Monthly Archives: December 2018

Communicating, speaking and debating

It is nearly the end of the year and I’ve been looking back at how I’ve changed, what I’ve learnt and what I’ve achieved. I think this year has been the most important one yet for my career.

This is the year that I started talking more. I began posting on LinkedIn about software testing, I started writing blog posts and articles for external sites, and I created my own personal blog (although I haven’t written many blog posts here yet).

This all started when I gave a lightning talk at the Spring 2018 OnlineTestConf in June on Women in Testing. My submission was very last minute as I was a little apprehensive about giving a talk to so many people, even if it was only 5 minutes. Fortunately I decided to give it a go. I enjoyed the experience so much that it prompted me to apply to more conferences. One conference submission got accepted for the Fall 2018 OnlineTestConf. I gave a 45 minute talk on automated testing, and another lightning talk.

The confidence I gained from giving these talks has helped improve as a software tester, and boosted my confidence. I started posting on LinkedIn more, and commenting on other peoples posts. At work, we were asked to write articles for the company blog in order to promote a product launch. I eagerly volunteered, something I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to do previously.

I am always grateful when people respond to my posts. I don’t care if the respondent shares my point of view. The very fact that they have taken the time to respond means that they have taken the time to read what I have to say. If they agree with me, then the acknowledgment of my opinion gives me the confidence to share my ideas more. If they disagree with me, then I am prompted to rethink my opinions. From this my ideas develop further, and sometimes change completely.

The real benefit of this increase in online activity is that I feel more able to speak out more and my skills as a software tester have improved. I have developed both professionally and personally.

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Online Test Conf – my first conference talk

The day finally came! On 27th November, I gave my talk at the Online Test Conf and what an experience it was. I will not deny that I was nervous, which is to be expected. Not only did I give the 45 minute talk on automated testing, I was also selected to give another lightning talk.

What I really love about the online test conf is the slack channels that are set up for each talk (including the lightning talks). This helps make the conference a lot more interactive. Live conferences can be a lot more engaging, but there isn’t always an opportunity to ask questions and discuss the topic with the speaker once the talk and conference has ended. There will be 5 – 10 minutes for Q&A, but your question may not always be asked. With the slack channel, everyone can ask a question, and there is plenty of time for the speaker to answer. I was chatting to people and answering questions for over an hour after my talk had ended. 

I’m very pleased with how my main talk went. The feedback on the slack channel was very positive. A couple of weeks ago I did a run through of my talk to some colleagues at work. It took 30 minutes exactly. On this occasion, my talk went a little longer meaning I had to rush through the last couple of slides. There was only a few minutes for Q&A.

I wasn’t as happy with how the Q&A went, I got a little confused while answering one of the questions because it contradicted what I thought I’d said during the talk. I expect I didn’t say it right, or the person misheard me. When I listen to the recording, I plan to answer the questions again to give better answers. 

Despite this little setback, I feel the talk was a success. My ideas of test automation, and the message I was trying to communicate seemed to have been well received and understood. I wanted to demonstrate that there doesn’t always need to be hundreds or thousands of automated test cases. Sometimes a few well designed automates tests can be just as effective.  Several people asked if I was able to share the presentation slides. They really agreed with my message and wanted to also demonstrate this to their colleagues. 

My lightning talk also went well.  I didn’t expect it to be selected as I’d already spoken. My talk was titled “if a tree falls in the forest…” after the famous philosophical riddle. In it I discussed the impact of bugs that are found too late in the software development life cycle. I found I didn’t need the full 5 minutes as I felt I was able to explain my idea in just 3. 

I reworded the original riddle to the following: “If a bug exists in the software, and there is no software tester to find it, does it make a sound?”

I took the new riddle and made it into a linked in post. There have been some interesting responses. I also took the transcript and make it into a linkedin article.  The recordings of both my talks will be posted as soon as they become available.