Thursday, September 18, 2014

Testing Circus Magazine Article

This is my Testing Circus magazine article for their September 2014 edition. I wrote about my experience of the CAST 2014 conference via the webCAST since I wasn't able to attend in person. My article can be found on page 38, but please enjoy the other excellent articles as well! September's edition can be found on this link:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Women Testers e-Magazine Has Arrived!

by Teri Charles

If you haven't had the chance, be sure to check out the 1st edition of Women Testers e-magazine! Some great articles by some great Testers!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Can’t Get To CAST 2014 In Person?

by Teri Charles

In case you haven’t heard, the CAST 2014 conference, taking place in New York this year, is just around the corner (August 12-13). If you don’t know what CAST is, it’s the annual conference for The Association for Software Testing. The conference is currently sold out, but don’t despair! It will be streamed live for free! You'll have the chance to watch and listen to some of the best Testers in the world!

Here is the information for the live stream:

You are also able to add it to your calendar which is convenient for any schedule changes. So be sure to take advantage of that.

I was planning on going to what would have been my first CAST conference, but “life happens” and I won't be going after all. So I for one am very grateful for this live streaming. It won’t be the same as being there and meeting so many great testers I was looking forward to meeting, but it does help soften the blow!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

It’s Not Just About The Testing!

by Teri Charles

There are many aspects of being a Tester, and for me, not all of them are about doing the actual testing. One of those aspects is mentoring. There is no better feeling for me than to know I’m helping someone. We all know something, have learned something new, and have a passion for something that we can pass along to someone else. We all have the capacity to listen to someone, to be empathetic, to guide, and to pass along our experiences (some that we have learned the hard way). To me, it’s a waste of being a human being on this planet if I’m not passing along what I’ve learned in my life to someone else. And I think most mentors feel that way.

I am thinking about all of this right now because I just finished a wonderful mentoring session with my Per Scholas mentee this fine Sunday morning. Watching her journey, not just as a Tester, but as person who’s wants to grow, has been one of the most satisfying things I’ve done. She touches my heart with her integrity and spirit. She’s new in this field of ours and that’s not always easy. But watching and listening to her perseverance is powerful. And knowing I can be there for her is powerful for me.

This morning she told me that she has started her own local Meetup for new Testers. She had the first meeting yesterday and 10 people showed up! I am beyond proud of her. Here is a new Tester that wants to now start paying it forward herself. She wants to help others with what she’s experienced and learned!

She tells me I inspire her to be better. Well, let me tell you how this works. She inspires me to be better as well. Pretty cool how that happens, isn’t it?

So for me, it’s not just about testing that’s part of our job. It’s all the good juicy stuff like mentoring and helping others that’s some of the best stuff. Try it out and see where it takes YOU!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Testing Trapeze magazine - June 2014 edition!

by Teri Charles

There are several great testing magazines out there and I've decided it's important to make sure other testers know about them. So in the spirit of sharing what I know, I'm going to start blogging about the different magazines when I can and share them with all of you!

One of the newer magazines is Testing Trapeze. It is a bi-monthly testing magazine to feature testers from Australia and New Zealand.

This is why they created this magazine: We want to see a small, simple, quality magazine that amplifies the voices of testers from Australia and New Zealand, presenting a clear, consistent message of good testing practice from existing and emerging leaders. We want to demonstrate the caliber of our community and encourage new testers to join us by engaging in their work at a different level. We want to create a publication that we feel proud of, that truly represents Australia and New Zealand on the international stage; a magazine that you want to read, share and contribute to.

There are some great testers from this part of the world and I couldn't be more thrilled that they're doing this!

I just finished reading the latest edition of Testing Trapeze. So many great articles from so many different great testers! You can download and read this edition at
  • Lee Hawkins wrote a great article on his experience attending (and presenting!) at the Let's Test Conference. I have got to get to this conference some day! "Expectations and Realities Let's Test"
  • Liz Renton gave some really wonderful tips regarding when you join a project late in the process. How many of us have had to do that? Great info! “Joining a Complex Project Late in the Process”!
  • Alice Chu & Nicola Owen gave a fantastic summary on their BBST experience (Association for Software Testing)! They touched on some of their challenges as well as the many positive experiences. Brought me back to my own experiences with BBST! "BBST Foundations: An Experience Report"
  • Oliver Erlewein talked about some of the many challenges and solutions in having an engaged teams of testers. He gave me lots to think about! "A Crazy Idea for Engaging Tester in the Future"
  • Pete Walen shared such great insight and tips for using mind maps in your testing. I too love using mind maps, but I learned a lot of new things from Pete in this article! "Visualizing Success: Requirement Review, Impact Analysis and Test Planning with Mind Maps"
Bottom line, do yourself a favor and check out Testing Trapeze. This is a fantastic magazine you should be sure to read! I for one am already looking forward to the next edition!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

My Journey to Learn How to Code - Part 3

by Teri Charles

As I mentioned in my first post on this journey (part 1), coding has never come easy for me. All brains work in different ways and that’s okay! One of the things I came to realize is that I needed to get comfortable with some of the basic concepts of programming. Those things that are common in just about every programming language, such as Variables, If/Then/Else statements, and Loops.

What better way to really wrap my brain around these concepts once and for all, and that’s to teach them!

I, along with Jennifer Skiendzielewski, recently created a class for GDIBoulder (a local group I’m very involved in that helps people to learn how to code) titled “Introduction to Programming Concepts (for True Beginners!)".

We created this class for people such as myself, people that are just starting to learn how to code but need a little help on their journey. I’m excited to say that over 30 people signed up for this class, so we knew we were on to something! It was a great experience and the positive feedback we got after the class was fantastic. Our goal was to give people some of the basic tools they would need when they take programming classes, understand a bit more about what was going on, and hopefully not be intimidated.

This will now be an ongoing class for GDIBoulder, and Jennifer and I will be the teachers for this class going forward. Along with the class, we’ll also be conducting a follow up workshop after each class is taught to let people practice and solidify what they just learned from the class.

And for me, creating and teaching this class is not only part of my journey to continually learn things to be a better Tester (such as increasing my technical skills, as well as being able to dive in deeper to find even more bugs), but it also touches on my love of teaching others and passing along any knowledge that comes my way!

Here is the detailed slides we created for the class. I hope it helps you as well!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

My Journey to Learn How to Code - Part 2

by Teri Charles

I have accomplished one of my first goals in this journey of mine to learn how to code this year!

I have finished the six week online HTML/CSS class with Skillcrush! The final project for this class is creating your own online portfolio from scratch using HTML and CSS.

You can find my portfolio at!

I've always been a minimalist and you'll notice my portfolio reflects that. I wanted a "clean" look to it. You'll also notice something on the Home page that is near and dear to my Tester's heart, and that is a Moleskine notebook! James Bach and Michael Bolton introduced me to these through some of their writings (click on their names to see articles about using Moleskines). I use them all the time now for testing ideas, notes while I'm testing, drawing out mindmaps, etc. James even gave one to all of us that attended his RST (Rapid Software Testing) course. So I couldn't think of a better image for my portfolio!

The other thing that was important to me was to stretch myself and take my skills and learning up a notch, so I used Git/GitHub to manage my site. I've been wanting to learn Git/GitHub for a while because it's used where I work. As I said in Part 1 in My Journey to Learn How to Code, the best way for me to learn something was to have a project to work on. Use it or lose it! By having the portfolio assignment, it was a perfect thing to use to increase my skills with something like Git/GitHub. I am by no means a Git/GitHub expert yet, but I'm in the process of learning it from a little help from my friends by doing the following:
  • Two workshops on Git/GitHub I've taking through GDIBoulder (a local Meetup) with a fantastic instructor, Tim Berglund.
  • Some awesome one-on-one help from Cara Jo Miller. Cara Jo is a great friend, the Lead Designer at Simple Energy, and the founder and co-leader of GDIBoulder.
  • Simple Energy, a local Boulder company, provided a great space for Cara Jo and I to work in. They are also a wonderful supporter of GDIBoulder!
I learned how to setup my repo (repository), branches, commit changes, push those changes, and merge so that my master branch and feature branch are the same. These kinds of things are a whole new language for me! A month ago I had no idea what repo, branches, commit, push, and merge meant in Git. Now look at me!

Next up is to start designing my software tester's website as well as a JavaScript class with Skillcrush in March.

I still have so much to learn and I want to keep growing my skills with HTML/CSS. I have no doubt that as I'm learning more and my skills increase, that I will be tweaking and making changes to my portfolio. I learned a lot creating my portfolio, but it's only the beginning. I have to keep practicing and growing, but I'm anticipating that I'll learn a lot more as I'm creating my tester's website!

I hope you're enjoying this journey with me! Glad to have you along for the ride!

Monday, February 10, 2014

My Journey to Learn How to Code - Part 1

by Teri Charles

I’ve set a big goal for myself this year. This is the year I’m going to learn how to code.

You see, I’m always looking for ways to be a better Software Tester. That can be through reading books on testing, trainings, participating in Weekend Testing groups, running the local Boulder QA Meetup, reading other Tester’s blogs, writing about testing in my own blog, belonging to different testing organizations, going to testing conferences, mentoring, and practicing testing.

But I want to take the learning of my craft to an entirely different level. I want to go deeper. And for me, that’s learning how to code. The more I know about the code I’m testing, the better Tester I will be. I can ask better questions, I can understand more deeply what’s going on with the code, it will help with test automation, help with API testing, and many other things. And it will open my mind to more possibilities of where my testing can go.

We all have different gifts and coding has never been one of mine, but it’s not for the lack of trying. For years, I’ve tried many times, but it’s usually resulted in throwing the programming book across the room!

But something happened to me this past year. I realized I was tired at failing at this endeavor. But most importantly, I was tired of ‘wishing’ I knew how to code. Just wishing for it was bringing me no where closer to doing it. And I made a big decision that I either needed have a breakthrough in learning how to code this year…or just stop thinking about it and move on.

So after all of my other failed attempts, I needed to come up with a plan. I’m a Tester! Of course I had to come up with a plan!

The first thing I decided was I needed to have a specific project. It needed to be something I cared about that would help me learn and that as I was learning, I could continue to build off of. Every other time I attempted to learn how to code, I didn’t use it right away, so of course I would lose it. I also knew it needed to be more than "I'm going to learn a programming language". That feels very daunting, very big, and very ambiguous to me. I've tried this before and it wasn't working. So I thought about what I mostly test, and that's web applications. So what better to focus on than have it be something I was already familiar with and worked on everyday.

I also wanted to make it a small enough project that I knew it was realistic that I would be able to accomplish it sooner rather than later. So, here’s what I came up with.

My master plan is to learn how to build my own website. And not just any website, but a website on Software Testing resources to help other Testers, something near and dear to my heart that you'll find in a lot of posts in my blog.
-I will first learn HTML/CSS to create the website.
-I will then learn JavaScript to add something (that can be a small ‘something’) to the website. I don’t know what that is yet, but I will.
-I will then begin to learn Python to add something else to the website (again, it can be a little ‘something’).
-Bonus: I want to also learn how to use things like Git/GitHub and Bootstrap during this process.

-I’m doing this through a local group, GDIBoulder. How lucky am I that a group such as this is in my own backyard! Their mission is to help people learn how to code. Perfect for me! So far I’ve taken their Beginning HTML/CSS class and their Intermediate HTML/CSS class. GDI Boulder also has monthly Code and Coffee's where I can ask for help on things I'm learning and help on my website. I can't say enough good things about this group. They've changed my life!
-I am also doing this through a group called Skillcrush. Another wonderful group that I was lucky enough to hear about. I am currently taking their 6 week online class on HTML/CSS. More to come on this in a future post.

2. JavaScript:
-I’ve taken GDIBoulder’s JavaScript class. I’ll be honest, I struggled in this class. So, my plan is to take it again the next time GDIBoulder offers it. And if I have to, I’ll take it again.
-I will also be taking Skillcrush’s next 3 week JavaScript and API online class as soon as it's offered.

3. Python:
-Okay, this is a big one for me. I actually love learning HTML/CSS. Maybe because I like the ‘artistry’ of it. But Python scares me a bit. Heck, programming scares me a lot! But I’ve talked to different people I trust and respect, and Python seems to be a language that they feel I can learn. Plus, it’s something I will be able to use for test automation in the future.
-I’ve taken GDIBoulder’s Python class. And yes, it was tough for me. But the good news is, I didn’t throw anything across the room! I stuck with the class and learned some things. But I know me, and I have to learn something like this by actually using it. So as soon as I’m in a more solid place with my HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, I will tackle Python more thoroughly and slay that dragon sometime this year! Then I will figure out a way to incorporate it into my website. But I do have bigger plans for Python other than my website, such as test automation. But more on that in the future as it’s actually happening!

So, that’s it in a very high-level and simplistic nutshell. I don’t know where this will take me, but I am determined I’m not going to give up. I can’t explain it, but I know this is something I must do for me. I won’t lie, it’s a big challenge for me. I think it’s pretty obvious in this post, but coding doesn’t come easy for me (like for a lot of people!). What I’m planning to do won’t be easy, but as I said before…it won’t be for the lack of trying! And if you read a bit of yourself through this post, I hope my journey inspires you! Wish me luck because I sure wish you luck as well!