Paula O'Grady

Company: Paula O'Grady

Role in Company: Senior QA Engineer

Country: Ireland

Presentation Takeaways

1. As testers we need to find our voice and have more confidence when it comes to pushing for more time for upskilling activities, and making it a constant feature of our planning sessions.
2. We need to build smart testbeds that are extensible for the future and that are more than just functional. Security, Load and other non-functional types can and should be implemented into what we build out for every day.
3. There are many ways to learn new skills, we need to focus on the most efficient methods.

Speaker Biography

I had my first job as a software tester over 18 years ago as a tester with Nortel Networks, and since then I have worked in many QA related roles for companies including Microsoft, HP, BrightWork, Cisco and Fidelity Investments. My main qualification is a B.Sc. Engineering in Information Technology, but over the years I have added to this with qualifications in Quality Assurance and Test Management including Microsoft accreditations for Windows Servers and Exchange.

Presentation Description

This talk is paired with Mind the Gap as part of a conversation track on Skill Changes


We are fortunate to work in an age of constant innovation. This is particularly true of the software industry. Not only are the boundaries of what we test constantly changing, but the tools and methodologies that we use are likely to be updated regularly. The types of testing we do now are so diverse, and the required skillsets are often complex. There is a real need to constantly upskill which is fantastic in theory, but as we know the reality can be far from ideal. We are restricted by our day to day schedules, and it can be near impossible to squeeze in the required training and preparation for future projects.
In my experience, there is rarely enough time and resources allocated to innovation and upskilling for future development cycles. As testers, we need to find ways of working smarter and effectively doing more with less time. This can seem like an uphill battle, and if not approached correctly can cause a damaging and negative impact for you and your team.

I will draw on examples of where I had to upskill and adopt new technologies, while fully committed to an agile release cycle. In my 18 years as a tester I have had to respond quickly to many “new kids on the block” including automation, new scripting languages, TDD, BDD and Kanban, not to mention massive shifts in industry and platform. I will discuss the successes, failures and lessons learned that have help to mould my approach going into the future.