Friday, January 8, 2016

Happy Arbitrary Rollover Date

I intended to do this on January 1st, but didn't. I wanted to do it again on January 2nd, still didn't. It's now the 8th and if I don't do it now, I might just never. So here we go.

Last year was bundle of changes, surprises and challenges for me in both my professional and personal like. This is my attempt at pulling the nuggets and create some sort of highlight post of what happened last year and what I look forward to this year.

New Job

I had a serendipitous and unexpected offer for work near my home and I couldn't just refuse the offer. The past 8 years that I've worked in Manhattan for companies like nytimes.com, NBCUniversal and Viacom has been very rewarding for my career, but it did come with a price. I had a 2 hour one way commute which gave me so little time to spend with my family. I want my kids to remember me as someone who is an active participant in their lives and not just the person that sleeps through the weekends. Now, that commute has been reduced to 20 minutes.

I'm now part of the group that's under the banner of Johnson & Johnson's Commercial R&D. There's a lot of interesting stuff going on and it's definitely an interesting lateral move that enhances my ability to contribute and learn based on the problems my team is trying to solve.

New Experiences

I've had the chance to participate in a couple of conferences last year and met people for the first time who have somewhat influenced professional work. The Conferences of note are CAST2015, TestbashNYC and DrupalCon. The @NYCTesters Meetup Group has also been a very pivotal contributor to my learning. Think monthly behavioral nudges on what you can do to challenge yourself in being a better testizen. Shoutout to Anna Royzman (@QA_nna), Kate Falanga (@Squidish_QA) and Tony Gutierrez (@tgtigger77) for their relentless dedication to the testing community in the NYC Metropolitan Area. 

I've also been listening to the AB Testing Podcast and had the chance to meet with Brent Jensen (@BrentMJensen) when he was in NYC for the Strata Conference. His ideas on using data to answer interesting questions that could unveil glimpses of actual quality is very interesting to me. One central theme that have also learned from that podcast is Alan (@alanpage) and Brent's notion of combined engineering. Would be nice to have these folks in the East Coast next year ... are you listening @NYCTesters?

The other podcast that I need to give a shout out is +PerfBytes. They have churned out very interesting topics of which my top 3 must listen podcasts are, CDN, Bots (yeah!), and Streaming Performance. Check them out. 

I also met some folks for the first time when I was at CAST and TestBash NYC. Most of these folks are testers I have conversations with everyday through Matt Heusser's (@mheusser) Software Delivery 24/7 Skype Chat or through social media. Carol Brands (@CSBrands), Chris Kenst (@ckenst), Damian Synadinos (@dsynadinos), Connor Roberts (@ConnorRoberts), Vernon Richards (@TesterFromLeic), etc. Maybe for 2016 I will finally be able to shake Tim Western's (@Veretax) hand? 

On a personal note, we were able to finally bring my youngest daughter to the Philippines last year to meet my family. Trips like these are always a milestone in my family because I get to show my kids the context of where I grew up. The ability to contrast the life they are living now and what I had is definitely humbling and makes me thankful for the blessings that I have at the moment.

New Challenges

With a new job, always comes with it's own challenges. Testing jobs these days usually come in with that expectation of "automate all the things". Surprisingly, the group of managers that I am currently working with are people that really care about what they do. I am happy that they are very context driven software development managers in their own right and they don't care about useless/baseless quality metrics. Last year has definitely been a good year to establish the relationship between good testing and testability, and where automation falls in that regards. I will say this ... When it comes to Automation and Testing, the law of non-contradiction does not apply. These two can work hand in hand to make each other better. Ultimately, testers are there to test, not automate. Automation can be a result of good testing practices. 

I couldn't have attacked these challenges head on without my trusty leads at work. Thank you Yuriy Yatsenko, Sergey Yuranov, Anton Prohorchik, Valery Yatsynovich and Vaishali Antala. All your contributions to the team last year have been very instrumental to our achievements last year. 

New Year

So here we are, 2016. I've been officially a tester or at least in a testing role for 16 years, and 6 of those years in a leadership role. What's next? I can't predict the future but I do look forward to the new people I will meet, circumstances I get to experience, and challenges that help me grow as a person professionally and personally. 

I won't have all the time in the world to thank everyone, but if you weren't mentioned above don't fret, it's not you it's me. :-)

Let's go 2016.
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