Friday, 30 December 2011

A functional end

This time last year I was enjoying an extended Xmas break and was using the time to learn Selenium and Java. I'd installed Eclipse on my laptop and was enjoying doing some coding again. In fact I was enjoying it so much and hating the commute into work that thoughts of a job change started.

And this is how the year has finished - a new job opportunity and I've just installed the Haskell Platform and I'm reading up on functional programming.

The job may change but the learning doesn't stop - only now I'm not doing it on my own and doing it on sample projects. I'm now working with projects that use all the stuff that I was reading about.

Looking back on the year:

  • I'm learning how to use Git and Vim.

  • Read Agile Web Development with Rails and followed the examples so I had a RoR website up and running on my laptop.

  • Tested my first mobile apps

  • Learnt about several sectors of industry that I previously knew nothing about.

  • Attended Tester Gatherings in London, Oxford and Winchester and met Lisa Crispin and Michael Bolton.

  • Attended 2 Tester Gatherings in Grand Rapids, Michigan and met Pete Walen and Mel Bugai.

  • Met Matt Heusser and went out for a buffalo burger ( sadly sold out ) and tester chat.

  • Spent 8 weeks with my finger in a splint after getting Mallet Finger playing Extreme Frisbee with new work colleagues.

  • Celebrated the landmark figure of 10,000 members of the Software Testing Club.

  • Terminated numerous STC posts and accounts, some of whom got pissed at me.

  • Increased my library with numerous books

  • Doubled the size of my Amazon Wish List

Goals for next year:

  • Finalise my move to the US - the visa process is slow

  • Get a deeper understanding of Ruby by looking at real projects

  • Attend CAST 2012

  • Finish reading the books I have before starting on my Wish List

  • Continue growing the STC both in terms of numbers and influence

  • Be an active member of GR Testers

Whilst writing this post other testers have posted their reflections on the year. I was struck by how two entries also emphasised learning - Anne-Marie Charrett (The Maverick Tester ) and Pete Walen. And I'm fortunate to be working at a place that also emphasises a culture of learning

Another blog post also got my attention, from Timothy Western aka Veretax/Discovered Tester - Reflections on 2011, a year of trial, growth, and questions
My current role on project has me pondering though. I've heard it debated around twitter, about whether you can be both a programmer and a tester. I know I can do either, but at some point do you not need to decide which to specialize in? The reality is there are only so many hours in the day for study and growth, and the opportunity cost of each new learning investment, in effect is at a loss for learning something else. This is a reality that I've now come face to face with in the last two months. I still have the knowledge from what I learned as a tester, but it has been hard to try and keep up on my learning where testing is concerned, especially when my current responsibilities require me to act in a more code-centric role

I'm enjoying poking around in code and even enjoying the headache that looking at Haskell and functional programming is giving me. But I've also started reading Thinking Fast and Slow which is giving me a lot of thoughts about bias in testing.

Which to devote more time to ? How to find the right balance ?
Something I'll have to try and answer in 2012


Adam said...

All the best for 2012 and keep up the good blog posts, too...

Phil said...

Thanks Adam - and your comment reminds me that one of my unread books is Technical Blogging and that's another of my goals for next year. More regular and better blog posts :)

Darren McMillan said...

Phil, I have to say that from reading your tweets on Twitter this year I have been fascinated by how deep a learning curve you have undertaken with the various books and activities you've been talking about. It's nice to get a little more insight into that in the form of this yearly wrap-up.

Whatever path you choose to focus on most in the future will no doubt prove beneficial for a good solid team who play to their teams strengths and don't fall under the flawed assumption that everyone can do anything.

All the best for 2012 and I'm looking forward to reading more from you and your journey in your new home away from home.