Five for Friday – July 26, 2019

I have now managed to keep my publishing trend of 4 weeks straight with this post! Here are five links worth exploring:

Alright this is slightly more than five links worth exploring but you get the idea. Did I miss anything important?

You don’t have to be an expert to teach

You don’t have to be an expert to teach someone else, you just need to know a little more than they do.

Years ago when I became an assistant scuba instructor, I was able to provide huge value to new students despite my having far less diving experience than all of the other instructors. Simply being able to help them out when I could and knowing the process meant a great deal. On the plus side I learned a lot from the questions they would ask, such that it made me a much better assistant (and eventually full) instructor.

For the same reason I started teaching AST-BBST, I wanted to learn more about the material. I probably wasn’t the best student (frankly I don’t know how well I did in the classes other than passing it) but I loved the information so much I wanted to get more exposure to it. Over time as I interacted with hundreds of students and dozens of instructors I feel like I’ve become exposed to more ideas and absorbed more information than I would have without it. I’m no expert but I’m probably better than most.

All of this is to say the Association for Software Testing is always looking for instructors to help teach classes. The class itself is free (once you’ve successfully completed one AST-BBST class you qualify) but the lessons you learn are incredibly valuable.

Do things that don’t scale

If you can find someone with a problem that needs solving and you can solve it manually, go ahead and do that for as long as you can, and then gradually automate the bottlenecks. – Paul Graham

With the title of Automation Engineer it might seem like automating bottlenecks is “my jam” and therefore “do[ing] things that don’t scale” might seem kind of an odd thing for me to agree with. However it turns out this is a useful way to think through solutions to problems, including testing problems.

From a business standpoint this makes a lot of sense, why waste time automating something until you are sure it has value? Many startups have blown through money building solutions to things (or automating problems) that aren’t actually important (or real problems). If you are an established company and thinking of branching into a new market segment, it’s ok to do everything by hand at first: signing up customers, placing orders, building website, etc.

From a software standpoint this also makes a lot of sense. Don’t worry about automating bottlenecks like test setup or execution until:

  1. You are sure the tests have value (business or technical) AND
  2. They’ve become bottlenecks to delivery

Otherwise don’t waste your time.

How I Became An Automation Engineer

Have you ever wondered what an Automation Engineer is or what they do? I’ve never found a great definition so I shared my experiences on How I Became an Automation Engineer and what that first year has looked like: the good, bad and the ok. I also talked a bit about the future of this role and the many challenges I see it facing (which might be a bit controversial).

Watch Now




Since the OnlineTestConf I’ve given this talk a few more times, the latest video you can find on my list of Publications. I’ve also written up some FAQs in case that helps!