The Journey : Early Days to How I Got Here
I have donned various hats during my career - Developer, Tester, Test Lead, Manager, Delivery Manager before taking on my current role. The key is to not lose sight of the bigger picture of what we want to achieve all along.
Presently, I am involved in formulating testing process & methodologies, presales and delivery of independent testing assignments, build testing practice and services and overall in charge of P&L of Testing Practice at Collabera.Decisions That Mattered
I have taken many important career decisions along the way. Here are few of them, which are quite unconventional and have made me stronger as a person.
• There was a time when Testing was not considered as an alluring career path, but I made a conscious decision to move from Development to Testing
• Simultaneously, playing multiple roles on different projects which were extremely challenging to say the least. I worked as a Development Lead for one project and as a Test Lead for another at the same time
• Flexibility in working on different aspects of Test Engineering (Manual, Automation, Performance)
• Driving the Testing of 2 verticals
All the above helped me shaping up better and take on the challenges head-on; I always believe in the mantra of dreaming big, being very passionate in and committed to everything I do.
The Turning PointsThere have been two noteworthy ones.
In one of my earlier jobs, my core mandate was to do routine functional testing, there was a catch - since the application was a statistical one for loss estimation due to natural calamities, it also required testers to understand the model and do a parallel implementation in basic Excel, while the developers created it in C++. This really changed my perspective - from being a normal tester to a business use tester. I was able to use my analytical skills to the core. I was amazed by how a Tester could challenge a Developer on the implementation related to business logic, design, code quality. Those were my most satisfying days as a tester.
Another instance was when I took the position of Delivery Manager from a Project manager. There was a paradigm shift needed for my thought process. I now had a bigger business canvas to understand and address - to connect business imperatives with the test engineering work. The dynamics changed a lot for Planning and Strategy.Work and Role: Then and Now
My current role is primarily a strategic one. It includes identifying the focus areas for growing the Testing practice and being completely responsible for the profitability of my Practice. Two Years down the Line
As I mentioned earlier, I believe in aiming to the sky! I will most probably start my own Testing Services Company. Apart from this, I do have a bunch of personal dreams to fulfill - the primary ones being active involvement in community service and significant contribution to the education system at large.
What I Learnt Along the Way
Project Management will become easy if you can relate an instance/ incident from your life and try to create an analogy - and accordingly draw some learning(s) from it. I believe in the adage 'Learning starts at home'. I consider myself very fortunate for having had the opportunity to learn the basics of management from my Grandmother and my Father. The way in which we react and manage basic things in life goes a long way in shaping our career.Changing Days: Lessons Learnt
During my initial days, Testing wasn't even considered a clear career stream. Automation Testing was nascent, no specific trainings or workshops were available for Testing. The industry has come a long way from then. Testing is one of the sought after career options today and offers a wide variety of choices as well. There are companies who are into Independent Testing Services and have made it big.Trends to Watch Out For
Cloud & Virtualization are two key paradigms I am keeping a close watch on. These two will demand a lot of unlearning and new learning for testers. My Advice If You are Starting Out
Dream, Fire, Passion, Hunger and Commitment should be the key words. Only if you are passionate about Quality and Testing should you choose this as a career.
Must Focus Areas for the Future
Automation Testing, Scenario based testing, Business focus Testing, Dimension of multi-channel Testing including Mobility are some areas I believe will be sought after in the days to come.Do We Need Certifications?
PMP certification has helped me leverage my experience in many projects with a clear perspective. In my opinion, experience is the best teacher. To give a kick-start to one's career, testers can do CSTE.Books/ Websites I Recommend
Rex Black's book on 'Managing the Testing Process' is a good one. Another good book is 'Lessons Learned in Software Testing' by CemKaner, James Bach and Bret Pettichord.
A few noteworthy websites are: www.sqatester.com
, www.stickyminds.comLast But Not Least
I think our families play an important role in our success. If your support system is not equipped, then you are likely to struggle in your professional life.