“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
This quote sums up 2017 for me pretty well: with hard work, determination and motivation some of my dreams materialized and I met amazing people who were willing to help me reach my dreams as well. I will slice up this blog post to milestone-like sections.
From unaccepted speaker to accepted-to-every-one-I-applied-to
I kicked off 2017 reflecting on how I failed getting accepted to speak at conferences. I had a few useful lessons after my first abstract got rejected 5 times, and, I felt like I learned them – I had a bubbling new idea of what I should talk about. Something that I actually know best – my own story.
Don’t try to reinvent the topic and present something far away from your work – best stories are your own and there is a lot for people to learn from them
So, I created a new abstract called “Testing Big Data to Predict Your Perfect Fit”. I was surprised that sometimes it takes just a question to get some support from the experts: there were so many people who proof-read the abstract and were open to give feedback (Speak Easy, for example, introduced me to the wonderful Nancy Kelln). Once the abstract was ready, I submitted to 3 conferences.
I got invited to speak at all of them: Testing Cup 2017 in Gdansk, Poland, Quest for Quality 2017 in Dublin, Ireland and EuroSTAR 2017 in Copenhagen, Denmark! The last one being the biggest European testing conference with around 4-5 speaking tracks at the same time.
Before the very first talk I was so nervous that I couldn’t even sleep the night before. Technically I had some difficulties, but once it was over – the feeling was wonderful! I received great feedback, it was so rewarding to have audience members come to you and tell you that you inspired them or just to talk to you about work problems they have. I felt like I broke the ice and that was absolutely right!
Once you start stepping outside your comfort zone and deliver your first international talk at a conference – it gets better and you feel more comfortable
Quest for Quality’s experience I loved the most (thoughts on why it was the conference of the year for me). Theme spoke to me, talks were very interesting and the fellow speakers and audience in general were lovely people. I really wanted to deliver the best I could and it worked – the audience and my talk definitely clicked. I was voted the best talk of Quest For Quality 2017 with a rating of 4.61/5!
EuroSTAR was a great learning opportunity as it was a very big conference and I could meet a lot of people, but I did not feel the same click as at Q4Q conference. I met wonderful people there, heard good stories, but it wasn’t as cozy as smaller conferences.
In general, I loved public speaking – it was a great challenge. It taught me more about myself and enabled me to meet like-minded people. I am definitely thinking of some talks for 2018 now as well.
Give it a go at public speaking – it will help you grow
Meeting the old & new heroes
Participating in multiple conferences, meetups and online communities I got to meet so many amazing people. That is the best thing that happened to me this year.
Get to know the testing community – be it at conference, meetup or just online gathering. There are so many inspiring people with whom you can bond almost instantly
Imagine that you get to meet Michael Bolton who has been your inspiration since you started your testing career, you exchange stories and he looks at you and says “Impressive, you are going to be big”. It leaves you speechless. And there are so many known faces in conferences – having a chance to meet them in real life is unbelievable. Most of those people are so helpful and friendly that it will give you a kick of extra motivation to reach your dreams.
What surprised me more than known heroes were people of whom I hadn’t heard before. There are so many inspiring, wonderful professionals who add up to the experience of conferences or communities.
Looking at photo archives, I see this heart-warming picture from Quest For Quality conference. With 4 out of 6 people around me here I kept in touch and plan to continue doing so – if you ever meet any of these beautiful humans, tell them a warm hi – they are awesome!
Also, online testing community has been such a great discovery – a lot of great people in testing are open, friendly and willing to share experiences!
Thank you to every single person I got to meet in 2017 – I am very grateful for every encounter!
Shift from Omega tester towards QA role at my work
For more than 2 years, I was a lone tester or as James Bach calls them Omega Tester. I worked a lot spreading testing awareness in general, not only building automation checks from scratch or getting to participate in groomings/plannings and collaborating a lot with other departments.
This year has been pretty generous to me as I got a new team member! So, now, I am shifting more to the QA role in a sense that I can actually ASSESS quality more – I use New Relic to monitor and spot quality issues we may be having. This ability has given me a lot of knowledge about the product, in-depth understanding of the internals and even got me invited to priority meetings with CEO, account manager and the head of engineering. I am becoming more of a quality professional (which I do love a lot) even if I still do a bunch of testing as well, but my new colleague now helps me out with most of the tasks and we can distribute accordingly. I think it was one of the main lessons in my career:
Clear communication, collaboration between teams and being open to everyone has helped me grow and learn a lot about the product
When it comes to testing, I also got to finally play around more with APIs this year and learn more about back-end. That was so fascinating that I would love to learn more about it in 2018.
2017 in Numbers
My personal numbers:
- Speaker at 3 international conferences
- Multiple amazing professionals in testing met at conferences/communities
- QA & Testing department doubled (from 1 person to 2!)
My blog’s numbers:
- 7 post published
- 1404 unique visitors – record number since the start of my blogging
- 2033 views – second in place after 2016 when I did 30 Days of Testing challenge
- 338 people read the most popular post: Dear tester! Others care about quality, too.
Resolutions in 2018?
After 2017’s challenges with public speaking, I definitely want to speak again at a conference (or a few). I am researching biases right now. I want to do a talk related to our own and other people’s biases. Especially working as testers we get to deal with that a lot! A practical talk of stories and tips (if you have some stories to share on what you faced related to systematic errors and/or dealt with it – I’d love to hear them!) .
Apart from that, I am aiming to continue occasional blogging and also learn more about APIs!