Testing, Today and Tomorrow: Slack Takeovers with Arthur Hicken and Aprajita Mathur
Thought leaders throughout the software community are taking over the TechWell Hub for a day to introduce themselves, answer questions, and engage in conversations.
Recently there were two in one week, both speakers presenting at STARWEST. Arthur Hicken is a software quality evangelist who deals with complex issues around software security, web applications, and the IoT. And Aprajita Mathur leads the bioinformatics software test team at Guardant Health, which builds liquid biopsies. She delivered two talks at STARWEST, one on career development and another on Docker.
Their Slack takeovers led to some insightful discussions.
Maintaining ‘Smart’ Devices
Arthur Hicken, aka @Code Curmudgeon, started by asking how many IoT devices everyone had in their homes. Most people have quite a few, and he encouraged them to make sure devices are up to date with the latest patches and don't have default or otherwise bad passwords.
“As long as developers depend on fail-fast-forward, we need to be patching our devices,” he said, noting that botnets count on our set-it-and-forget-it mentality.
“Have you ever climbed into a car, or on a plane, or logged into your bank account, and then realized that the people writing the software are just like that person in the next cube over? And then you go back home and curl up in bed for a few days?” he joked.
Onboarding with Test Automation
“When you have new team members joining, what are the approaches you have taken to bring them on board with your current test automation?” —@AP
“I think mentoring is very helpful,” Hicken answered. “Be it very formal in pair programming or something simpler like peer review, it's good for those who know the setup to help those who don't. Also, coding standards help both in uniformity of code as well as making sure that new team members are doing the same quality of code that others are.”
Hunting like a Tester
Aprajita Mathur (@AP) started her takeover by asking everyone what they loved about testing and their jobs. There were many answers with a common theme: fishing around in code, digging deep, and finding that one issue everyone else overlooked.
“I like the ‘hunt’!” one tester said, and Mathur agreed: “We all love our detective-ness.”
Keeping Skills Current
“What skills should I be learning to keep myself current with all the technologies that are coming up?” —@owen
“I think about that all the time, too,” Mathur said.
She recommended working on identifying skills at three levels:
- Things you need to learn right now or in the next few months—something that might impact your work, like a new automation tool
- Things you need to learn for the next level, depending on where you want to go—like learning how to deploy apps or a CI/CD workflow
- Things you know you need to improve in that take time to develop—like presentation skills
For specific technologies, she also recommended learning test automation and coding, if you’re not doing them already; container platforms and DevOps infrastructures to manage applications in the cloud; continuous integration and delivery; and using AI and machine learning for testing.