What is a beta tester? First of all, beta software is ‘test’ software that a software manufacturer offers to those who are interested in trying its latest wares. The software may then be offered for testing to either the public, as in Symantec’s latest offering for testers, about which I have already posted in a past issue – see link here or by invitation. Once you have signed up and have been accepted, you then become a ‘beta tester.’
You will then be sent a link by the software manufacturer that normally will have an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) for you to accept, which requires that you may not disclose certain aspects of the program, and also a link to download the software for testing.
So what is then required of the tester?
1. Naturally the software manufacturer would like for you to install its test software on your computer system. Warning! If possible, I would recommend that you use a computer that you normally would not use in your daily activities or rely on for business purposes.
2. You will then provide what the software manufacturers calls ‘bug reports.’ This is where some testers fail. ‘Bug reports’ should be concise and of value to those who have written the program. To submit a ‘bug report’ such as ‘it didn’t work’ offers very little value. Be concise with your report so that the software folks can duplicate the problem and try and fix it before the final release.
3. Be an active tester. Use the beta software as much as possible. Look for updates and patches that may be offered during the testing period. Also some software companies may offer testing forums in which you can participate in feedback.
By sending in good ‘bug reports’ and becoming active in the company’s software testing forums, you will increase your chances of being invited again to test other beta software.
What’s in it for you? Sometimes nothing is offered except the satisfaction in knowing you helped in creating a better software product. Sometimes the software manufacturers may offer free software to those testers who have provided useful and helpful feedback.
Enjoy, and happy computing!
[tags]beta, software, testing, invitation, required, useful, helpful, qa[/tags]