Sometimes it’s the obvious that keeps you awake at night.

I have a small baby so I am used to getting up often while I am supposed to be getting rest and most of the times I am able to get back to sleep fairly quickly.

But yesterday something kept me up.

We call ourselves testers, but what does that mean?

What is testing? Where does the word come from and how long has it been used in similar fashion? I guess you could argue that as long as man created something with an intended purpose that something could be tested against that purpose, or maybe someone was ‘testing” actual usage as a means to improve.

But when did testing as a profession start or when was it at least standardized as part of a process?

I started with an online dictionary and the word comes from the 14th century Latin word for the clay vessel that was used when metal was assayed. The meaning of the word then transferred from signifying an item to signifying a process.

Other sources pointed me to the end of the 16th century as the first time it was recorded in the sense of a “trial or examination to determine the correctness of something” The same article also mentions the first use of the word as a verb was about 50 years later in 1748.

OK, So we probably can assume that around the beginning of the 18th century testing as part of a construction process was first commonly used. Right about when the industrial revolution was starting.

This does not really surprise me. But here is an interesting quote from Wikipedia “The critical manufacturing change that marks the Industrial Revolution is the production of interchangeable parts.” Standardization. With probably following shortly after setting standards the activity to test in what way something differs or does not differ from the standard.

Next time I’ll look into when testing started as a profession.

Jan