When embedding into a team as the test specialist you want to be able to become a trusted adviser. We want the developers to trust that we’re capable of engaging with them and working together to solve problems.

One of the ways that I’ve found really helps to engage with the rest of the team is learning how to use their language. Currently I’ve been learning how to “be dangerous” by learning lots of small technical topics at a high level, this gives me a shared understanding and technical language to use when discussing things with my teams.

Danger is my middle name

Being dangerous means having enough knowledge of technical concepts to be able to engage in a discussion about them. It’s a high level “oh this is what this means, well how about these tests?” rather than knowing everything about the topic; I know that a lot of testers can be put off by things being scarily technical but we’re not trying to be developers, we’re just trying to talk with them!

Pictured: Technical Concepts that seem super spooky but are fine when you get to know them.

One trick I’ve discussed with one of my testing colleagues is about picking up code reviews. Rather than say “that’s too technical” and not engage, ask the developer to go through it with you and say “oh I’m not so good at reading <language>”. Since loads of developers don’t know every language, you’re engaging with their empathy and building rapport through a similar way of describing things.

So give it a try, start to be dangerous by using their language.