Nicky Tests Software: 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Why I have decided to start speaking at Software Testing Conferences

2016 is the year in which I start speaking at Software Testing Conferences. And now that we're reaching the end of November (and thus the end of 2015), the reality is starting to hit me and I'm getting more than a tad nervous.

I'm very excited to have been accepted to speak at two conferences in the first half of 2016: Let's Test (through the Speak Easy Program with the support and encouragement of my mentor Maria) and TestBash.

Here, I'd like to go into why I've decided to start speaking at conferences. To be honest, there's no one clear reason which has led me to this point - but a bunch of things that have added up. In writing this I hope to inspire people who have wishfully thought about presenting at a conference, but doubted themselves thinking "Why would anyone want to hear from me? Why would anyone want to hear what I have to say?" I also want to simply share my experience in deciding to speak. Other people who have spoken at conferences, no doubt have their own reasons - some of which may be similar to mine.

Monday, November 9, 2015

What's the purpose of Test Documentation?

Last week I went to a testing meet-up where one of the presenters said that he used documentation to defend himself - which really caught my attention. But it also got me thinking.

While Test Documentation may be used to defend yourself, surely that is not its purpose.

Why do you write Test Documentation?

Chances are, something along the lines of, "to communicate information" comes to mind.

But what does "communication" really mean?

I think phrases like "strong communication skills" etc are thrown around and misused. According to Meriam-Webster, the definition of communication is:

"It is the art or process of using words, sounds, signs or behaviours to express or exchange information...."

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Getting a Swedish Work Permit and Moving to Sweden

Note this isn't a typical post on my blog about software testing but about the process of getting a Swedish Work Permit and moving to Sweden. After searching online for blog posts on people applying for a work permit, I was only able to find people moving to Sweden for love (if you want to read about my friend's experience, check this out) I hope what I write here will be useful to others who are about to go through or are currently going through the same experience. 

This blog post does not cover how to find a job in Sweden, so I won't be able to help you with any job search websites.

A bit of  background

  • Moved to Sweden by myself and did not take a partner or children with me
  • New Zealand citizen
  • Software Tester

Starting the Work Permit Application process

According to Migrationsverket you need the following:

  • have a valid passport
  • have been offered terms of employment that are on par with those set by Swedish collective agreements or which are customary within the occupation or industry
  • have been offered a salary that is on par with that set by Swedish collective agreements or which is customary within the occupation or industry
  • have been offered a minimum salary of SEK 13,000 per month before taxes
  • have an employer who intends to provide insurance covering health, life, employment and pension when you begins to work.
Your job also needs to be advertised on the EURES portal for at least 10 days

Few additional notes here:

  • Linda from House of Test did most of the work and effort in this part and was extremely helpful and onto it. 
  • They didn't need physical copies of the passport or copies that were signed by Justice of the Peace (like they do with lots of documents in New Zealand)
  • I was not allowed to be in Sweden while my work permit was being processed.

How to apply for a Work Permit

This link has all the relevant information you need on how to apply
But here are a few key points:

  1. After the employer has advertised the job in EURES portal for at least 10 days, the employer initiates the application.
  2. I receive an email asking me to do my part.
  3. I had to give information on my work history and also some passport information (if you are moving with your family they also ask for information on this)
  4. Pay SEK 2000
  5. Wait
Quick tip
According to, if your job is on the job shortage list you can apply for a work permit from Sweden instead of from abroad. I seriously recommend you check this part with Migrationsverket first as well before you do this.

How long I waited

I waited just over a month from when the application was received. But waiting times can vary.

According to the Migrationsverket website, waiting times can range from one month to over four months.

"The processing time will be shorter if all the necessary information is included from the start than if information is added afterwards."

Getting a Residence Permit Card

Once you have heard back from Migrationsverket and your application has been successful you need to get a Residence Permit card.  "This card proves that you have permission to reside in Sweden and contains information such as fingerprints and photograph."

You need to book an appointment in advance to do this. When I booked my appointment, the first available one was just over two weeks from that date. Make sure you bring your booking number and your passport with you.

They give you a specific time for your appointment but I ended up arriving about 15 minutes early and I "checked in". Soon after my number was called. My fingerprints and photos were taken in about 5 minutes - it's a relatively smooth, simple process. I had to wait 1 week for the card to be delivered.

Getting a tax number

You need a tax number to open a bank account. And you need a bank account to get paid.  Once you receive your Residence Permit card (it's delivered to your home address), you can then apply for a tax number. 
Bring your passport and Residence Permit card to a Skatteverket branch. There you will need to take a number and wait in line. You will also need to fill out some forms.
While you are at Skatteverket you should also apply for a Swedish Identity CardYou need to pay the fee in advance.

Once they have taken your photo, you need to wait to get notified by mail to pick up the ID from the Skatteverket branch you had your photo taken. It takes up to 2 weeks.

Opening a bank account

Once you have a Swedish tax number you can also open a bank account.
But you need a Swedish Identity card before you can get Internet Banking.
Make sure you bring your passport, a job contract, your Residency Permit Card and your Swedish Identity card.

Disclaimer: This is written from my experience and is not necessary a reflection of what you should expect if you are also moving to Sweden. Waiting times etc may be different for you.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Software Testing is not for Attention Seekers

Software Testing is not for Attention Seekers.

What a bold statement!

Let me explain.

As a broad generalisation, I feel that testing is only noticed when someone (the tester) has messed up. A few months ago I had a pretty open conversation with a workmate on how they felt unappreciated and undervalued. After all, when code goes into production and all goes well - usually one doesn't applaud the tester for finding all of the bugs and helping improve the software quality by communicating information about it (before going live).

I really could relate to my workmate as I recall many times where my input into a project seemed to be forgotten or ignored. Some code would go live, which I tested vigorously, and then only the developer would be mentioned. This happened in both team-wide forums and tools you could use to give "kudos" to someone.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hej då Vend, hej House of Test

Next Friday is my last day at Vend. And to be honest, I'm kind of excited.

You might be wondering why I'm excited about leaving Vend. Surely, leaving a company with as good a reputation that Vend has, must suck.

And it does. Vend has talented people, great work perks, a work environment that empowers you, ownership of work and a JFDI (Just F***ing Do It) attitude. If you're ever given the opportunity to work for Vend, I'd say go for it! You'll learn so much, then look back and be amazed at how time has flown.

But I'm leaving Vend for Sweden. While many New Zealanders in their mid to late twenties leave New Zealand for London, I was determined to set sail for a different course.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Girl Who Cried Wolf - Picking Your Battles

After my Google Hangout Interview with Katrina, I started to think about picking your battles - which she listed as an important quality of a tester. Below I'd like to talk about my experience and thoughts on this idea.

The Girl Who Cried Wolf

When I started my first (ever) project, my understanding was that the purpose of testing was to provide information with more emphasis placed on advocating for the fixing of bugs.

The thing is - I took this too far.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Google Hangout Interview with Katrina Clokie

Spent half an hour talking to Katrina about software testing.

Questions include:

  • How did you get into Context Driven Testing?
  • Why do you speak at conferences?
  • What advice would you give to someone who is in the first year of their testing career?
  • What is your biggest achievement of your testing career?
  • What’s the best thing about coaching a team of testers?
  • And what’s the most difficult?
  • What made you decide to start blogging about testing?
  • What do you wish more people knew about software testing?
  • Do you see a problem in the gender ratio in testing?
  • If so, why? If not, why not? If so, how do you suggest we address this?
  • What, do you believe, are the 3 most important traits in a tester?
  • Do you think it’s possible to be a CDT but not Agile? vice versa?
  • I am the only tester in an agile organisation with only developers and POs. How do I get mentored, because most people here do not understand testing.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A reflection on Let's Test 2015: Part II

Here's the link to A reflection on Let's Test 2015: Part I

The sessions (Part II)

Below does not include all of the sessions I went to nor all aspects of the session I mention

Visual Creativity: Using Sketchnotes and Mindmaps to aid your agile testing - Dan Ashby and Christina Ohanian

Before this session I stumbled upon Christina drawing out her sketch notes from the previous session and marvelled at how fascinating it was. Sketch notes were only something I'd only ever seen on the net. They were gorgeous and a clever way to communicate information.

When she told me that she was going to have a session on this - I was all in.

We 'warmed up' by drawing whichever image came to mind when Dan said a word. It was interesting to see how a lot of people could interpret the same word differently. For example: "Time" could be a clock, a watch or an hourglass.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A reflection on Let's Test 2015: Part I

It was my first time at Let's Test and I absolutely loved it. My only complaint is - why does it have to be a 24 hour flight from New Zealand?!

The interesting thing was that I've been following on Twitter about 15 people who were at the conference so it was somewhat surreal meeting these people in real life.

This time last year, I saw a lot of noise on Twitter about how amazing it was - so I just HAD to check it out for myself.

The Keynote

We kicked off Let's Test with a mint keynote by Ben Simo - "There was not a breach, there was a blog". Ben spoke about how initially he wanted to search for health insurance options for his granddaughter, but found himself getting a lot of media attention when he started blogging about his findings of the website (after calling their contact centre got him nowhere).

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Interview with Shirley Tricker

Shirley Tricker worked in a wide range of IT roles for almost 20 years before starting Elementum, a business that helps people in IT to develop skills, attitudes and habits to be productive and happy in tech roles. Shirley is active in the testing community as an organizer of the Auckland chapter of WeTest, an attendee at the KWST peer conference, and she runs the Auckland Testers Facebook page.She is also co-organiser of the Women in Tech Auckland meetup and she speaks to students via the ICT-Connect programme, which inspires and educates young people about a future in IT. She recently started blogging where she advocates for people to take back control of their careers and work happiness.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Why do I blog about Software Testing?

To provide a snapshot of time

It's been over two years since my first blog post and I love the fact I can see a snapshot of my opinions, what I cared about and my thought processes two years ago.

I quickly flicked through some of my early blog posts.

There are a few posts regarding ISTQB, something which I highly valued at the very start of my software testing career. Now, I highly regard the BBST Foundations course  and am a very strong advocate of it.

As stated in the About Me page, "I don't doubt my opinions on testing will develop and change" - keeping a blog is a great way of keeping track on how my opinions change :)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Adjusting to Working in a Cross-Functional Team Part II

Adjusting to working in my second team at Vend

Since my last blog post I've started working on another project as well. I currently work part-time on two projects at Vend. I've had to adjust to working in another team. The setup is a bit different here as there are now two testers and four developers (slightly better dev:tester ratio than previously).

At Vend, we're given a fair bit of power on how we operate as a team - which means that each team is different. The product teams all tend to be of (somewhat) similar size, they all have a Product Analyst, Designer, Product Manager, Developer and QA involved in the project and they are all working towards a product.

But that's where the similarities stop.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Adjusting to Working in a Cross-Functional Team Part I

Won't try to deny it - I've been pretty slack at writing blog posts lately. Other than the fact I've been enjoying the sun as much as possible, I've also still been adjusting to my new role at Vend.

I started in the beginning of September and it's been a very steep learning curve. You see, this is my first proper experience with Agile. While it's exciting to be working on projects where you collaborate in a team, and find yourself helping deliver value fast - it's actually also fairly intimidating (or at least I, myself, am intimidated). Below is a written experience report on how I've adjusted to working in a cross-functional team.