There has been some recent discussion in the testing industry about women in testing and in particular, the ‘voice’ of women in testing. There are thousands of talented and dedicated female testers across our testing communities, however it seems to me we are less likely to share our stories and experiences in public forums. This is something I feel strongly about: that there need to be amazing women for those who are new to the industry to see and aspire to be in testing, and in tech in general.
I have been one of the quiet ones up until now. In my day-to-day life I constantly push boundaries, and am more than happy to raise my voice when needed. I also play a lot of football (soccer), predominantly as a goalkeeper. In some of the competitions in my city there are no women’s leagues, so I play in the men’s ones, because that is where I get a game and where most of my football friends play. I don’t ask permission to join these leagues, generally, and while I do occasionally get kicked out of some, I love that I see more and more women playing in these leagues and playing well. I don’t claim to be a great player or leader by any stretch, but feel that by just playing and holding my own, I have helped encourage others. The other bonus from this is that my game improves dramatically as I get new challenges and face different styles of play that I wouldn’t if I just stuck to my regular leagues.
Why then is it so hard for me to make myself more visible in the testing world, when testing is something I really enjoy and am passionate about? For those that have met me, you probably know that I am always happy to have a chat about testing in person. I join in testing conversations at the events I attend, but living at the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand makes it difficult to attend more. So we come to writing about my experiences. This is an area I have shied away from up until now. There are a few reasons for this but the major one for me is Imposter Syndrome.
When I have previously considered writing about my experiences with testing, I have started to think I am not as good as other testers who will read what I write, that I don’t have anything worth to sharing, and if I did share, I would be exposed as an incompetent tester. I tell myself that I am not technically skilled, have nothing new to share that hasn’t already been shared, or in the case of Twitter, often feel that I am too late to the conversation, or won’t offer anything that hasn’t already been said. I even suffer from this at my work sometimes, where although I am told I do great testing and feel confident that I have done my best, I worry that I have missed a serious bug that will affect my company or that someone will come along and ‘out’ my work as majorly sub-standard.
Well no more! I made a commitment to myself this summer to be more fearless as a goalkeeper, to challenge harder and push myself to improve, and I realized that I should extend this to my testing. I need to be more fearless and that will encourage others to be more fearless. Even if my experiences and insights are old hat to some people, they will be new to someone else. If I say something wrong and am challenged, that is ok, I will be learning and improving my craft. I will build my technical skills as I ask the questions that I need answered and in turn that will help someone else. Most importantly, I will be the voice I want to hear, one that is confident and growing, and adding to an ever growing list of other talented women. Expect to hear more from me soon.
About the Author
Rachel Carson is a context-driven tester from Dunedin, New Zealand. Rachel got her testing role after originally applying for the role of a scientific writer at her current company. They offered her a testing role as they thought it suited her better, and she has never looked back. Getting to test desktop apps, cloud based systems and hardware, as well as using domain knowledge has ensured that her role is ever changing and challenging. Rachel is @akiwitester on Twitter.