And So It Begins

Well, I finally bought a URL to further identify my name. I have been debating purchasing because it meant a few things. First, it means that I am out an entire $48. Second, it means that I should probably post regularly so that the identification is worth it, and continue making the name known. Lastly, it could add some credibility or validity to what I’m saying, though I’m not sure it always should.

The Journey

sailboat-37725_640

If you’ve read my original post when I began to write, you might remember that I have wanted to write a blog for a few years. You may also remember where my QA Blog journey officially began earlier this year. It started as a goal for myself, as part of my career development. I wanted to be more engaged with the QA community, and I also want to be a teacher/mentor of the QA role, training people to be more analytical, to think outside the box, and to test like they’ve never tested before.

These desires led me to start writing a blog online. I had no expectations of followers, or active readers, or really anything like that, but to fulfill a career goal, I needed to be somewhat active with my writing. Once I got a decent amount of pieces written to make it worth mentioning my blog to people, I figured it was time to make it real by purchasing a URL.

The Choices

I came up with a few different ones and tossed them around in my head while also presenting them to some friends and co-workers. I wanted to be sure that whatever I bought, I would be happy with for an extended period of time, which right now is just year to year. A few of my ideas were:

  • qaingtheworld.com
  • testingtheworld.com
  • lifeofatester.com
  • qalife.com (although taken, there is no real site)
  • mckelveytesting.com

I heard back from some people, and it was pretty much an equal consensus, they all liked lifeofatester.com. This was originally my second favorite option right after qaingtheworld, but I assumed that URL was a lot harder to read and say to people, so it quickly became a secondary option.

The Questions

I have had a few people ask me some questions about what is next, what do I want this to look like over the next few months or years, and my answer right now is simply, I don’t know. I have dreams of certain things happening in my career, but right now I’m just going to continue expanding my knowledge of the QA life, try to become even more analytical, and take that where I can in my future.

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 attribute 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.