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.