, I volunteered to do a presentation for DAQAA, the local QA user group where I serve as the Vice President and Treasurer. It gave me a deadline, and a reason to further explore some of the crowdtesting options available. In the end, I was only out of work for a week–which was barely enough time to finish my presentation.
A year later, I have yet to update my slides following my presentation, but I always intended to write about my research in general terms, before going into more details for each specific option. In an attempt to keep my personal backlog to less than 365 days, here’s a summary of my findings regarding the various tools I researched–uTest, Testlio, Ubertesters, and TestFairy, plus an additional resource I’ve discovered since, Bugfinders.
We are all testers
Whether you’re taking a new car out for a test drive, or trying something out for the first time, we all have expectations that we use to measure the real world against. If you’re making a new recipe, you may do a taste test as you’re cooking to determine if you’ve added the right amount of seasoning. If you’re warming up a bottle for your baby, you may dab a drop on your skin to make sure it isn’t too hot. Testing isn’t just something for software development.
You don’t have to be a professional tester to take advantage of some of these resources. Most of us have some sort of mobile device, loaded with more apps than you can even possibly recall. With the variety of devices, carriers, and applications available, there’s an endless combination of things to be tested.
There’s all kinds of reason to get involved in crowdtesting. Perhaps you have a full time job, but could use some supplemental income. Maybe you could use more flexibility in your job, being able to set your own schedule, work at your own pace, and work from wherever you’d like. Or maybe you’d like to gain some new experience, working on fun, new projects, for major brand name companies, learning new things. Crowdtesting could be for you.
With the proliferation of mobile devices and applications, and given the fact that you can design and manufacture a brand new device every two weeks, many companies have turned to crowdtesters to test their mobile applications from anywhere in the world.
Regardless of the tool, the process is generally the same. As part of the signup process, you identify the types of devices and operating systems you have available for testing. This helps determine your eligibility for various project invites. Most of these tools have a sort of Sandbox practice environment, which allows you to familiarize yourself with the tool, and to mimic an actual project cycle.
The level of compensation and how it’s calculated varies for each tool, but building your testing reputation and entering quality defects are the keys to getting paid. Some tools have a rating system, comparing you with other active testers. Other tools focus on the number of important defects you discover, not just the overall number submitted.
Crowdtesting tools are both a means for testers to find projects (or to match up projects with available testers), as well as a platform for companies with applications they need tested.