Thursday 27 May 2010

London Tester Gathering write ups

My thanks to Phil Kirkham for his London Tester Gathering write ups.
Welcome to my new blog. My old posts are still at Have you ever danced with the tester by the pale moon light?

My EuroSTAR 2010 Test Lab Apprentice Application.

I've moved my blog and I thought I'd start this with my EuroSTAR 2010 Test Lab Apprentice Application.

Let me know your thoughts!

I've removed my partners stuffs as I haven't checked with her yet whether she'd be OK with me posting it.

…a little about your software testing career to date, along with examples of some projects you have worked on:

I started my testing career with E&Y taking a secondment to assist with a O/S upgrade.

I enjoyed it and wanted to learn and do more, but the more I read up the more I realised that they weren't doing what I wanted to do. I wanted to test systems, websites, software. I didn't want to just check that MS Office installed correctly and the company templates were available. I wanted to test.

I wanted to work with people who knew more than me, had more experience than me so that I could learn and continue to develop. I moved on to a few different roles but have now found that contracting is a great way to continue learning and developing. I've meet a lot of interesting people and found that it takes all kinds to develop software, I don't always agree with them but I'm more than happy to work with them.

I've worked in large organisations, a small start up, a charity and in media. I've worked in teams and as the sole tester.

In the past I've worked on software for schools, project management software for a charity, unified communications software and I'm currently working on websites and associated technology. The majority of my career to date has been without automation however I'm lucky enough to be on a contract which is a good mix of ET and automation. I get to play with tools like Selenium and SoapUI and as well as work on my ET skills. I get to work with and learn from experienced people. I also get to share my experience and knowledge. I've paired up with both testers and developers and have found it a great way to observe the brain in action.

Why would you like to become the EuroSTAR 2010 Test Lab Apprentices?

We'd like to become apprentices because you need us.

Anna and I took the time to contact a few participants of the 2009 Test Lab they mentioned it was hard to get people involved. This is our specialty.

We think you've created an amazing opportunity and we'd like to persuade, entice, and encourage as many people into the Lab as possible to share the experience and join the fun with us.

We also want to get involved for a purely selfish reason, we will be able to learn a lot by working with and observing other testers.

What specific skills do you feel you could bring to the Test Lab as The Apprentices?

I organise the London Tester Gatherings, the last two have been sponsored by RedGate and Microsoft and had roughly 50 people at both gatherings. They are a purely social event but there's open talks for whoever wants to talk, the idea being that anybody who is not used to talking can get some practice in a friendly environment. I have good organisational skills, I've organised a venue, got the word out and have proven to be so good at this that next week I'm actually hunting for a new venue as I've packed the current one out.

I'm good with people and I'm good at getting a large bunch of testers into a room discussing testing. I also enjoying meeting people and talking to new people and getting new people talking to new people.

I also spent a number of years in support, working with both hardware and software and have experience in building machines, setting up machines and have a good working knowledge of different operating systems.

I've also built up a good network of contacts which will help with sourcing kit.

What makes you and your partner special?

My partner Anna is a co-moderator of the European Weekend Tester, a regular poster to forums, a blogger on STC and is taking the BBST foundation course and is highly dedicated and passionate about testing. I was lucky enough to attend Rapid Software Testing with her and was impressed with her drive to learn.

She is eager to ignite the testing fire in her colleagues at work as well as testers Europe (and world) wide! She's so dedicated to sharing and learning with others that she willing gives up her Saturday afternoons as well as time during the week to prep for and participate in the European Weekend Tester sessions.

I was asked by one other person to pair up and apply. I listened to some advice and the choice was easy, it made more sense to me to apply with Anna and focus my energy on this application and it was for purely selfish reasons; I know I'd enjoy it more and learn more.
I believe I'm special because my mother told me so. Both Anna and I have tremendous energy and enthusisiam for testing. We work well together and bounce ideas off each generating even more energy at Eurostar we may just combust.

I know I'm different, I have cold hard proof. I partake in Weekend Testing, I work on open source charity projects like and as written above I organise the London Tester Gatherings. I also try help the community in general, currently I'm helping two people with trying to get their start in Testing by offer some suggestions and reviewing their CV's. I read books and work on my technical skill set as well as my people skills.

I go out of my way to meet people I know I can learn from, for example on one occasion James Lyndsay's course and Rapid Software Testing crossed over and they met up . I didn't know anybody on either course or anybody else that was going to be there but I went along to the pub meeting after the course. I knew there would be people there that I would want to meet, people I could learn from. Strangely enough I now work with some of them.

The London Tester Gathering actually grew out of that meet up. I want to see what the Test Lab can lead to.