Liveblogging TB Brighton #4: Owning Your Craft by Mike Smith

Owning Your Craft

By Mike Smith @mikesmith_sh

This is not the first time Mike is on the TestBash Brighton stage: he gave a 99 second talk at TestBash Essentials. So, this is in fact the second time Mike finds himself on the TestBash stage here.

Mike is going to talk about Owning Your Craft. There were three major inspirations that brought Mike to the stage today. He attended a workshop at TestBash Manchester 2017 by myself @marianneduijst & Rick Tracy. (So cool to hear Mike on stage today! I feel so honoured to be called out. Thank you Mike!). At the end of that workshop, he proclaimed: “I am going to be a public speaker”. Other huge inspirations are his wife who encouraged and supported him and his manager who coached and supported him in his new role.

Mike takes us back to 2016: a year that was hard for him. He was at a company as ‘the most senior tester’ but struggling with imposter syndrome. There were a lot of things he didn’t know, but he thought he should and people now assumed that he did. He was struggling under the stress and the newer parts of the job and finally dared to open up to his team about it. His expectations were completely overthrown: his team was very supportive and shared that they only had a few weeks head start on him.

They gave him two options:

Option A: wait till the API and all is build, and test as he knew how when they had a GUI

Option B: testing from the first line up. The team wouldn’t be able to help him much, but they promised not to abandon me.

Mike did careful reflection: he couldn’t see himself doing anything but his absolute best. This was one of the first times he realized he didn’t want to do his best for the organization, or his manager, but for no one other than himself.

So, he decided to jump straight in!

He learned a great amount. He learned more to set up his environments, how the database was populated, and what terms like continuous integration and delivery truly meant in practice. Any time there was a task that needed to be doing a few times, Mike learned to automate it. He got more and more proficient at it and understood more and more about his testing and the team and the new technologies. He started to experiment alongside his testing and find more and more ideas. At some point, he accidentally took down his entire environment, which gave him the opportunity to learn how to set it up better.

Mike felt like a fish in a water with learning and growing. Since this project, a lot has happened in Mike’s life. He became Principle Test Engineer: then moved out of testing to Research & Development; he became a LinkedIn course teacher and more.

He wants to leave us with the following:

It’s OK to love your craft!

Geek out!

You don’t need to know everything!

Remember that you are never alone in this & it does get better if you find yourself in a chaotic and complex environment.

Thank you Mike!

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