Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - A Year in Review

by Teri Charles

One of my favorite things to do is taking stock, looking at what I've done, what do I want to do next, and how can I keep growing, learning, and improving. This is something I have always done in life in general as a person, but it holds a special place for me as a Tester. And this time of year is a perfect time to reflect on my past year as a Tester.

James Bach and RST
One of the biggest highlights this year for me to was to attend Rapid Software Testing (RST) with James Bach in Orcas Island, Washington. Getting to spend a week with James is one of the highlights of my career.  And I admit it, I geeked out and had to pinch myself a few times that I was in the same room with James Bach. Learning from James about RST was great, but more important to me was getting to connect with him, having meals together, and having one-on-one conversations with him. I made a decision before I even arrived on the island to put myself out there, take chances, and experience every single thing that I could. And I did. And it changed me. I left wanting to be a better Tester, a better contributor to the testing community, a better learner, and a better leader. And I am blessed to say that one of the things James said to me in private was that he wanted me to teach. He saw something in me and I'm glad he voiced it. That had a profound effect on me and I've taken it to heart.

Giving back
One of my goals this year was to start a local Meetup group for Testers in Boulder, Colorado. Lucky for me, right before I was about to start the Meetup, some other folks started one! But within a few weeks, I became one of the co-organizers of the group. Community is something that is near and dear to my heart. My passion is helping others to learn, grow, and have the support they need. This Meetup has also given me the chance to take James's words to heart. I've had the opportunity present and teach and it's something I want to do more of.

Challenging myself
This was a year that I decided to challenge myself in getting more technical to help me to be an even better Tester. I started that journey by not only taking courses from sites like Udemy and Codeacademy, but I was lucky enough to join a new group in Boulder called GDIBoulder. It's an amazing group of women who want to help other women (and men) to learn how to code. How fortunate I've been to get involved with this group, and I've got some great new friendships as well! I've taken every class they've offered which includes, HTML, CSS, Javascript, a Git workshop, along with code and coffee sessions. I'm looking forward to next year's classes! Python, here I come!

One of my other passions is writing. I never seem to do as much as I would like, but it definitely is one of my goals to do more of it in 2014. But I am proud of the posts I've written in my blog, and very excited that I had my first article published (Tea-time with Testers). I hope to do more of that this year!

I ended 2013 getting promoted to Software Test Lead for the company I work for. I enjoy mentoring and leading. I had been doing the job unofficially, and it was nice to be recognized and I appreciate my company having faith in me to lead the team. But now I want to help my team even more and do all I can to help them grow and succeed. That's the fun stuff!

I started this year knowing I wanted to continue my growth as a Tester. This journey is not just what I've listed above, but it's also doing things like contributing to our worldwide testing community through Twitter (and getting to know some amazing people as well!), reading and commenting on other Tester's blog posts, sharing what I've learned on my own blog and one-on-one with other Testers, joining a new Tester's group call ISST (International Society for Software Testers) as well as taking some of their first webinars, keeping up with articles on groups like the Software Testing Club, donating to groups like @PerScholas and @BlackGirlsCode who are doing so much for our communities, reading books, mentoring, mindmapping, Weekend Testing, practice testing, and much more. It's all part of the journey and what a journey 2013 has been! I can't wait to see what 2014 brings my way!

Teri Charles