I‘ve been involved in professional software testing for over 16 years. In my youth I used to create programs on BBC computers and my old Sinclair Spectrum, in both BASIC and Assembler language. This was just a hobby; I never thought it would be a long term career choice.
At school I decided I wanted to be an industrial chemist, which then somehow morphed into a desire to be a forensic scientist and then an Army bomb disposal expert. I joined the University Officer Training Corps as a means of affirming the idea that military life would be for me, and learned there were a few aspects of my chosen career that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with.
After graduating from university with a BSc in Chemistry, I began my role as a chemist in manufacturing, but it wasn’t long until I was enticed by a role as a systems tester, working for Electronic Data Systems (EDS) on the Child Support Reform programme; that was the job I thought would be a short term measure, but it lasted 16 years!
Throughout my time as a tester I’ve seen attitudes towards software testing change dramatically, from testers being viewed as people not quite good enough to be developers, or working as testers as a stepping stone, to now being seen as an exciting career in its own right.
I’m pleased that I’ve helped change that attitude; helping to build testing centres of excellence for both EDS and Hewlett Packard and their clients, and providing testers with a clear framework for career progression as part of a recognised testing job family.
Having worked across a wide range of sectors on a variety of programmes, ranging from small bespoke applications to enterprise systems and entire multi-client data centre transformations, it’s clear that regardless of the scale and nature of a project, it benefits from having a tester included from the start.
Whether or not the tester has extensive business sector knowledge, or exposure to the technology being implemented, the inquisitive nature of a tester, unafraid to ask questions, always leads to added value on a project. So often, I‘ve seen responses to testers’ questions highlight a lack of common understanding in project teams. I‘ve always viewed testers as the glue that has holds project teams together.
I’m excited to be starting on the next leg of my career at Scott Logic. Here, everyone is passionate about delivering high quality solutions to clients, constantly considering how our approach adds value to the delivery effort and the overall objective.
Adopting an Agile methodology, testers are very much a part of the delivery team, involved from the outset, and helping shape the approach to ensure products are developed with testability in mind. This is the first place I’ve worked where developers recognise that test automation is key to being able to develop and deploy applications in short timescales. We’re therefore happy to produce code in a way that makes automated tests easier and less time consuming to produce and maintain. Being tool agnostic and advocates of open source, I’m looking forward to being able to use the right tools at the right time, to help develop products that will make a real difference to clients at Scott Logic.
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