Wednesday, 11/15, November QASIG Meeting

View details and register at QASIG.org

For our last meeting of the year, we are excited to welcome Penny Allen, from Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), who is going to share her PNSQC Keynote presentation with us. If you weren’t able to attend PNSQC this year it’s a great opportunity to catch it. Let us know if you can join us!

Quality Engineering 2017: Trends, Tricks, and Traps

The motivation to develop digital experiences faster and better is the centerpiece of the Quality Engineering movement. Said more simply, we have to do even more with even less despite galactic level complexity and consumer expectations.

The question is: How?

We have to evolve our toolset, our techniques, and even our thought processes. In a very real sense, we have to redefine ourselves and our craft and we have to do it NOW before the choices are made for us.

In this talk, we’ll look at the different ways QA teams are adapting to their new reality: everything from service virtualization to contract testing to blue/green deploys. We’ll explore tools and techniques that worked and a few that failed. We’ll look at the trends driving mobile development, platform development, and cloud engineering with a very specific eye on keeping quality at the forefront of every effort.

My goal is to arm you with the knowledge necessary to start your own revolution and the will to challenge the norm in search of the next, great evolution.

About our speaker:  Penny Allen is the Director, Enterprise Quality Assurance at Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) and started her technology career as a mission systems engineer for NASA and then decided to try something really challenging: quality assurance! Her fortuitous decision to attempt something new became a hallmark of her career as she explored the expanse of software development with Engineering Leadership roles at companies like Nike and Fiserv.

That passion for continually trying new things brought her to the forefront of the Quality Engineering movement in the age of Continuous Deployment, DevOps, and SAFe. No longer content to watch the same good intentions produce the same mediocre results, Penny dove head first into rebuilding the concept of QA. Telemetry instead of test plans; meaningful data instead of monotonous metrics – the list of opportunities is endless.

In her current role at REI, Penny is building a quality program centered on solid engineering, great people, and the desire to always do a little better than the day before. There is always something novel to try in the quest to build better experiences.

QASIG Meeting: September 13, 2017, 6PM

Join us at our headquarters for the next QASIG meeting on September 13th at 6 PM. As always, we’ll have pizza and beverages at 6 with the program starting at 6:30.

Register at the QASIG site: https://www.qasig.org/events/september-qasig-meeting/

Building a Collaborative and Social Application Security Program

Presented by: Joe Basirico, Security Innovation, VP of Professional Services

In today’s environment, there is no arguing that a comprehensive secure development process is necessary. Fitting tools, technology, and security reviews into our current development cycle has become table stakes for companies building the software of tomorrow.

Breaking the “find and fix” vulnerability based assessment cycle so that software is developed with security in mind from start to finish is critically important, but doing this without leveraging a collaborative and social security program that leverages bug bounty programs, security researchers, and every aspect of vulnerability disclosure misses a huge opportunity. In this talk, I will explore how your security program can reach beyond the Secure SDLC.

About our speaker:  As the VP of Services, Joe is responsible for leading the Professional Services business at Security Innovation. He leverages his unique experience as a development lead, trainer, researcher, and test engineer to direct the security consulting team in the delivery of high-quality, impactful risk and software assessment and remediation solutions to the company’s customers. His ability to blend deep technical skills with risk-based business and compliance analysis is a powerful combination.

Joe has spent his career analyzing application behavior with respect to security. He has researched how software development organizations mature over time from a security perspective. Through this research, he has developed an understanding of application threats, tools, and methodologies that assist in the discovery and removal of security problems both software and process related.

PNSQC is next week – we hope to see you there!

The Pacific Northwest Quality Conference is next week, October 17-19, in Portland, Oregon and we are very excited to be attending and participating again!  We love this conference as it attracts a diverse audience from near and far and is such a great community with a size that enables us to meet new colleagues while also being able to reconnect with those we already know.

This year’s conference is centered on cultivating quality and includes two days filled with great keynotes, invited speakers, and position papers and one day of in-depth workshops. A bonus this year is that each day begins with coffee, tea, and yoga. Seems a great way to get centered and caffeinated for the day and ready to learn and connect with others dedicated to quality in software.

Some notable things we look forward to checking out:

  • Keynote: From Software Tester to Leader: How to Take a Radical Leap Forward at Work, Peter Khoury, Magnetic Speaking. An effective way to increase quality is to be heard and building communication and leadership skills is a great way to get there.
  • Leading Change from the Quality Team by John Ruberto, Concur. John recently spoke at our QASIG meeting and has some great ideas to share.
  • Dine Around Portland. Monday night heading out on the town to check out Portland’s vibrant foodie, wine, cocktail, and ice cream scene.
  • Quality: 2020, Brian Gaudreau. How to plan and be ready for the future of software quality.
  • And so many more!

We know we’ll come away energized as always and look forward to our time there next week. If you are attending stop by our table on Monday to say hi! Krista, Jeff, and Cindy will be there to chat about quality and of course, we’ll have our signature flip pads to give away so you can take notes in the sessions.

Check out the PNSQC Website to learn more about the program (and there’s still time to register if you haven’t yet!).

Stay tuned for our follow-up conference review!

#PNSQC

Which Technical Skills Should I Acquire?

by Torrie Arnold

Among the most common and worst questions that recruiters are consistently asked, “What technical skill(s) should I acquire to increase my marketability?” It’s a question commonly asked and a clear answer from a recruiter unwittingly places the candidate at risk. Changing labor market demands, a misunderstanding of one of the most common elements of success, and the massive amount of time it takes to properly develop a skill should have already placed this question in obsolescence.

Typically I answer this question in pointing out what we all know to be obvious. With the general labor market changing rapidly, the tech sector is perhaps the most dynamic and rapidly changing of all. Skills that were in demand 6 months ago from any specific point in time within the last three years have almost all faded towards saturation at best, obscurity at worst. Successful developers, architects, security engineers etc. have all risen to and maintained their edge in either developing new skills of honing expertise in one area. Constantly developing new technical skills to keep up with the market allows one to remain marketable, but can sometimes feel taxing like a treadmill that won’t stop. Contrarily, developing a true expertise may allow one to carve out a particular niche within a larger industry, but limits the scope of future opportunities.  Remaining a successful engineer will require either diversification or specialization, and won’t be easy either way. It’s best to start where your interests are than where the market is temporarily placing its spotlight.

With the above in mind, it doesn’t make much sense to choose a direction purely based on current market demand. However, we are also aware that failing to plan means planning to fail, and we know where we will ultimately end up in choosing to develop a skill that has no market demand. What next? As naïve as it sounds; following your passion is the best way to start. Identifying those areas with relative demand is rather simple, just check a few pages of local job listings and assess what skills the labor market is in need of, and take a personal inventory of what interests you most, if you haven’t already. Few common threads run amongst the most successful people in the world, but passion for what they do is one that is undeniable. Not only will you have more fun in acquiring such skills that you love, but you will also be more driven to meet the changing landscape of what will be needed now and later to achieve your personal passions and goals. Where do you start? Wherever you most want to, the where you start shouldn’t be determined without first recognizing your passion as the why.

The massive amount of time it takes to learn a new element of security, learn a new programming language proficiently enough to list on your resume, attain a Microsoft or Cisco certification, etc. is not going to be the best use of your time unless the pursuit of these skills is at least partly for reasons of self-edification and sincere interest. Rather than pursue the in-demand skill of today that you are half-heartedly interested in and won’t be in demand by the time you acquire it, it may be best to spend your time networking, learning who the organizations in your particular field are and what they do, request and attend informational interviews, learn how to market yourself in the resume and in the interview, and make sure you have a recruiting consultant that listens and partners with you in helping you to reach your goals.

Your career will most likely be a long road, denying your personal interests and refusing to be ruthless with your time will make this road all the more arduous and all the less enjoyable.

#keeplearning

The Best Kept Secret of Top Performers

A common parallel among successful people is that they score highly in Emotional Intelligence. Even people who may not have the highest IQ can surpass their colleagues because of the ability to tap into their EQ to appropriately connect with those around them.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has been thought of as an aptitude, something you either possess or don’t; however, it seems clear that the science is pointing to just the opposite. In fact, there is much you can do to assess and improve your EQ, the critical factor to both personal and professional success.

EQ is a nebulous thing we all possess at differing levels that affects how we understand ourselves and through the lens that we practice self-management, social empathy, and relationship building. Because it is so nebulous it is difficult to measure and to understand what you need to do in order to improve.

The good news is that there are seemingly infinite resources to help with both of these tasks – first figuring out where you stand currently on the EQ spectrum and second to practice and learn to improve where you can. The following are two resources by highly recognized researchers, consultants, and speakers, Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves.

These books are a great introduction, assessment tool, and action plan toward greater abilities in EQ. There are also many online resources for assessments (paid and free) and skill building. It seems well worth the time to work on these skills as highly emotional intelligent people are the most productive and in turn the most successful.

High Emotional Intelligence = Top Performer = Career and Life Success

Keep learning!

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