Upskilling your quality team while elevating your testing practice is important. But so is your personal growth. As our industry changes, so do the skills required to be successful in quality. Is it still essential to learn how to code? What weight do communication skills hold? In this panel, you'll learn about opportunities to upskill yourself or your team and get advice on how to build a balanced, rewarding career in software quality.
Welcome to everyone who's joining us today, we're joined by three incredible panelists, Federico - co-founder and COO at Abstracta, Julia - Head of Training and Development at QualityWorks. And Lisette, Director of QA Engineering at Fort Robotics. So let's dive right in. We know the quality field is changing quickly as we expand testing and improve the customer experience to keep growing in this new world. Testers need technical knowledge and soft skills.
So I'm really thrilled to host this panel of esteemed quality leaders to help testers understand what skills will help them succeed in the quality field. And since we're talking about building a career here today, it would be great if each of you could share a little bit about your career trajectory and how you ended up where you are today. Federico, I see you nodding, I'd love to start with you.
Cool, excellent. Thank you. pleasure for me to be part of this panel and share some of the experience with all of you. Thank you for the invitation. I started in software testing 17 years ago mainly focusing on performance testing. I remember my first interview for that position. The person who became my boss, told me: Are you sure you want to start as a software tester? Because your first job is going to determine your whole career, probably. Because once you gain some experience on something, then you continue moving in the same field. And I say, Yeah, sure. Why not? And 17 years later, I'm still working in the software testing industry.
Now I'm the COO of a Abstracta a company that I co-founded, 14 years ago, we work with different companies mainly in Latin America and United States, with software testing in different areas, mainly in performance, test automation and automated functional testing. And I can consider myself, a testing advocate, trying to help others to better understand the value of software testing and growing in their career. In the area I wrote my book about an introduction to support testing. That was the first written in Spanish. And you can download it for free. And I think it's helping different people in mainly Latin America to break into technology in the technology field. Very happy to be sharing with you. Thank you.
Thanks so much. Sounds like an amazing career. Lisette, I'd love to turn over to you and ask the same question. You know, talking a little bit about building a career today. Could you share about your career trajectory, and how you ended up where you are?
Yeah, thank you for having me. I'm excited to join my fellow panelists here at Experience 2022. I started my career, almost like Frederico. I started actually, as a software tester, testing gaming applications at Apple computer that was really my first experience testing and it was something that I enjoy, not as a gamer, but just as somebody that was super curious. Now from there, I became a developer, you know, and I was working for a telecom company that no longer exists. But I gained, a lot of experience over there as a software firmware engineer, for couple of years
Then from there, I became a really strong advocate for quality, I worked as a engineer, then got into software automation, and started really doing API testing, automation testing, and really get into like understanding the value that a QA Engineer brings into a team and working on really complex problem solving complex problem. And from there, I got into leadership, really working with a lot of startups creating quality assurance organizations from the ground up.
And that's what I've been doing for the past 12 years. That's really my passion, my passion is really to bring the value of QA to the organization and unleash what QA can help the organization or do in terms of like, up leveling the organization or the product’s place in the marketplace. So currently, I'm the Director of Quality Engineering at Fort Robotics. We are a communication company solving communication challenges between human and robotics, using safe and secure communications. And with that, it really is a sweet spot for me, because you bring my experience from software testing and hardware testing, also understanding firmware testing. So that has been my career.
I'm a strong advocate for women in tech, eomen in engineering, and also women in leadership, I'm passionate about helping women breaking into technology, helping black woman specifically, break into technology as much as possible. And so that's what I do. A lot of my free time, I have a podcast where I talk about everything, woman confidence, because I tried to make a correlation between confidence and quality, believe it or not, because at the end of the day, we are always bringing confidence to our team member about our software, to our product, to our stakeholders about the software or hardware or product that we are actually testing. So I'm excited to be here today. And looking forward to this exciting conversation.
We're really excited to have you, I love how you put that, unleashed quality, right. I like the way that you expressed your perspective there. And Julia, we'd love to welcome you here to the panel. And we'd love to know a little bit more about your career trajectory, and how you ended up where you are today.
Thanks, Dennis. And thanks for having me. I'm really excited to be here today. I started out as an intern in software testing. In my third year of university, I saw we had to do an internship course. And I saw this intern advertisement. And I didn't know as much about software testing, as I know now, because during a computer science course its mostly about coding, but you still had to do a bit of testing of what you're doing. Because it wasn't a small course in the syllabus, I started doing an internship there. And I learned a lot about testing, I fell in love with the quality aspect of it and how impactful it is as a field because you touch so much applications that we use in our day to day.
Then, because I work for a consultancy, I have been in a lot of different fields, telecommunications, banking, and we once tested for a robot application. So lots of different avenues of gain that experience of doing different types of testing, such as API testing, mobile testing. And then I started to delve a little bit into development; not my fashion area. So I have stuck mostly to software testing.
I found out that I had a passion for helping people gain in their careers and uplifting them. Because for me, in order to reach to a managerial position, I had to create a four year plan, what my plan was to date, what were the things that I was going to do in order to get promotions, show my value, show that I am impactful.
That came out in different mediums by me blogging, speaking at different conferences, having a YouTube channel. By me going through those experiences, it came full circle to me being able to be Head of Training and Development to help persons also grow in their careers and get the success from it that they are aiming for. So that's what I'm doing right now helping persons training persons and just sharing knowledge.
Wonderful, thank you so much for sharing that. Well, we are here to talk a little bit about elevating your career and quality. So I'd love to know, what do you think as panelists are the most important skills for growing a career in software quality testing in 2022?
I can start. I like that you say 2022. Because, you know, it could be different every year. I think, you know, my answer would be simply to be curious. You know, I think for me, at least when I look at my career, what is super consistent is to be curious, you know, continue to ask questions. And since you say, 2022, I want to say, be present. Stay present on calls, because we are mostly on the screen 70% of our time. At least that's what my personal schedule looks like.
So stay present on calls, no multitasking, and ask the right questions, because most of the information that you need is probably happening right in front of you during that call. So that will be my simple answer.
So to add to curiosity, I would say: be analytical. Software sometimes is a big thing, how can you take that large thing and break it down into smaller parts where you can take out different tests, user journeys, and user experiences and check for those, and then at the same time, being able to put that back together for the user as a big picture?
So I would say be analytical, be curious, and ask a lot of questions. Continuous learning is important because things change so fast and we don't want to be “left behind”. We still want to be in the know of what's happening. And so just those three things: analytical, curious, and always learning and sharing your learning and your journey with your team so that not one person has the knowledge. It's like a collective effort.
I’d like to add something else, to that, which is the sensitivity for the business, like the understanding of what's important for the business. It's something we can contribute that make us different from machines, because AI is dominating the world. Right? So having this empathy or understanding for our users, this type of understanding of the curiosity that you said, was mentioning this, like also asking questions about that context? How is it? How is it like, how can we take this understanding to the team and to our practices. We are building an understanding that is not only applying some testing technique, or tool or whatever, but it's also focusing on what's bringing more value to the business. This is, I think it's something that we have to develop as we grow in order to stand out.
Great, curious, analytical, empathetic, and looking for what builds value as well. So that's great, thank you so much for sharing that. Kind of on the same vein of skills, what's everyone's perspective on communication skills, what kind of role do these play in being a successful tester today?
It's very, very important, especially given that we are remote. A lot of times what we are communicating lacks tone. So its via text. It's hard to read tone to text. So try your best to be as empathetic to other people as possible. Try to understand what they're coming from and in communicating, try to give all the information that they need so that they can get back to you.
If you're going to be asking somebody, “Hey, you have some time?”. What do you want them to do with the time that they may potentially have? So instead of just saying, “Hey, do you have some time?”, say ‘Hey, I have this pull request, and I would want you to review it. Here's the link to the pull request, and these are the areas that I would want you to pay more attention to”. So that as soon as they have the time, they're able to go on and know immediately what they have to do. Clarity in communication, being as clear as possible, giving all the details that you need to so that they can come back to you and a lot of time isn't wasted. And consider tone. Think about maybe adding a smile emoji, try to ensure that the message and the tone of what you're saying is conveyed properly.
For me, something that is really important when communicating is understanding is that what we are talking about most of the time are complex things. Understanding and like developing this skill of trying to communicate to different audiences at different levels that they have different background. So I mainly I have to adapt my message to the different audiences, adapting what I'm explaining.
Because we are abstracting of many layers of complexity of all the time. When I say, let's call that API, this is involving so many things like protocols, different servers, formats, different files, encryption. We might be talking about different things. But when I say just that, you understand what I mean, and all the things that are in plan. But when I explain that to your people, maybe I need to decompose that message, and divide and explain more details, or not. So trying to understand, at what level I need to talk to the person I'm talking to, is really important.
For me, something that helped me to get better at explaining complex things, even for people without the technical background was one in an organization I founded here in Uruguay, where we teach software testing to people with fewer opportunities, so we help them to break into technology. So trying to help them understand how a system works. So they can do a better job at testing, it is really important. And you have to find analogies or metaphors, or different ways to explain the same concepts that you use every day, is very challenging, and you're forcing yourself to find different ways. And that I feel helps you to even better understand yourself, what you are talking about. Because many times we read things, and we say, “Okay, this is more or less about this”, but we don't get into the details. But when we need to explain it. It's like, “Okay, I really need to understand how to explain these, I need to understand the details”. And that's gonna make me understand better to do a better job.
Yeah, I really like what Federico said, because for me, I've learned that every audience is different. So what's different, you know, if we want to make a quick comparison between a developer or a software quality engieer is really, you are interacting with different folks in the organization. You interact in the product team, you're interacting with a customer, you're usually advocating for the customer. So what Federico is saying has been valuable for me, because I found myself trying to switch the way that I explained the same information, but to various folks. That also helps you deepen your knowledge as well. Even in my team, I have a firmware team, I have a cloud team, and then I have a hardware team. So the conversation is different for each of them.
Sometimes it's also important for me to bring the conversation together so that everybody works cross-functionally and collaborates towards the same product by understanding in a deeper way. So that really crucial skill set, you know, communication skill set for us as QA folks.
The other part that Julia was mentioning is, because of the virtual world that we are in, I say build in a little bit of patience. You're working with folks in various timezones, and you have a question for them. I always say, bring not only problems, but solutions too. And then when you have the solution with a little bit of patience built in… you can already be working with other folks and find the social solution. That way, it's easy for you, when I am the person that is responding to your Slack message, I can just say, you know, ABC, let's go with this option. And this is my reason.
The waiting game is something that you have to programme yourself to, because we no longer have the office that we have to go to and talk to people really quickly. So those are like little things that you have to do in 2022, for your communication.
And also to add to that, we are the owners of onboarding virtually as well. And we sometimes take for granted what people don't know. So I'm currently doing a boot camp teaching people how to do test automation. I took for granted how much they don't know. If I say to them, “We're going to create an .env file”, they don't know what an .env file is. They don't know why we are creating it in the first place.
So try to create as much context as you can for people, especially during onboarding virtually. Or if it is your QA process you're sharing with them, maybe it's different from what they've experienced before. So try to give them as much context when you're communicating as possible.
Thats all really great practical and tactical recommendations there. I really love the idea of, you know, tuning your message to your audience finding ways that you can help others understand, through your own clear, transparent communication as well, thank you so much for sharing that.
On the other side of the coin, from soft skills and communication skills, you know, we hear a lot about technical aptitude. So you know, what does a tester really need to be capable of, as they're looking at this career? And is it essential to learn how to code and what do you think about that, that level of technical need?
Sometimes it's context or industry dependent. So you may be in an industry where you're really familiar with what's going on, you understand the scenario, there's things that you use in your day-to-day life. And so it's easy to relate that to what you are actually doing in work. But then there are other times where it's a lot more complex. By understanding coding jargons, or how systems are integrated and put together, it will help you to be more effective, and think of more scenarios and go deeper into testing that application. That can enhance the quality and the overall user experience.
As someone who is in the testing space, and it's your career, you have to decide for yourself, is this a turning point where I need to learn how to code? Everyone in the world or everyone as a tester does not need to code. There is value in doing exploratory testing, performance testing, different types of testing, because they all come together as a package.
But look at your situation, is it that you want to be an SDET? Is the next step in your career to be that technical coder person? If it is, then there are a lot of avenues for you to learn that. But it's more of a context situation. It's not one-shoe-fits-all situation and everybody absolutely has to learn how to code. There is some technical knowledge that you do have to have. You will gain it just by being in the field, understanding how the web works, understanding different jargons - all of that will come over time.
Yeah, it's dealing with that, I think it's very useful for doing different types of testing, it's an important tool. Another way, another argument I would use in order to motivate a tester to learn how to code is that you gain another perspective of how things are built. I like to make the analogy when, when you're reading something, and you're a writer, you probably can recognize patterns or certain tools that the writer used. So when you're a tester, you know how to code, you probably will recognize different components or technologies or things that were used. You can think of different risks that are associated to that particular technology that is being in the middle of what you're testing. So I think it's also useful for that. To understand or to think of different ideas, according to how the thing that you're testing is built.
On top of that, there is another thing that for me is really important. It's a skill that you also develop when you learn how to code, which is computational thinking. So you gain, it's like, you can think in algorithms. You can model more complex scenarios, but not only with a mind map. I think mind maps are right, but can be very simplistic. So you need better models with more expressive power like a state machine or a decision table or decision tree or something like that. When you learn how to code you also get better at modeling realities and more complex scenarios. That's my two cents on the topic.
Yeah, what I'm gonna add is, I think you both are already touched on it, but for me, I look at it as a toolbox. You know, what do you need to have in your toolbox? And that might change over time. And, as Julia was mentioning, each company that you work with may require different toolbox. So for you, we talking about elevating your career. You have to look at your career and take ownership of it - where do you want to do? Three years from now, five years and so on. So what do I need in the toolbox?
These skill sets that you’re gaining is for you. Maybe you use any for this project, but it's in your own toolbox. Right? So coding for me, as a leader, I look for people that are well rounded QA folks. Because I want you to look at the product, application, service, or product, tell me, based on the strategy that you come up with, what kind of testing do we need? So do we need test automation? Do we need performance testing? Do we need accessibility testing? I look at it as a toolbox kind of thing.
Based on that, the more skills and tools you have in your toolbox, the more marketable you become. And the more valuable you become to your organization. Hence, you have promotion, hence, you gain more in your career. So that's how I see it. Coding is just one thing out of so many, you know, skill set that you need, you know, and if you look at your career, you feel like this is something that is going to be important, your tool belt, yeah, so you have to like, learn how to code.
There's so many other things. One thing that I am not a fan of is kind of like the new generation of QA folks that just want to do automation, and they don't have the rare understanding of quality, and the value that they bring into the organization. All they just want to do is now automate everything. Before you to automate something, you have to actually understand what you're doing and how that relate into other pieces of the application that you are testing.
It's great, thank you so much for sharing that, Lisette. That definitely resonates. And, Julia, I liked how you made mention of being a lifelong learner, right? It's, it's, you know, and then Lisette, connecting to some one more tool in the toolbox for you to be able to use, Federico I’m still kind of working on that algorithmic thinking, but you know, I'll get there, I'll get there one day. Thanks so much for sharing that. Promise we won't belabour the idea of skills and characteristics the whole time.
But I do want to kind of round out one more piece and one more role in this space, which is, you know, what are some skills or traits that indicate that a tester or QA specialist is ready for that leadership role? And what kind of skills or traits should individuals be developing? In the QA leadership space?
It's really around the idea of being able to help others, you have to help yourself, right? So to be able to teach something to somebody, you have to know the stuff well enough. The more you teach, you're actually learning more. So at some point, you have to look like what do you enjoy? Do you enjoy helping others solve their problems? Then you are actually creating some room and some space for your leadership role. As a leader, you're going to spend a lot of time solving problems for others, you know, solving problems for your teammates, or driving improvements for the organization. For me those are the things that I look for.
I also feel like as a leader, you have to be able to think of it as a broader view of different things. So maybe you want to be more generalist, and really understand different things at a very high level, because that's going to help you be able to adapt and help your team members solve various kinds of problems. So those are the two things that I usually start looking for.
To piggyback off of that, a lot of it is helping others. You mentioned that if you're a specialist, you may have a lot of skills in one particular area. Know how to step back and not do the work yourself, but instead delegate it to somebody and trust them to do it. Even if they don't do it right the first time, be patient enough with them to say this is how it can be corrected, instead of swooping in and thinking, I can do it myself and I can do it faster, and get it done.
As a leader, it's not about doing it fast and doing it yourself. It's about empowering your team to be able to do it. So a good skill set of a leader is when you're able to start delegating as well as motivating others. Most of the time people aren't confident enough in themselves and their skill sets. As a leader, it's up to you to identify those things and say, hey, I see where you have this skill, let's own it. Or maybe you need improvement in this area, this is how we're going to help you get those skills. So it becomes a lot less about you and what you can do, and more on how you can help your team grow.
Absolutely, and it's very challenging, right. Because when you grow as a tester, you learn how to do your thing, and then trying to help others… I see that as an act of generosity. Stop focusing on your own career and start focusing on somebody else's career, right. Another thing that I believe is really important is when you promote, the technical part, I will say the way you approach problems and solutions. Problem solving is like when you are not only paying attention to the symptoms, and you also understand that they are causes that you should focus on in order to solve the problem from the root.
For instance, something a conversation that I have typically with many people is when they say, oh, our progression is taking so long, we need to automate. Okay, you're focusing on the symptoms, but what are the causes of this problem, of the root regression taking so long. Maybe the testers are involved too late. And when they start testing, they spend so much time trying to understand the reasonable commutation, there is no one person to ask for questions or clarifications or whatever.
So in that scenario, if you are test-automation priority, you're not going to fix anything. So trying to have this mindset of not only paying attention to the symptoms, but trying to ask more questions or to be curious, as we said before, I think this is very important for our technical skills.
I also want to add that, because now that Federico said that it, brought something that I'll always pay attention is pattern. When you start paying more attention to the pattern of things, that is because your view, it's almost like you have a higher level of everybody's like focusing down, and you have a higher view. You're looking at more patterns because your brain is really thinkinglike leadership more than actually tactically trying to solve the problem. Because you see the pattern, and can actually predict things happening. That's the next level of it, at least in quality, right? Because you've seen so many situations, then you can actually predict if we are going in the right direction or not.
To add to all that, I think we work with a lot of different people. So understanding how to communicate to those persons, because you are going to be managing somebody, you're going to be on the same level as other leaders, but then you also have to manage up to the person that is managing you. So understanding how to relay similar information to all of the different personas. But you have to communicate it in different ways. So that the person you're managing understanding can get the work done, the person you're reporting to understand the metrics and understand all that is happening, what person that you have to work with, maybe the development manager or the product manager, you are all on the same level, and you can all get the bigger picture done. So communication is a really big skill that you will have to build as well.
So much amazing information and great responses in there. I love just kind of double-highlighting the idea of trust. I love how you mentioned that Julia. I think that's so important, And, of course, Lisette, you know, being a problem solver, right, like thinking analytically about that as well keeps coming back up, which is great. Awesome. So one question that I wanted to bump up from the question box actually, is, you know, in this amazing panel, in our experience, most QA people you know, love quality, which is great. We're passionate about it without even trying, what are some of your favorite ways to be an ambassador of quality for your organization, whether that's what you're doing now or what you've done in the past to try to bring that passion for quality to your organizations.
There is a particular activity that I really enjoy doing, which is doing some sort of workshop where we test together so we learn from each other when in a hands-on activity. So we do Some sort of ‘all’ testing, we could call it, where we show the screen presentation and we start testing and giving ideas all at the same time. And you can really notice when there are people more passionate about finding risks or problems or is like, you start being contemptuous of this, this feeling of trying to find something else and actually try to explore and, and to analyze and bring new ideas. This is a very enthusiastic activity to share with different team members.
And to add to that, that sharing and working together, so like I've been on a team before, and there was this particular developer that I was working with, and every time I would get their story or the task that they were doing, I'd find bugs. And they were like, “how do you think of these things?”. So what I had to do, we started to have clear sessions. Because of test cases, sometimes I find that QA items are not something to be hidden. It's something that the entire team can benefit from seeing your test cases.
So when the sprint started, and we got the story, we would talk about what we were thinking in terms of different scenarios for this thing. And then I realized that we started to learn from each other. He got really excited about “how am I going to ensure that this scenario works and that scenario works”. And so he became a champion of quality as well, he became an advocate for quality, and that spread throughout the team that we were working on. So I've tried to share what you're doing, what you're working on with other team members so that they themselves can try or some of the techniques, they're tools that I was using, when I was doing my testing that he wasn't aware of, they were tools that he was using, that I wasn't aware of since and so by sharing that knowledge, I gain more skills, he gained more skills, and it just resulted in a better product overall.
Really great, I love the recommendation of you know, making testing a team sport, a collaborative activity, right. So it's something that everyone can enjoy. Would you have any recommendations, if someone's feeling hesitant or worried about opening up their skills, and then sharing that testing as a team activity with others?
I kinda have to find out why the hesitation because I think you gain, again, instead of losing by sharing, I think maybe if you're in a team that's not as supportive of the QA effort, then it may become a bit more difficult. And so try to find a common ground first. So maybe something sticky that you're working on, or maybe some experience that you can share or issue, similar issue that you have together. Or maybe invite them to test when something has been deployed to production. So once something has been deployed to production, say, “hey, team, I would appreciate everybody's eyes on this, because I know you have more experience in this area, I would want to see what you think”. Invite their feedback, just to see how that can work.
For me, everyone is responsible for quality, you know, and that just everybody's responsibility, but we know who owns it, right? So the QA team owns quality, but everybody is responsible. So if somebody is a little bit more passionate than others, yes, about whatever experience in the past and another team is. Sometimes people look at quality as a black box, believe it or not, like, oh, I don't know what they do over there, you know, I just feel like I send them stuff in there, do a bunch of things.
So to Julia's point, you know, open it up, you know, open the room up, you know, like, Frederico was saying, like, put it on the screen, let's do it together. You know, that's always been increased collaboration, it decreases you know, anxiety about people don't know where you're finding the bugs, so they don't know when it's gonna happen. The more you demo, whenever you have the ability to see what's happening and how people are running the tests, and you have the ability to ask questions around that, that alone already, increases your collaboration and the culture of working together. So I think those are best practices to always lean into, you know, what other people are doing and also allow other people to lean into your work a little bit.
part of what's important for a leader is also understanding what's in which context each person feels more comfortable sharing. Maybe in some cases, they are comfortable sharing with a big group of people like presenting a presentation, or in some cases, they are more shy, and they prefer to like one on ones. Or maybe they just prefer to record video or write some report or share an article or something like that. So there are many ways to share your experience and find what's best for each. It's also important to enable it in each team, each person, in the best way.
That's really great. Thanks so much. So related to that question, on, you know, on being ambassadors of quality and being passionate about that, within your organization, do you have any recommendations of what folks can do if they're looking to share quality outside of the organization or outside of that immediate team? And the importance for it, right, we know how important it is, but how can we help to emphasize or communicate that with other orgs as well.
Something that I feel really helps is when you try to connect with their motivation. So what's in it for them. So it's not only okay, it's better for the organization, or for the community, which is great. But also we can connect with what's important for the person, it's like, okay, you're growing, by sharing your experience, you are learning, you're gaining more skills, communication skills, you are understanding better what you're explaining.
So there are many ways in which you can talk to the person that is going to be helpful for them. And not only for the activity, the community or the company. So I feel that trying to understand that and communicating with them is very effective.
So to piggyback on that, based on the question, how do you become a champion outside, you know, right, so you really have to look at the various means of communication. And Julia, can probably dive into that a little bit more. It's like, do you want to do a podcast, you want to do a YouTube? Do you want to write a blog, you know, you really have to look at you know, are you an introvert? Are you an extrovert, you know, what, what's comfortable for you. Because there's so many ways to communicate.
You have to start from a place of authenticity, you know, what really authentic for you because that if you're not authentic, then it's not gonna resonate. Like Federico saying, you have to start from your own experience, right? Two things that you are learning things that you mistake that you made, things that you want to share things that resonate with you, book that you have read, etc. You really want to start from a place of authenticity, very small, and then, you know, grow from that. I think that's how you become a quality champion, you know, even within your organization and also outside, you know, and also build your brand, as you know, build your career as you do in that as well.
Yeah, so as Lisette just said and Federico just said, sometimes you have to think about how can I champion quality in myself first by learning, and then you start bringing it into your organization. As Lisette said: as a different medium. So is it by having metrics? So I've connected with product owners, and sometimes they have metrics of different areas that are high activity for a customer. So if I can take those metrics and go to the business and say, this is an area of high traffic, and I've added this amount of coverage in my regression. It is going to be talking to your language because it's going to be saying, a lot of people come here, and we're ensuring that we check it so that things don't fail and you don't lose money. That's how you're showing how valuable you are and the amount of quality and thought that you put into what you do so by using the metrics that product owners have, and connecting that to the areas that you test, or the types of devices that you test. If 50% uses MacBooks versus 25% uses Windows and you are someone who uses mobile, that can influence the devices that you test on all the screen sizes that you test on. So you can communicate in that way as well.
And then if you want to communicate outside, you can create a meetup group if you want. You can start with the people that work on your team. Maybe an hour every month or something like that. You have a presentation about a new topic that you want to talk about.
Then there are sessions like this that mabl does, you can apply to speak at conferences. We have other tech meetup groups Ministery of testing, that are really helpful for a person that are new in the space and want to talk. So just try to reach out to other persons that are talking in the space and find out how you can become more involved in that as well.
It's really wonderful. Sounds like it's important to you know, bring your be courageous and bring your authentic self into the role of quality and kind of be the beacon for quality kind of starts within and starts with you.
Taking a little bit of a left turn from a question perspective here. But you know, technology the world of technology is ever changing. And there are constant changes, growth, and adaptation. What recommendations would you have for someone to kind of stay on the cutting edge of the new technology or stay informed to make the best decisions when in this QA or QE field?
I mentioned meetups a while ago, I try to join different ones and not just QA ones, but developer ones as well. So try not to stay just within your field or comfort area. Sometimes it's good to learn about what new developer tools they're using, such as Kubernetes or something that they're really excited about. And you don't necessarily have to deep dive into it. It can just be sitting and listening to somebody talk about it.
Maybe if it's a demo, you can try it out afterward. So I just tried to go to different areas that I can learn and see how that relates back to what I'm doing right now. Or maybe it's something that I can bring back and share with my team. So always sharing and learning and try to carve out a little time for that. I know, it may be hard sometimes to find a time but it doesn't have to be a lot of time. It can be an hour a week, just checking out something that's new and interesting for you.
Yeah, absolutely. Conferences, meetups and everything. As we learn a variety of topics. That's key. A couple of weeks ago, I went to a conference where they focused on development, DevOps and other things. And I've learned that much there. Because it was very different to what I'm typically reading around software testing. So I think we need to combine as Julia was mentioning. For me, another source of material is Twitter. Be sure to follow different people that speak about different things, I think can help a lot.
For me. I think I plus one, the conference. One of my favorite ones is really Webminal, you know Webminalis I feel like I pick any topic, actually, you know, because in my mind, I feel like it's a Venn diagram, like, I have my own quality interests, you know, and then every other topic that kind of like, my touch quality, but not really, you know, become interesting to me. And so DevOps, you know, become super interested in anything in the developments, because interesting, anything in the security space becomes super interesting, you know, anything in the data becomes super interesting. So, I sign up for, like, webinars all the time, you know.
I'm listening to podcasts is also something that I'm huge into. It goes back to what I was saying at the beginning. Fortunately enough to stay curious, and durability. To know what to say when you feel like “you know, I already know so much. I'm so tired of learning”. There's no such thing as that in tech, or specifically in quality because you change tools everyday. I'm personally, somebody that is tool agnostic. So I want to know, the tool that I used two years ago, is it still relevant? Or am I ready to change to something else? And why should I invest in something else? Or why should I ask my team to invest in another tool? It's something that you know, but the only way you can learn about that is by learning. Being informed about that is really to stay curious and, and go learn that information. So those are like best practices for us.
And Lisette mentioned tools. You can get free demos from tool vendors, I'm sure mabl we would love to give them yes, so you can try to sign up for different demos. Just to learn about what's happening and what the newest tool is. It's not something that was kind of just free, these people want to sell you their thing. So just sign up and see what you can learn from it.
Totally, I plus one that to.
Brief, shameless plug for the free lessons and materials that are available at mabl University as well. So please feel free to check those out. Right, of course. Yeah. Thank you. I appreciate that.
So, yes, continuing on forward, as folks are potentially looking for considering a career change into quality, or you know, early-stage quality professionals, what are some like green flags for a good company culture that they can look for? And I think this relates a little bit to some of the skills or characteristics that folks could embody themselves as well. So what are some things you would recommend to folks who are looking for a career change or early stage to look for the organization or the company culture?
How much importance do they give to testing activities, or to talk about participating in testing conferences, sharing the knowledge about what they are doing, how they are doing it in different places. This is something that I think talks a lot if they are like keeping on to themselves, or maybe they don't want to share how they are doing their stuff. I think by being open about how you do different kinds of testing helps a lot to understand a little bit about the culture around quality.
I will say, learning about companies start from the interview stage, right? So be ready yourself, to really interview them, you know, and ask the right question, the question that you want to know, ask them about, in the interview. Be direct. Ask about, you know, find different questions that will get you to understand the culture, you know, for you also, for your own career.
You need to know what company do you want to work for? First of all, right? It's almost like a matching game, you need to know what culture is going to be great for you. Therefore, you can ask those questions. But as Federico says, it's really about hiring for a tester, or you might just be not a tester, you might be the only tester in the organization. So then you need to ask, like, you know, who are the leaders? Go on LinkedIn, and go read about the person that you're about to interview. What is their track record? You know, is this the first time they're working in a QA? You know? So those are things that you want to look at.
You also want to look at, you know, what are they investing in technology? What tools are they using, maybe they're not interested in really making any investment, you are the only investment that they want to make. Then that can become very difficult and very dangerous for you. Because it becomes very painful because you are the sole person that they have for quality and dumping everything on you.
Quality is everyone's responsibility. So those are questions that you can bring up to really sense that, you know, what is the mindset of the folks that you're about to, you know, spend most of your life with pretty much when you walk in with team members, right? So that's important.
For me, some of the green flags would be a training budget, so that I can continue to learn and upskill myself. There is a culture of work life balance from leadership all the way across the organization. Leaders aren't afraid to take their vacation time and they advocate for. That there is a great process of getting releases out. So it's not a last-minute rush where I always have to stay behind and work so much overtime, because it's not planned.
Find out as Lisette said, in the interview stage also interview them to find out what's your release process? How often do you release? How many people are on the team? How much support do I have?
And also find out if they have a career path? How long is it going to take for you to get to the next level? How much support will you have to get to the next level? Because it's your career and it's something that's in your hands so you want to know before you go into an organization.
Find out as much about it as you can; read up reviews on Glassdoor and all of these different platforms. Try to find somebody that you trust that maybe has worked in that organization before and ask them how it's going. Well, those are some of the top three plugs for me, career advancement, if there are salary bands to each role, where you know that everybody in the organization is being paid fairly. And it's not just a heard of processes, you're deciding when you get a promotion or when you get a pay raise.
If I can add something else, I think a green flag is when you look at the leadership and you see diversity, and you can feel recognized as a possible person to be there in the future. And they are not the same looking type of people. So I think this is very important mainly for leadership positions because it's then it's spread around the company.
I think this is also important at conferences. So I started to pay attention to these types of things. And I love what you're doing at this conference, because, for instance, I am from Latin America, we have women, men, and diversity in different ways. So I think this is important to send a message that everyone can be part of that group. So I think that's also a green flag to look for.
It's wonderful, your point on inclusion. Well, as we're coming up on time here, I'd love to end with one final question, which is, is there any last advice or lessons learned that you think would be valuable to our audience here, reframed in a different way? You know, what's the most valuable piece of career advice you've ever received that you think would be important for our audience today?
My favorite piece of advice that I've received that I think I've mentioned, today is really about asking questions. And I read a book a couple of years ago by John Maxwell who is a great leader and asks great questions. Your question says a lot about you and what you are curious about, what you are interested in. And I think the more question you don't assume when you listen to people, or when you review your user story, or when you even testing right, make sure you ask the right question, make sure you ask a great question that we really uncover a lot of information for you, and only show the high quality that we all striving for. Thank you.
I think one of the best pieces of advice that I received that influenced a lot in my career was when I was looking for, I was looking to apply for a PhD abroad. I wanted to move to another country where I could learn a different language. But I had an opportunity to meet with a professor from Spain. Someone told me, okay, maybe you have to adapt your walls, you should be flexible in your world, because maybe you can take that opportunity and do great things. And I changed my mind and I tried to be flexible as applied to that PhD opportunity.
Then once I was there, I could spend time in Italy, I learned some Italian, and I had an opportunity to present in English and at different conferences around Europe. So in the end, I could accomplish what I was looking for as part of my PhD. But at the moment, it was very important to not to focus on the particular thing I was looking for and it was really important to be flexible and open my mind and understand all the benefits I could get from that position. I think with these types of decisions, we are facing those types of things every day or in every new opportunity. And again, my advice here is to try to open up your mind and try to understand what are the benefits of those opportunities that present themselves in front of us every day, so be open to them.
Real quick because I know we're almost like time, your career is yours. You are the driver. You are the guests in the car. So you have to motivate yourself, find your motivation. Have your plan. I didn't get where I was because I had to have a plan. I had a four-year plan and I tried to follow it. Create your plan, find mentors, find ways to learn, and find ways to improve yourself because your career is yours.
Fabulous. Well, why is that Federico and Julia, thank you so much for joining us today for this panel and Leah, I'll turn it back over to you.
Thank you. Yeah, this has been amazing. Thank you, everybody, for joining us. Dennis, thank you for hosting. Lisette, Federico, Julia, thanks for all of your insights today. I know we had so many great questions. So feel free to connect with our panelists on LinkedIn, keep the conversation going, I know that they all regularly post awesome QA content. So hopefully, it's another resource to you.
So as we close mabl Experience, I just want to thank everybody throughout the entire event for your thoughtful questions, your comments, and all of your contributions to this year's event. I personally felt very energized, having the opportunity to engage with all the speakers and the attendees over the last couple of days.
And as you all know the event theme was around elevating testing. So whether that is to help you elevate the perception of QA in your organization, or get buy-in for your quality efforts, or to elevate and accelerate your own career, as we were just talking about today, I think there's a really exciting opportunity in front of us, as a QA community.
It's this opportunity to focus on these really big things, digital transformation, contributing to DevOps and quality engineering adoption, and building better customer experiences. So we're really excited about the future of quality. And I hope everybody has that similar feeling as they're walking out the virtual door of Experience.
So just another quick plug, you know, we're thrilled to have been able to announce careersinqa.com this week. It's a job board site dedicated to quality careers. So if you haven't checked it out yet, there are already great roles posted, feel free to add your own open rules. We also announced mabl certifications all thanks to Dennis here. Getting mabl certified through mabl U is another way for quality professionals like you all to build skills and demonstrate proficiency in mabl and quality engineering skills in general. Mabl Experience is all about you. It's all about the friends of mabl community. We hope that you have some takeaways and new knowledge that you all can start implementing at work. I hope to see you at Experience 2023 next fall. But for now, we'd love to hear your feedback on the event and incorporate that as we build more for you all next year. So stay well and thank you.