Do we need QAs/testers?

 

“Do we (still) need QAs?”

… and flavours thereof, is a question I have been hearing for years now.

The same has been asked of Tech Leads, Operations Engineers, “Front End” devs, “Back End” devs, Security, Iteration Managers/Scrum Masters, Business Analysts, etc. Anything that is not a full-stack dev. The #NoOps conversation is interesting research material.

It seems to me that this question stems from a misinterpretation of agile and lean startup materials.

Idealistic hopes of cutting costs, removing waste (and blindly classifying some roles as such), delivering faster, etc., have caused some to think that role specialisations can all be generalised into being “Engineers” and that we can all self-organise and just do it all.

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Devopsgirls 2.0

Only 6 months has passed since our inaugural DevOps Girls bootcamp and on Saturday 12th of August 2017 we had the pleasure of running the second edition. For those new to the bootcamp: it is a free event for women interested in learning more about devops, run by a community of passionate volunteers.

The idea started with a realisation that unless we are proactive about diversity in tech and we make meaningful contributions, it’s going to be hard to move the needle on this. The aim of the event is not only to train women but also to create a community of like-minded people who can provide support to each other.

Our first bootcamp went extremely well. From the moment it finished all the organisers and collaborators, apart from being exhausted, were already thinking: when are we doing this again? And of course, we did. We decided to run another introduction to AWS, iterating on the lessons that we learned in the first edition. Continue reading

A girl in IT: How I ended up here

The topic of gender diversity has become so popular in the tech community recently that it seems like it’s the only thing anybody can talk about… except perhaps Donald Trump!

During my 11 years as Software Engineer, I have never been aware of lack of females in IT, although that may be because I was lucky enough to know a lot of them. But let’s start from the beginning.

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Not good enough

“I’m not good enough” says the graduate to herself, shuffling her feet.  “All those uni assignments made no difference; everyone knows more than me.  Why would anyone want to listen to what I have to say?”  Surrounded by self-assured, battle-hardened colleagues, there seems an insurmountable distance to cover—but one day, she’ll surely know enough.

“Enough”.

“I’m not good enough” said the programmer with a grimace, starting a new job at a famous company. “Seven years of work and it’s like nothing! Everyone here knows so much; how long will it take for me to know enough?”

So when is enough? Is there a line we cross when we become experts? Does ticker-tape fall from the ceiling, and the mayor of Hackertown give us a medal?

“I’m not good enough” said the veteran of fifteen years. “The people writing these libraries, blogs and conference talks are so smart—am I ever going to know enough to have such an impact?”

Every point on this slope is fractally self-similar to every other, differing only in scale. We know only so much; the unfathomable expanse of the unknown is spread before us.  It was like this when you knew a tenth as much, and it will look the same when you know ten or hundred times more again.  From the horizon, we all look like ants.

Look at your heroes; the best in the world at what you do. In fact, what they see is roughly what you see: a body of accumulated knowledge, and the brutally vast frontier of their own ignorance ahead.

So when do we draw the line and call ourselves “expert”? Never! This is for fools who have already stopped pedalling. It takes humility to accept that a life’s work can barely hope to recover a drop from this ocean of ignorance, and a noble madness to cheerfully hurl oneself into the waves.  If there is a line to draw, it is between these folk and those who turn their backs, turtling in with trinkets and baubles already won.

This light harshly exposes those who can’t empathise with junior colleagues. So, they asked a stupid question. Why did you stop asking stupid questions? Nobody still open to improving themselves would fail to recognise one of their own.

So learn! Abandon yourself to permanent inadequacy. Your life may host any number of hardships, but you’ll never know boredom again. You’ll forget what it was like to endure barren, aimless hours. The waiting-room becomes a study, the bus-stop an opportunity, the laundry a goldmine.

No, you’re not good enough, because there’s no such thing and never was. But you can still head that way.

Girlapalooza – for women who dig digital at REA

Hello and welcome to the inaugural Girlapalooza blog post, with me Miss Leah(pleurodon) Eramo, at your service.

What is Girlapalooza?

A couple of years ago, a few of us who were interested in technology came together and formed a group to collectively harness the talent, passion & creativity that women at REA possess.

Girlapalooza is a community that positively engages women within REA in activities relating to digital technology, marketing, design and leadership.

Girlapalooza embraces women of all abilities and backgrounds, with a positive philosophy of fun and inclusion.

This month I am featuring an interview with REA’s 2016 Big Idea winner and my team mate, Linda Brunetti. So read all the way through to catch her interview.

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