2013 – My Year in Review

So here we are a few days away from 2014.  Like most busy days and busy weeks, the year has gone by quick! It’s been a great year for me in terms of my life as a Software Tester (but then again I’m an optimist who truly believes that for it to be a great year, you have to make it a great year).  Everyday I pride myself on being a better Tester than I was the day before. At the end of the year now, I can see (and feel) the accumulation of all of those individual efforts I put forth each day throughout the year.

I started blogging late last year in December and have continued to do so throughout this year, posting at least once or twice a month.  Most if not all of my posts are based on my first person experiences.  I enjoy writing and believe I do my best writing when I’m in “the zone”.

Throughout the year (especially during the first half of the year) Michael Bolton was actually kind enough to take some of his time to help me tackle a few challenges I was having regarding testing and more specifically the challenges and battles I was going through as a context-driven tester in a traditional factory testing environment.  Somewhere throughout those conversations, Michael “introduced” me to a great Software Engineering and Testing mind in my hometown – Rob Sabourin.

I always enjoy speaking with Rob, I feel like I get something valuable out of our conversations each time. Early in the year we spoke about and then began organizing a Software Testing Peer Conference right here in our hometown of Montreal. We’ve been working together throughout the year (along with Stephanie R.) organizing the workshop which will be held in January 2014.  We have some good Testers speaking about some interesting topics on collaboration in Software Testing and I’ll also be presenting at the conference!

I worked with Matt Heuseur early in the year as a volunteer and test judge to help out with the first (to my knowledge) Online Test Competition.  It was fun collaborating with Matt and the rest of the team, seeing how they would organize what we wanted to get done and how, and then go about getting it done. I had a blast judging the teams.  The competition was held on Friday April 19th and the performance testing portion was held over that weekend where each team had a time slot reserved to do their testing. There were some awesome teams who did some really great work. I spend hours upon hours reviewing test reports, grading, and re-reviewing them and got some great ideas to improve my own work from a few of the teams.

In August I went to my first CAST! I registered to attend early in the year and it was something I looked forward to for months!  CAST2013 was awesome! I met so many interesting testers – some whom I knew and had many talks with over Twitter. With some of the testers I met it was like “hey we finally get to meet in person!”  One of the highlights for me was Paul Holland’s End to End agile Testing tutorial.  It was a fun, highly participatory tutorial that I learned a lot from. As soon as I came home from CAST I reviewed what I learned from the tutorial and started using the things I learned in my daily work. I had spoken to Paul on twitter and by email before meeting him at CAST2013, but being able to meet him, learn from him, and talk to him in his tutorial and also speak with him during the 3 days (including joking around with him) Paul is a great teacher and also one of the funniest people I’ve met!  Another highlight for me from CAST2013 is Rob introducing me to Jon Bach. The three of us had a nice chat over a meal and when Rob had to go prepare for his tutorial Jon and I continued to chat.  I enjoyed chatting with Jon, and he helped me answer a question I had regarding something I was trying to do better – but like many highly intelligent people he didn’t directly answer my question, instead he helped me think about it in a different way and helped me work my way to the answer myself.  I enjoyed every single talk I attended. I could write an entire blog post about the talks I attended, there were some great talks that I enjoyed.  I made sure so sit in the front for all of them!

Two weeks after I got back from CAST2013 I began my BBST Foundations course. Wow what a course and what an experience! I knew that I had better be prepared to spend time on the course and be 100% focused for the entire 4 weeks.  I went into the course very well mentally prepared – I was ready to sacrifice my life for those 4 weeks and made sure I learned a ton from the course (which I did) and successfully complete it (which I also did).  It was a tough, fast paced and intensive course – but it was also a challenging (which is what I wanted), fun, and rewarding course.  I met a coupe of good testers in the course who I keep in contact with via Twitter, Skype, and LinkedIn.  Erik Davis and I had been talking about taking the course together and I believe after some juggling on his side we were able too. I also appreciate the instructors and what I was able to learn from them, and also kept in touch with a few. Two weeks after the course I went on a long awaited and well deserved vacation 🙂

Towards the end of this year and most recently I started a new job – but not just any job, I am working with some great, fun, and smart context-driven Software Testers.  I look forward to working with all my new team members on our upcoming projects!

So what’s in store for 2014? Well first and foremost my new job. I will be presenting at MOIIST2014 in about 2 weeks.  I plan to register for the BBST Bug Advocacy course in 2014.  I also plan to attend CAST again this year and may even submit a proposal!  I will continue to write, read, discuss Software Testing and continue on working towards being an even better Software Tester every single day.

Before I end this post, I’d like to take an idea I got from a post Erik Davis wrote last year, to mention and thank the testers who have in some way inspired me this past year either through a talk, discussion, reading or listening to their work, working with them, training, re-tweeting my tweets & posts and even a combination of these to be a better tester.  Michael Bolton – thanks for everything, Rob Sabourin – awesome working with organizing MOIIST, Paul Holland – thanks and looking forward to talking to you again, Nancy Kelln – who has taught me a great deal during the past few weeks, and happy to say is also my new manager! Jon Bach – thanks for the chat at CAST, James Bach – who’s work I continue to learn a lot from to become a better Tester, Scott Barber – who I finally got to meet at CAST after following his work for so long, Cem KanerGerald Weinberg,  Lona Vanberg – my new teammate, Julie Hurst  – who I met at CAST and also my new teammate, Erik Davis – who I finally met at CAST, Eric Brickarp – who’s inspiring talk I attended at CAST, Keith Klain – the Skilled Testing Revolution is under way, Matt Heusser – who it was a pleasure working with, Michael D KellyMartin Hynie – who I met at CAST and had some nice conversations with, Mike Lyles, Claire Moss, Tim Voet – who continues to help me get better every year, Troy Benohanian – who I was finally able to meet up with after many years and talk testing, Benjamin Yaroch, Dawn Hayes – gave a great inspiring talk at CAST, Pete Walen, Simon Schrijver, Richard Robinson, Ben Kelly – big fan of his The Testing Dead series, Andy Glover – big fan of his cartoons, Pradeep Soundararajan, Phil Kirkham – who has the wittiest comments on twitter, Alan Page – always enjoy reading his posts, Joep Schuurkes – who inspired me to write Fighting the Good Fight), Teri Charles – thanks for the encouragement and rooting me on, JeanAnn Harrison, Anne-Marie Charrett – with whom I had a great conversation with at the airport on the way home from CAST, Markus Gartner, Geir GulbrandsenRichard Bradshaw, Stephen Blower, Michael Corum, and Griffin Jones – who introduced me to a lot of great testers at CAST.  Despite my precaution not to forget anybody, I may have forgotten a few individuals in which case I apologize but my thanks to you as well!

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