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🥧 Pie-Mail - a career path for testers

published4 months ago
3 min read

Hi everyone!

Another late one, sorry, I hope you haven't been frantically checking your inboxes. It's here now. Hope you've all been having a great week!

For me, it's been busy. I've changed job slightly (read on for more), and I've also started an exciting new project with my friend Camy Bhandari. Keep an eye on LinkedIn this weekend to find out more about that!

👷 Engineering Management - a career path for testers

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As of last week, my job title no longer has the word testing or quality in it, I'm officially an Engineering Manager.

It feels a bit weird - like I might not belong in the testing community any more, like I'm some kind of traitor. Like a Rugby League player switching to Union. (Apologies for the sports analogy, but it works for me).

I've wrestled with what it means a little bit. I have never been someone that had a five year plan, or thought about career or titles very much. So when it came up as an option, I was a bit surprised.

On reflection though, I have this theory that actually what has happened is a pretty darn natural career progression.

Testing is all about reducing risk, and a typical quality career path is some variation on Junior > Intermediate > Senior.

As a junior, I was uncovering risk by finding bugs in a piece of software.

As my career progressed, the radius of places I was looking for risks became wider. It's wasn't just about finding bugs in a product. It becomes about other sorts of risk, like infrastructure problems and ethics and process and "non-functional" requirements.

As I moved into my role as a Quality Practice Lead, that net widened even further. It became about the organisation too - uncovering risks with ways of working, or team or organisational structure, or people retention.

And there's a huge crossover at this point, because this is also the sort of work an Engineering Manager does. So it really became the next logical career step.

This could be unique to me, but I don't think it is.

Once a month, I have a regular catch up with some other quality leads. Since the start of this year, three of us have moved to becoming 'Engineering Manager' or something similar. There's plenty of people who have made this move before us, too.

To return to the sports analogy. I guess it's not so much like switching sports, after all. Maybe it's more like going from being a player, with a specific role in a team, to a coach.

I guess my point is this - I've met a lot of testers that struggle with their career path. Many reach the 'senior' bar, and then don't know what to do next. I think it's important to call out that moving up the ladder into engineering management is a tangible, viable career path for testers (along with lots of other options).​
In case you're wondering - despite my title change - this newsletter remains focused on testing and quality, nothing changes there!

🖥 Neat stuff from around the internet

📖 Read

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🎧 Listen

  • BBC has a five part series titled The Future Will Be Synthesised. It looks at things like deepfake technology, AR/VR and digital humans, and what 'synthetic technology' means for the world.
    ​Content warning: They cover abuses of deepfake technology in the adult industry, and the content could be disturbing for some.
  • Richard Bradshaw and Erin Donnelly talk about test automation from the perspective of a recruiter.

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📺 Watch

  • ​If you're the same generation as me, the making of Wonder Boy will probably be of great interest. Wonder Boy III was the best game of the 8-bit generation and I'll die on that hill.
  • This deep dive into LCP from Google explains it really nicely.

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🎮 Play

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🎟️ Events coming up

​TestBash World (23 June, Online)​

The 24 hour Test Conference is back. Oh yeah! Two of my favourite locals, Francis Ho and Mike Talks, will be sharing, amongst a slew of other great speakers. Register for this one today!
If you're in Auckland, also come along to the watch party!​

​NZ Testing Conference (1 July, Wellington)​

Have been anticipating this one for a long time, and finally it's nearly here. If you haven't got your tickets yet, now's the time!

​OWASP Day New Zealand (7-8 July, Auckland and Online)​

NZ's annual AppSec conference from OWASP. What I like about OWASP Day is that it's beginner friendly - there's something for everyone. And as far as conferences go, it's cheap!