QA or the Highway 2017 – Speaker Spotlight – Rob Bowyer


The one day testing conference, QA or the Highway 2017, is scheduled for February 7th, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio.

There are some excellent sessions and speakers listed for the event.  Like last year, I thought I would reach out to those speaking at the event and ask them a few questions.  A number of the speakers graciously took time out of their schedule to respond.  Leading up to the conference, I will be featuring some of those speakers and their responses.

Today, Rob Bowyer is kicking off the “QA or the Highway 2017 – Speaker Spotlight.”

1. What attracted you to speaking at QA or the Highway this year?

I have attended QA or the Highway a couple of times in the past and was a speaker last year. It’s a well run conference with a nice variety of topics covered.

2. What are you most looking forward to at this year’s conference?

As always with conferences, there are the sessions, but it is also a great opportunity to connect with peers. It’s always great to hear how others are approaching the many challenges to software testing. As well, I get to hear about new contexts that I may not be familiar with.

3. What piece of advice would you give conference attendees to maximize their experience at QA or the Highway 2017?

If you are attending with peers from work, don’t try to attend separate sessions to get maximum coverage. If you end up in a session that you aren’t interested in for the sake of coverage – that’s of no value to anyone. Attend the sessions that appeal to you the most. If all of your work peers are attending that session as well, there’s probably a good reason for that. You’ll get far more value from the shared experience and discussion than you would from attending separate sessions.

4. What are your favorite reading references (books/blogs/etc) that have helped your grow as a testing professional?

Twitter is one of my main resources these days (@robbowyer). I follow people and topics that interest me and I launch to blogs and conversations from there.

5. What do you enjoy about the testing “field”/what keeps you in testing?

I usually don’t just limit myself to the testing field, so this is a bit tricky to answer. Now if we look at it from the software development field, I would say that it’s helping to develop a solutions that solves a person’s problem. The really interesting part for me is getting to an understanding of what the problem is.I find programmers often to a great job of solving the technical problem, but can sometimes loose sight of the person that’s on the other end of the mouse or trying to navigate an application from their tablet.

6. What do you think is the most important skill(s) software testers should have?

Communication is number one – both in writing and through speaking. I think another skill that is not discussed enough is empathy. The ability to see someone else’s perspective and see the world through there eyes is invaluable.

One emerging skill that testers today should really consider developing is some form of scripting or programming. This is a skill that can really set an individual apart.

7. What advice would you give to new testers or to those looking to find their “testing spark” for reigniting their passion for testing?

I think getting involved in the broader testing community is the key here. Interact with other testers (outside of your workplace). Get involved in some of the practice communities (such as weekend testers or the world cup of software testing).

Rob will be speaking on the topic of “Dev-Ops Under the Microscope”.

You can find Rob’s session information or more information about QA or the Highway 2017 by going to the following links: