Many years ago, I majored in Architecture and got a degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology here in Chicago. Oddly, I sort of fell into an architectural career. I liked to draw and I liked math. I went to a technical high school where drafting was required. What else would I go into?
Plus, I was running from Englewood, the neighborhood I grew up in. You may have heard of it. Derrick Rose came from Englewood too so the neighborhood has been in the news. I don’t know D. Rose, but I’m proud of him too. Anyway, Englewood was a bad neighborhood when I grew up many years ago, and it still is, though people are trying to change things. In fact, the last architectural project I worked on was the construction of 6 buildings for the new Kennedy King College at 63rd and Halsted. I am happy to have been a part of the large team that did that.
At first I loved architecture. I got paid to draw and problem-solve. Yay! And I got to work with brilliant people in a collaborative environment. As the years passed though, I realized architecture wasn’t for me. Fortunately, the web was in its infancy, and I came across some info on how to put up a webpage. It looked simple enough so I started building websites. I offered my services in a side business and to my employers. I built intranets and small business websites.
Since I worked on teams in architecture, I knew I didn’t have to figure out how to do every aspect of building a website. Other people could do certain pieces better. I contracted or managed the work of other developers. I’d have to test their work as I integrated it with mine; after all, it was my name on the line. I also helped promote websites. The clients I worked with needed to use the internet for business purposes – to make more money.
Fast forward and now I’m a software tester. How does my previous experience help me now?
I understand the value of teamwork.
Working in architecture and managing the work of other website designers taught me, everyone achieves more in a team. I know a lot, but I don’t have to know everything. Currently I am lucky enough to once again work with brilliant people in a collaborative environment. I may never meet the product managers and developers whose systems I test. At the same time, we are part of a team with a common goal – to deliver great software.
I know the importance of software testing
When I delivered websites, my name was on the line, regardless of who built what. I knew first-hand the pain of a user finding a problem. Problems could mean loss – loss of clients, loss of money, loss of reputation. As a software tester, I help people avoid loss and giant headaches. I give feedback that helps stakeholders make decisions that make a difference.
I think my experience makes me a better tester than I would have been if I started out in IT. Do you have an unusual background that you bring to software testing? Let me know.