A First for Everything

The idea of writing as a QA analyst is actually a scary thing to me. Imagine your entire day spent analyzing someone else’s work, and then when you find a problem, you let them know about it and they fix it. Can you imagine the opportunities that will arise when someone notices an issue with my writing? Perhaps a page link won’t work, or my Contact form won’t send. Maybe I will spell something wrong!

The Goal

I’ve actually had a desire to write or blog for quite a while now. I’ve toyed with the idea in the past about a family blog with my wife, that each of us could contribute to, add pictures in, and post about things going on in our lives. This didn’t really take off as both of us were so active in Facebook, posting everything we wanted there. I had created two or three different blog sites for us to try out, and now they sit, stale and getting older each day.

Last year, the beginning of 2016, our CEO at Zywave, asked us to better ourselves, to spend time learning a new thing, figure out what can make us stronger, and find something to achieve that year. I picked up the guitar, learned a handful of chords, and did a lot of practicing live in front of high school students while we sang songs. Perhaps not the most ideal time to practice, but it has worked out alright so far, and now I am a year an a half into guitar, know a handful more chords, and am able to comfortably lead music and worship for the same group of students.

This year again, challenged with finding a goal that we can attain throughout the year. I desired writing as a goal, but didn’t feel I was ready quite yet in my career to impact anyone. So instead of this as a goal, I set out to re-familiarize myself with Service/Integration testing (it has been a couple years, so perhaps a post to come on that in the future). This was a bust, because in order to achieve a goal, there has to be a certain amount of desire, and unfortunately there was little to none. I installed Visual Studio and pulled down the solutions for testing, but upon opening them, realized I didn’t want to continue.

The writing thing kept coming back into my head, keeping me up at night or distracting me at the dinner table. What topics could I write about? What knowledge can I share with the QA community that they don’t already know? How can a three year QA professional better the practices already set out by years of experience? I had to change my mindset on the whole writing thing, and so got to a point where I am comfortable writing about my current knowledge and skill sets, with the understanding that there is still so much to learn. I am more excited about this than any goal I’ve had, because I have finally figured out what I want to write about and how to do it.

The Big Picture

I’ve been asked about long term career goals many times.

Where do you want to be in five years? How about ten years?

This thought hasn’t really scared me yet, because I am still working my way up the ladder. I know that I have a few years to go before I hit this “peak” in my career, where I must decide what step to take next. I’ve only recently begun thinking about what I’d love to do in my career long term, and since things can only be achieved if dreamed for, then I guess it’s time to start dreaming big.

I love to talk, there’s no doubt about that, and anyone who has known me for five minutes knows that I enjoy this. I also love writing, and feel that I can easily sit down for an hour or two and crank out a 15 page paper (experience from the school days). So what could I do to incorporate these two desires into one big, overarching career goal, with my QA abilities in the holster?

I’ve got it. I would love to teach what I know. I want to not only better myself and my knowledge of the human-computer interaction era, but I want to help others learn more about it as well. I want to write about my work, my talent, and my life, and how QA affects me, and I want to teach people how to be more analytical, how to use their logic in the face of technology.

I told a friend of mine at lunch the other day, the big dream. I would love it if I could continue to work at Zywave, and become a QA expert in the field, and then take my knowledge to other companies for speaking and training events. It would be my dream to be called or emailed one day, and asked to speak for a QA-con, or a local training seminar, or even a company who is just starting up their QA department, and needs an adviser to come in and help pave the way for their new analysts. I would work for Zywave, testing their software, but be a designated consultant for going out and bettering more people in their QA roles.

This of course, is a dream that may or may not even be possible, but is only achievable with hard work and dedication (and possibly a handful of other business support)!

The Final Thoughts

You ever watch Jerry Springer, and at the end of his show, he gives his final thoughts? What gives him enough industry knowledge in order to go on TV and share emotional, relationship, philosophical advice to the viewers at home? Is it experience alone, is it training, or is it just basic logic as it relates to human interaction?

I have a lot of great topics I want to write about, some of which I don’t have a lot of industry knowledge on yet, but I’m hoping that I can learn a lot through this writing process, and share some personal experiences that will help some QA professionals get better in their careers.

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