Today, I'm happy to start a new Community initiative that will help us to know each other better - Video Interviews.
We are starting with an interview with Alexei Karas (@AlexKaras), one of our most experienced Community Heroes! We will talk about his personal life, his life inside the SmartBear Community, and the industry trends.
You can watch the interview here:
Do you have any specific questions for Alexei or any of our Leaders? Please post them here.
For your convenience, I'm posting the transcript of the interview here:
Tanya: Hello SmartBear Community! My name is Tanya Gorbunova, and I work as a Community Manager here at SmartBear. Today, I'll talk with Alexei Karas, one of our most experienced Community Heroes, and we will talk about Alexei's community growth, his professional growth, and how he managed to earn our elite Community Hero status two years in a row, and, hopefully, today, we will hear about the main Alexei's competitors among other Community Heroes and Leaders. So, hello Alexei! How are you today?
Alex: Hello Tanya, hello Community! I'm fine thank you, and I hope that you may say the same for you.
Tanya: For our SmartBear Community, please introduce yourself, where are you from? Also, tell us a bit about yourself - your hobbies, etc.
Alex: Okay. A really good question because I'm not that good when talking about myself. Yeah, I am Alexei or Alex - whatever is more convenient and preferable for you. I am from Ukraine, one of the former USSR republics.
I'm in the software testing for more than 15 years. I started in the early 90s as a software developer. And, then, it happened that besides development I also had a lot of contacts with, actually, with customers, with end users. May be something that is called the agile approach now. When you not only provide software, but also communicate with your customers. And, while communicating and putting our software into production, helping our users start using it, it appeared that I also got some experience as customer support.
As a developer, I was responsible for one of modules that was designed to work as an operating system service. And, that is why, we would like to know if it works without any memory leaks, without any extra consumption of system resources. That is why, I started to look for some software profiling tool, and it happened that I found AQtime that was in one of the beta states at that time, so you can see I didn't even start with TestComplete originally, but I started with AQtime.
Tanya: So, the question is that if you worked in maybe other positions, in other sphere, and in other area not only in the software development, maybe. Where did you start?
Alex: I can say that from my younger years I liked to do something with my own hands, kind of do-it-yourself. That is why, I have some experience working on a plant with power tools, with power equipment, rotating tools.
More or less usual life of a young guy who would like to get some money, to earn money, and, that is why, I was doing this or that by side work.
Tanya: So, in most cases, physical exercises kind of, right?
Alex: Yeah, kind of. Again, working on the plant, you had to put some physical efforts.
Tanya: I didn't see if you participated in our current Winter Community Games. This is about some fun sport activities I'm sure you can share some grades and comments from your experience.
Alex: I would say I tried, but, again, I am a kind of more a technical guy. It's more natural, it's more convenient for me to make some generic ideas.
Tanya: Okay, I see. So, you are, as you said, mostly the technical guy, so this is what you're passionate about, right?
Alex: Yeah, at least, this is the way how I like to think about myself.
Tanya: Do you have any industry trends which inspire you nowadays? So, for example for me it's really cool what they are doing with the Internet of Things nowadays. I'm looking forward to the moment when I can, you know, feed my cat by clicking just one button on my phone. Are there any things you are inspired by?
Alex: Well, it will sound like I joined your idea, but, actually, this is true. Maybe, this is a problem, but, as I said, I like your tools and that is why I am trying to find areas to find projects where I can use them and improve my knowledge, my experience with your tools.
Yes, I am not fond of feeding my wife's cat through the Internet, I prefer to do this in person because he, the cat, is so warm with this wool around him.
So, my preference is to do this in person, but, in general, yes, mobile development, applications, web services or micro services, Internet of Things sounds interesting for me. And, I would be happy to participate in some projects that work with those technologies and even better try to participate in these projects, sorry for repeating, but using your tools.
I don't see any real problems with API microservices or mobile projects in this area. However, Internet of Things may be a bit problematic unless considering something like the SOAPUI product and, maybe, some ServiceV, LoadUI.
Tanya: Okay, okay. I see. So, as you said, you described that you are with the SmartBear products for quite a long time, and you are with the SmartBear Community for quite a long time, and, so, do you remember how you found out about the SmartBear Community for the first time? I know that it will be not the SmartBear Community, it will be Automated QA news groups or newsletters, what was that?
Alex: Yeah, you are correct. Excuse me, but I didn't search for a community, I didn't find it. Instead, as I said, when I applied for AQtime beta and AQtest beta I was provided with a link to news groups at that time, so I started to participate in those groups as the tools were good for me.
They provided me with what I needed from them. I used them actually quite extensively, and I believe because of this and also because of your exceptional documentation, that was exceptional starting from the very beginning, and, again, maybe that is because of the fact that I am a technical guy, so I prefer to read the manual first, and then use the appliance. So, I also read the documentation. And, maybe, because of the combination of the documentation reading and personal experience I was able to answer some questions to guys in those news groups.
The news groups were transformed to a community. And, I was not excluded from the list, but accepted as a member. So, I still continue and try to participate according to my possibilities and my knowledge.
Tanya: And, how did you get so involved in the SmartBear Community life? Do you like helping people?
Alex: Yes, I do. Again, why not? We are all professionals in this area. We are in different countries, continents and I don't think this puts any competition between us, so it's not a problem to be polite with a piece of advice for some guy who is in America. He will not do my job, and I'm not doing his job or her job. So, yes. Why not to help?
And, also, this is a kind of a challenge because the question may be about something that you expect can be done with this or that tool, but you don't know the exact way. And, you think that this may be used by you personally, in your work. So, why not to spend several minutes to look for a solution, to think of possible solutions. Even if you don't have the exact answer, why not to exchange your ideas and to discuss them?
Tanya: Okay, I see. So, and, you've already mentioned it about other Community Leaders and Heroes who also actively participate and help another community members in the community. I think I know the answer, but I'll need to ask it. So, do you compete somehow in the community with Leaders, with Heroes, or do you feel you're the best?
Alex: I am not feeling I am the best, but at the same time, I do not think that, personally, I do not think that I am competing with them. I don't know what they think, but I'm just trying to provide others with a piece of advice when I can, and, at the same time, I may say that I really like to read answers and consider ideas suggested by other Leaders and regular community members.
Tanya: So, you continue growing, and you continue learning something new by being in the SmartBear Community even in this hero status.
Alex: I am pretty sure that yes, I do. Actually, everyone is saying, and this is true that being in the computer industry, one must learn to improve himself all the time. So, yes definitely, our community, our news groups are a really good source for personal improvement.
I believe, in those areas specifically related to this or that product by SmartBear. But, quite often, we are discussing here some more or less generic questions that can be applied, for example, to testing in general. Without being bound to any specific tool.
By the way, one more thing that I like in our community is that it is, I think, it is quite popular, and I didn't meet a lot of other communities dedicated to your tools. Maybe, local communities. For example, what I mean is when you try to search for something if you have some question, for example, with Selenium, nothing personal, just an example. And, try to search for the answer and google it. You will most likely get a lot of links to different blogs, news groups, forums, separate personal answers. But, if you try to search for something for TestComplete, AQtime, or ServiceV, most links will lead to our community and several other local language communities, but, again, they are quite big, and I probably can say countrywide or language-wide.
Tanya: Okay, yeah, thanks a lot! That's always great to hear such great feedback from our community members and from our experienced Community Heroes. So, thanks a lot for the interview. Thanks everyone for watching. I'm sure we will see Alexei in the SmartBear Community.
Alexei, do you want to add anything?
Alex: Thank you Tanya for this opportunity to answer your questions and, maybe, to provide my opinion to others. And, thank you all the community members and those who found this talk with Tanya by some other means, thank you for watching it to the end.
I am not sure if SmartBear will find a way to make some kind of a follow-up discussion, but if you disagree with something that was said during this talk, you are welcome to join our community and share your comments in the community. Thank you.
Tanya: Yes. Okay. If you liked the interview, give us your thumbs up and kudos. I like kudos, I don't know.
Okay we'll see you in the SmartBear Community, thanks for watching, bye!
Alex:Thank you all, and I hope to see some follow-up and other interviews with some other community members. It'd be interesting to meet them at least in a video if not in person.