Today's Big Picture


July 25, 2011  8:37 AM

The IT Files – Abbie Caracostas – Part 2

Shilpa Venkateshwaran Shilpa Venkateshwaran Profile: Shilpa Venkateshwaran

Personal growth and continuous learning – how important is this in our times?

That saying, “Your future is what you make of it” comes to mind.  In my opinion, continuously learning and deepening your knowledge leads to personal growth and it is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Continuous learning is a way for you to research and practice new skills, methodologies and techniques, as well as, deepen your knowledge of the skills, methodologies and techniques you are already using. I am not sure how far you can go in any profession by staying stagnant and odds are that the person sitting next to you or across from you spends some time reading books, articles, blogs, participating in local meet ups, or maybe even reaching out to some of the leading thinkers. The best part is continuous learning does not have to have a price tag associated with it.  Looking for a place to get started? Check out my blog roll in question 7!

Which testing conference did you have the most fun in?

This is a tough one for me! To me, each conference gets a little better than the last because I learn something from each event. I do a lot of my own observation and evaluation and I also have conversations with speakers and participants to find out what they liked about the conference and what they didn’t like about the conference.  I’ve enjoyed the three conferences I have attended; on the other hand, I am looking forward to our fall conference in Dallas. So the short answer is, there is much more fun to come!

What does attending a professional conference give the attendees?

One of the biggest benefits to attending a professional conference is the opportunity for face to face networking building relationships with other testers and thought leaders. Conferences bring together attendees from around globe, all industries, and all company sizes together, with so many differences; they all share at least one commonality….the passion for their craft. You participate in sessions, eat lunch, ride in elevators, and go to happy hour with people who are doing similar things you do.  These relationships can transform beyond the conference to knowledge sharing and cooperative learning.  Another piece to relationship building is the opportunity to meet and have conversations with the speakers and thought leaders. 

From a content perspective, STP focuses more on an experienced tester. So the educational part of the conference is geared towards the newest testing techniques and tools, as well as managing and leading a team of testers. We offer multiple tracks that cover the wide spectrum of testing topics, like: Performance Testing, Test Automation, Testing Specialized Applications, and Leading a Test Team…just to name a few. 

In short, most participants leave the conference feeling energized and ready to go back to their company and implement what they have learned.

July 25, 2011  8:32 AM

The IT Files – Abbie Caracostas – Part 1

Shilpa Venkateshwaran Shilpa Venkateshwaran Profile: Shilpa Venkateshwaran

Abbie brings nearly 10 years of experience to her role as the Director of Professional Development and Training. Prior to joining Redwood Collaborative Media, she was instrumental in designing and managing training and professional development programs for the help desk and IT services profession.

I had a chance to get to know her more and here is the interview.

What is your typical day at work like?

Anything but typical! I start my morning by checking the STP website for new articles so I can tweet about them and new comments so I can follow up on them if I need to.  Then I check on all the blogs I follow, read any new posts and comments. From there, it’s just depends on what projects I am currently working on.  Right now I am knee deep in program planning for the STP Fall 2011 conference. So I have been doing a lot of correspondence with speakers. I am also working on our new online event series, the STP Online Summits hosted by Scott Barber.  Those two projects are keeping me really busy these days.

Can you talk about the Software Test Professionals and your role? How long have you been with Redwood and what do you do?

Software Test Professionals (STP) is a community aimed at serving software test and quality assurance professionals across the globe by providing content, education, and networking opportunities.  We publish ST&QA magazine every other month and host two annual STP Conferences. This community is created by testers, for testers and our goal is to stay on top of the trends that shape testing. 

My “official” title is Manager of Professional Development, but I think of myself more as a relationship builder. Most of my work involves conferences, webcasts, and training.  I am the person who works behind the scenes with our conference participants, program board, speakers and contributors to make sure they have what they need order to make the STP conference experience top notch.  You’ll also see me onsite either working behind the registration desk or managing all of our session breakout rooms at the STP conferences. My favorite part of my job is meeting conference participants and speakers in person at the events. 

 


July 18, 2011  6:55 AM

The IT Files – Ajoy Kumar Singha – Part 3

Shilpa Venkateshwaran Shilpa Venkateshwaran Profile: Shilpa Venkateshwaran

What do you do when you are not working?

 

I don’t know when I don’t work. I work more on weekends than my office weekdays. Testing Circus, Testers Meet and my teaching classes keep me busy on weekends. But whenever I get time, I love to read books, watch movies specially war movies, listen to Kishore Kumar, read Chetan Bhagat. Sometimes I do photography.

 

What is a skill or strength that sets you apart from others?

 

I don’t have any special skills that other does not have. It is just that I do my things passionately. If you do things that you love to do, you do not get tired. That is my mantra.

 

What (or who) inspires you?

 

All my teachers, mentors, my family. I read lots of biographies. When I see common people becoming successful by dedication and hard work, I start to believe more about myself. Every successful man has a story and I try to get inspiration from their stories.

 

How has social media changed your life?

 

I do not use facebook a lot. But twitter definitely has changed my life. I am connected with other testers through twitter and 70% of the Testing Circus articles come from my twitter population. If you can use social media properly it surely helps in your professional life.

 

Do you blog? Your blog and twitter link if you would like to share with the readers?

 

Yes, I do blog sometimes. Most of my blog posts are on the subjects on which I have strong opinion. My blog may not be as reader friendly as other testing blogs are.

http://ajoysingha.blogspot.com

http://twitter.com/ajoysingha 


July 18, 2011  6:47 AM

The IT Files – Ajoy Kumar Singha – Part 2

Shilpa Venkateshwaran Shilpa Venkateshwaran Profile: Shilpa Venkateshwaran

Personal growth and continuous learning – how important is this in our times?

 

I keep on saying this to everyone. Without continuous learning you are just becoming older every day. In today’s times it is very important that you keep on learning and seek personal growth. Do not become old, become wiser.

 

Quality – what is your definition or understanding?

 

For me quality is satisfaction.

 

Six Sigma is usually successful in manufacturing. What is its role in software development and how have you applied it so far?

 

Six Sigma started as a tool for manufacturing industry. But the concept can be implemented in any process. If we see software development as a process, we can use Six Sigma to improve our processes. In HCL we have used this successfully to optimize our process and remove slackness. Our improvement ideas are happily accepted by our clients and being implemented. If you understand the core concept of Six Sigma, it can do wonders. Do not take Six Sigma as number; understand it from behavioural and cultural change perspective.

 

Name your favourite book on Software Testing?

 

Number of good books but I won’t name any particular book here. I am waiting for Pradeep Soundararajan to finish his book. Pradeep, are you reading this?

 

Who is your hero?

APJ Abdul Kalam – ex-president of India. He is such a good man and huge inspiration to youngsters in the country.


July 18, 2011  6:42 AM

The IT Files – Ajoy Kumar Singha – Part 1

Shilpa Venkateshwaran Shilpa Venkateshwaran Profile: Shilpa Venkateshwaran

Ajoy Kumar Singha works in HCL Technologies Ltd, Gurgaon as a project lead for a testing team. His experience includes working on platform independent middleware products to search engine testing in Solaris and Mainframe platforms. He is one of the recognized Subject Matter Experts for Software Testing that HCL have. Ajoy runs a monthly magazine “Testing Circus” which published various articles and interesting features on software testing. Ajoy is also involved in many testing initiatives in India. In December 2010 along with Vipul Kocher and Vipul Gupta, he started testers’ monthly meet in India. Ajoy teaches and trains testers in weekends. Ajoy loves working on process improvement areas in testing project management. He is a certified six sigma professional.

Testing circus – how did it start? Where do you see it in 5 years? 

India is the centre of many testing innovations. We have given lots of initiatives in testing that you see around the testing world today. I wanted to be deeply associated with one of such initiatives last year. I did not get a chance to do that. So I took it as a healthy challenge and thought of doing something that was not already done in India. There were testing magazines available around the world but most of those magazines were not regular, some are just voice of some organizations, some talked of only testing philosophy and theories. I wanted to produce one such magazine which will have a blend of every possible thing around testing, making it suitable for both newbie and experts. Testing Circus includes features and all sorts of topics that help you learn testing, connect with other testers, expose bad practices in testing and try to promote testing as a respectable profession. Encouragement and some timely help from Vipul Kocher and my testing friends have helped me start Testing Circus, India’s first regular monthly software testing magazine. 

We are almost one year old now. I am thankful to everyone who made it possible for us to publish Testing Circus regularly every month. We are self financed and our team is doing a great job. If we continue to do like this with the help of testing guys, I see Testing Circus as the voice of testing community in next five years.

Testers monthly meet – what do you do and who attends them?

Testers’ monthly meet is a monthly event organized by testers. Every meet is announced in advance. We ask organizations to sponsor venue for a half day meet. In these meets usually 2-3 topics are presented by speakers, we have something called problem on the table where testers can describe the problems they are facing in their real projects and can seek advice, suggestions on the same. Also in the key notes section we allow everyone to speak for five minutes on any free flow topics related to testing. Started in December last year, this initiative is a brain child of Vipul Kocher, Vipul Gupta and me. The concept is replicated now in almost every major city in India with the help of Indian Testing Board and actively supported by testers from the respective cities. 

 

 


July 1, 2011  6:59 AM

The IT Files – Dhanasekar Subramaniam – Part 2

Shilpa Venkateshwaran Shilpa Venkateshwaran Profile: Shilpa Venkateshwaran

What are some lessons you have learned about software testing that you wish you had known long ago or you wish someone had told you about?

Personal experience is the best teacher. You’ll rarely repeat the mistakes if you learn lessons on your own.  In this process you will also learn a lot more lessons that is not possible in any other way.

Name your favorite book on Software Testing?

1. Lessons learned in software testing: a context-driven approach
2. Perfect Software: And Other Illusions about Testing
3. Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Wish list: To read all of Jerry’s books (currently started with Quality management)

Who is your hero?

Periyar E.V. Ramasamy, Thiruvalluvar and A.R Rahman

What do you do when you are not working?

Listen to Music especially AR Rahman songs, Watch animation and historic warfare movies. I am a big fan of Lord of Rings. Play computer games – racing games and Role Playing Games.

What is a skill or strength that sets you apart from others?

I rarely repeat my mistakes. I don’t blindly believe any news, ideology, technique or theory before analyzing it myself and until I am convinced.

What (or who) inspires you?

Curiosity to learn and understanding systems, finding solution to problems is my inspiration. Added to heroes mentioned above Steve jobs and Jonathan Ive of Apple, from software testing James Bach, Jerry Weinberg, Jonathan Kohl, Dr.Cem Kaner, Michael Bolton and Pradeep Soundararajan

Do you blog?

You blog and twitter link if you would?http://testingideas.wordpress.com – Blog is dedicated to software testing.@sdhanasekar– Check my bio before you decide to follow me. I tweet about A.R Rahman, in Tamil, about Apple and atheism in addition to topics in software testing


July 1, 2011  6:54 AM

The IT Files – Dhanasekar Subramaniam – Part 1

Shilpa Venkateshwaran Shilpa Venkateshwaran Profile: Shilpa Venkateshwaran

“Pragmatist, Sapient Software tester, Automation Checker, Practising Context driven testing, Strongly believes Questioning leads to Progress, Hakuna matata.Take life as it comes and make it beautiful, blog at http://testingideas.wordpress.com/and tweets @sdhanasekar. Favorite quote “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.“– Neale Donald Walsch”

I was lucky to have a chance to know and talk to Dhanasekar. Here is what I learnt:

Personal growth and continuous learning – how important is this in our times?

If I miss to check my RSS reader, twitter or email one day, there are thousands of unread items next day.  Apple releases a breakthrough product every year, Google releases interesting new software every quarter.

Tell us about how you got into testing and what is it that keeps you here in this industry? Did you adopt testing or did testing adopt you?

Thanks for asking this. I got an interesting history to share. I started my career as game tester, one of my friends is a hard core gamer and his ambition was to become a game tester, and he did achieve that. I later joined as game tester, I am also a big fan of computer games but never thought that I can make career out of it, so decided to look for a different role. Later in one of the interviews I scored 35 or 37 out of 50, those who scored between 30 and 40 were put into testing and candidate who scored above 40 became developers. The written test had 35 math and aptitude questions and 15 English questions. I gave correct answers for most of the math plus aptitude questions, so my lack of English knowledge got me into testing.

Any advice for new or young testers? <<<<  Shilpa, I don’t  like (even young testers won’t ) the word advice how about changing that to ‘Secret of Success’ or ‘tips’? :)

>>>>>>Be curious, be alert. Learn to priorities your needs. “And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
Structured or unstructured testing – which side do you lean towards?Context Driven Testing.

Quality – what is your definition or understanding?

Quality in software to me means simplicity, it should obey not trouble you.


June 23, 2011  10:29 AM

The IT Files – Parimala Shankaraiah – Part 3

Shilpa Venkateshwaran Shilpa Venkateshwaran Profile: Shilpa Venkateshwaran

What do you do when you are not working?
I spend time with my family, especially my kids. I also love to read books and go on long walks. And lots of sleep :)
 
What is a skill or strength that sets you apart from others?
Emotional Intelligence and Collaboration.
 
What (or who) inspires you?
Life inspires me. My kids inspire me the most these days.
 
My 4 yo daughter has taught me a lot about Metrics and Estimation. The other day, I bought her some finger chips. I asked her to give me 10 pieces of those to me. She negotiated telling she’ll give me 2. I said, I won’t accept less than 5. All she did was pick up 1 finger chip, cut it into 5 pieces and hand it over to me.
 
This is what happens when people manage by numbers!
 
Do you blog? Your blog and twitter link if you would like to share.
I write about Testing at http://curioustester.blogspot.com/
I write about Writing about Testing at http://thefieldstonemethod.blogspot.com/
My twitter ID – @curioustester


June 23, 2011  10:26 AM

The IT Files – Parimala Shankaraiah – Part 2

Shilpa Venkateshwaran Shilpa Venkateshwaran Profile: Shilpa Venkateshwaran

Quality – what is your definition or understanding?
Quality is about keeping customers happy and satisfied, making them keep coming to you for more and who wouldn’t mind paying you more for solving their problems. Appears to be an open ended question. I hope I did some justice here.
 
What are some lessons you have learned about software testing that you wish you had known long ago or you wish someone had told you about?
I wish I had known many lessons listed in “Perfect Software: And Other Illusions about Testing” long ago. It would have opened up a lot more avenues in testing early on in my career. Better late than never! This is one of those “Punch in your Face” books that one can give to people who demonize testing. Yes, It’s a Punch in your Face book.

Name your favorite book on Software Testing?
‘Lessons Learned in Software Testing’ is my Software Testing favourite. ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ is my favourite book for life!
 
Who is your hero?
My family is my all-time hero. They support me in everything I do inspite of thinking that I am mad to be doing many things in my career which doesn’t  make much sense to them.
 
In Software Testing, my heroes are Pradeep Soundararajan, Vipul Kocher, Rahul Verma, Dhanasekar, Santhosh Tuppad, Jerry Weinberg, Lisa Crispin, Elizabeth Hendrickson, James Bach, Michael Bolton, Dr. Cem Kaner and as always the awesome Software Testing Community (on Software Testing Club, on Twitter, Testing Circus folks) that rocks.


June 23, 2011  10:25 AM

The IT Files – Parimala Shankaraiah – Part 1

Shilpa Venkateshwaran Shilpa Venkateshwaran Profile: Shilpa Venkateshwaran

A name associated with initiating weekend testing. A name associated with writing about testing and not being afraid to express thoughts on testing and about testing. The name is Parimala. I was lucky to get to know her more and you can too. Read on.  

Parimala Shankaraiah has eight years of experience in testing, managing and mentoring teams of software testers. Apart from testing that she is most passionate about, she loves mentoring upcoming testers and has mentored over 30 testers. She frequently writes about her testing experiences at Curious Tester. She is also a regular contributor of articles on testing and issues concerning testing. Apart from testing, she loves to play with her daughter, read books, magazines, articles and many more. She is a self-claimed emotional over-eater who eats to beat every emotion in the world.

Personal growth and continuous learning – how important is this in our times?
Continuous Learning results in Personal Growth in one way or the other. It’s very important to know current trends, pick what works for you, put it into action and see if it brings the results you are expecting.
It’s important to understand that learning is a life-long activity be it in Software testing or Life!
 
Tell us about how you got into testing and what is it that keeps you here in this industry? Did you adopt testing or did testing adopt you?
Once I graduated, I attended many interviews. The one I cleared was for Software testing. I think Testing adopted me. What keeps me here is the energy and enthusiasm surrounding this profession, being able to learn continuously and still have lots more to learn.
 
Any advice for new or young testers?
Curiosity is key. If you are curious, one thing will lead to another and many more. Follow your heart!
 
Structured or unstructured testing – which side do you lean towards?
Both as the context demands. No leanings toward anything yet. Still discovering!


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