For me, speaking at the QA or the Highway conference is a way to “give back”. I’ve been in software testing for 22 years. During that time, I’ve taken quite a lot. I’ve taken time, instruction, and wisdom from a variety of sources. And now, I feel it is my turn and responsibility to give back. The conference provides me a forum to do so.
2. What are you most looking forward to at this year’s conference?
Conferring. Although there are many sessions that I’m interested in attending, I’m mostly looking forward to chatting with other testers before, during, and after the sessions to exchange ideas and opinions about testing.
3. What piece of advice would you give conference attendees to maximize their experience at QA or the Highway?
My advice is in-line with my previous answer: confer! Talk with other testers. Ask questions! Challenge, discuss, and debate! Conferring is a great way to refine your thinking.
4. How did you become involved in testing?
Like many other testers, I “fell into it”. That is, I began testing (on purpose, and for money) by chance. Although I’d been around computers and software since a very young age, before I became a professional tester I was a cook, a cashier, and a student. Then, when I was 19, a family friend who knew of my aptitude and passion for technology arranged an interview for me with the manager of the “QA Department” at CompuServe. The rest, as they say…
5. What are some of you favorite tools in your “testing toolbox”?
To me, testing is similar to problem solving. And, while it may sound trite, my favorite problem solving tool is “the internet”. Each new problem that I encounter is likely an old problem to someone else. Someone else that has probably posted some useful information about the problem (and maybe even the solution) on the internet. And so, the internet is often my first stop (and sometimes my last!) on the road to solving a problem. The trick is using the tool. When you have nearly all humanity’s knowledge at your fingertips, finding information that is relevant can be a daunting task. And so, studying and practicing advanced internet searching techniques can allow you to better find information that can help solve nearly any problem – testing, or otherwise.
6. What are your favorite reading references (books/blogs/etc) that have helped your testing efforts?
Although I don’t read many books, I am a voracious reader. I regularly read (and contribute to) dozens of science, technology, and testing sites, blogs, and forums. My reading list is enormous and can get unwieldy, which is why I value sites like blog.testingcurator.com which help keep me organized and up-to-date with what’s new and happening in the world of test. Anyway, instead of listing all my reading references, I’ll simply call out a select few. Recently, I’ve been focused on more abstract, philosophical ideas about testing. A few sites that have helped me in that regard are:
Satisfice.com – The site, blog, and knowledge repository of James Bach, buccaneer-scholar. James has said that if he wasn’t a tester, he’d probably be a philosopher. I think he already is. His writing often confirms, challenges, and inspires my own thinking about testing, and otherwise.
Developsense.com – Same as above, but for Michael Bolton, James’ partner-in-test. Michael owes me sleep, since his blog posts frequently keep me up late, thinking into the night.
Linkedin.com, Software Testing & Quality Assurance Group – Some may be surprised to see this on my short list. But, with nearly 200k members worldwide, there is hardly a better place to get a feel for what’s trending in the testing world. Membership includes both novice and expert testers with extremely varied backgrounds and diverse schools of thought. All in one spot. I like to refine my own ideas about testing by measuring them against the opinions expressed in this forum.
7. Would you like to add any advice for testers?
As I said above, to me, testing is akin to problem solving. And problem solving often involves exploration. And exploration requires curiosity. So, my advice for testers would be: nurture your innate sense of curiosity. Developing this quality will certainly help you become a better tester, and may even enhance your life.
Damian will be speaking on “Improv(e) Your Testing! Tips and Tricks from Jester to Tester.”
You can find Damian’s speaker bio, session information, or more information about QA or the Highway 2015 by going to any of the following links:
You can also find Damian online at the following location:
Previous speakers featured from the QA or the Highway 2015 – Speaker Series: