Welcome to the second in our series of open letters from members of the EuroSTAR Software Testing Community to their 28 year old selves.
This year we’ll celebrate the 28th edition of the EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference. 28 years of the testing community coming together in an inclusive space, to share knowledge, support each other and grow. There has been such incredible community spirit, shaped and nurtured by every single tester and quality professional that has been part of this wonderful journey. To mark our 28th anniversary, we have invited many of those instrumental in the creation and ongoing development of our community to write an open letter to their 28 year old selves.
Each letter is different and contains what the author felt is most important to tell their 28 year old self and to remind their younger self what is worth fighting for!
Our second letter is from Anne Mette Hass, winner of the 11th European Testing Excellence Award at the 2009 EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference. Anne Mette has worked in software testing for over 30 years and is continually sharing her knowledge with the wider community through her books and courses in ISTQB and Test Management. We hope you enjoy this open letter and continue learning as our community have done together since 1993!
Dear 28-year-old Anne Mette,
The year is 1983, and it is a long time ago – 37 years. I remember how frustrated you were a few years earlier, trying to figure out how your working life should be.
You graduated in 1979 from the Technical University, specialized in hydrology: management of water. You wanted to travel and work abroad. Your male colleagues were posted around the world to work on interesting water supply projects – but not you.
In frustration you took a job in an IT department at a hospital; they wanted somebody with an academic degree, no questions asked.
And that was great! I remember how you loved to learn to write code and see the code work. A new world opened up for you, and you never looked back. You did some primitive testing, I remember, and you called it house-wife testing at the time, because you had a feeling that it had to be done, but no idea how to do it properly.
Being raised in a zero-tolerance environment, you had a very sharp eye for errors. Remember when you as a child made a drawing of the return of the prodigal son, and drew the father taking a picture of the son coming home – like your father took photos of everything – and your mother told you in a sharp tone, that cameras did not exist at the time. What you do (and what others do) has to be correct.
In 1991 you got a job in a company that made software for the European Space Agency, and here you did a lot of testing, though still more or less guessing how to do it – and still enjoying it.
Then came 1993 and the first EuroSTAR. To your own surprise you got permission and money from the company to go. What an event! I’ll never forget the feeling of saying proudly out loud that I liked to test – and being understood by the other participants. That was wonderful. One day Geoff Quentin (an old test celebrity) took you into a room and said: “Do you really know what testing is?”. You said “No, I don’t suppose I do”, and he explained the basics (based on the V-model). Suddenly it made a lot more sense, and you could say that the rest is history – but what a story.
From then on you got involved with all the testing events you could find. Being shy and introvert it was sometimes stressful and ‘dangerous’ to put your neck out. But you did it and I am very grateful for your courage. It gave ‘us’ a lot of experiences and good times with very knowledgeable, nice, and interesting people. Remember the years teaching ISTQB courses? And the work on ISO 29119? And all the conferences around the world. How could that happen to me?
So, curiosity and courage are key. Keep a spirit of always wanting to learn more. Listen to people! Don’t worry about not being knowledgeable or clever enough. People will help you! And keep a spirit of participating and sharing your knowledge, even if it feels uncomfortable in the beginning; it is not a bad thing to share with others what you have learned, but it is a bad thing not to.