A small contribution to the next generation of software engineering professionals

I just took part in my first ever Google Hangouts video call (and the technology worked very well). The call was with a group of three undergraduate students from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and came about as a result of my response to the call for participation in a “Test Management Survey”. The survey was run by A Quality Leadership Institute – founded by Anna Royzman – in partnership with the well-known testing consultant, trainer and speaker, Rob Sabourin (who teaches at McGill too).

Although I’d seen Rob present at conferences, my first opportunity to spend quality time with him came during the OZWST 2013 peer conference held at Google’s offices in Sydney. Rob acted as content owner for the conference and he did an incredible job. He showed a genuine interest during my experience report (which was on implementing session-based exploratory testing with an offshore testing team in China) and it was great to spend time with him outside of the workshop to discuss some more. Since then, Rob has been a great supporter of my work and his passion & encouragement to share my story has led to me give a number of international conference presentations. So, when I heard that Rob was involved in this Test Management Survey, it was a good chance for me to give something back to him – albeit quite indirectly – in thanks for his inspiration, mentorship and support over the last few years.

The call for participation in the survey indicated the following:

McGill University undergraduate students of the course “ECSE 428 Software Engineering Practice” prepare a paper and short research project as part of their assignment work.

In the winter 2016 Semester, January through April 2016, groups of 4 students will research software engineering process from the perspective of software test management.

Each group of students will interview two software test managers from different organizations.

Interviews will be done in person, via phone, skype, facetime or similar technologies.

The interview questions seemed to be in part scripted and in part left to the guys to follow leads as they came up during my answers. This is a great idea, bringing some real life experience of testing into the view of the bright young next generation of software engineers. Their questions were sensible and, as most of my recent experience has been with agile teams using exploratory testing, my answers appeared to be of genuine interest to them (maybe because they fell outside of the theory they’d been taught?). Hopefully some of this research will be made available as it would be really interesting to see the conclusions these students come to after speaking to a diverse range of test managers from all over the world during the course of their research.

I think it’s important to give back to the testing community to help it become stronger and encourage newer players to enjoy the great career that testing can offer. This interview was a small contribution in the grand scheme of things, of course, but sharing experiences is what helps us all to improve the way we work. I also volunteer for the excellent Speak Easy initiative and this is helping to bring lots of great new voices to the conference circuit (including one for the conference I am co-organizing in Melbourne in May, Australian Testing Days!). I am enjoying co-organizing the Melbourne TEAM testing meetups too and it’s great to meet engaged testers who are actively looking for opportunities to learn and improve themselves.

 

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