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Ramblings

I’m not an expert

This topic could touch on many areas. I rate myself as an excellent tester, but I’m no expert in the field (I’m not “book smart”). I used to have great domain knowledge, but lately I’ve struggled after moving project and finding myself not understanding a word of what people are talking about (not fun when people look to you for answers).

This post is on security testing. I am not an expert.

I find the field very interesting and also the more I learn, the more I know how important it is. This is why I’ve spoken about security testing at TestBash UK, along with talks, a blog post and created a card game all on threat modelling (something I enjoy, even if I’m not that great at it!).

But I’m not an expert.

I recently attended a work cyber security conference. There we had people who have years, even decades, of experience in various aspects of security. They live and breathe it. Pen testers are doing incredibly clever and technical things to get into systems that I just wouldn’t have a clue on. I am years away from their level and even with the best will in the world, I may never reach that.

But that is fine. I don’t have to be an expert.

What I have wanted to stress to people through my posts, activities and talks is that even if we’re not experts, we can find security issues. Whether this is through threat modelling, asking the right questions in planning or adding some injection test data into our usual set of inputs, if we can find these problems earlier, we can fix them earlier and ultimately build better and more secure software.

The other side of me wanting to reject the expert label is that it makes it seem like the level I’ve reached is somehow further to achieve for the average tester. That isn’t the case. I’ve just been fortunate enough to get a small amount of training, maybe a few hours a month, for a couple of years (and much of that wasn’t relevant to testing).

So I want to end by saying, please don’t view me as an expert. I’ve just dabbled a little more than most folk. Join me on this journey into becoming security newbie – it is great fun!

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