[Video] Interview with the Community Hero - Marsha...
[Video] Interview with the Community Hero - Marsha Robertson
In the August interview, I'm talking with Marsha Robertson ( @Marsha_R ) - the TestComplete Community Hero. Marsha has 30+ years of experience in the Software QA! And, today, Marsha is happy to share her skills with all of us. Watch the short interview to learn:
about the most important skills each QA engineer must have nowadays.
If you have any questions to Marsha, feel free to post them here.
Watch the interview (turn on subtitles if needed):
[Tanya] Hello! I'm welcoming you in our monthly interview with the Top SmartBear Community contributors. Today, I'm happy to talk with Marsha Robertson our TestComplete Community hero. Marsha has been working in the industry for more than 30 years, and, today, she will tell us about the most important skills each software Quality Assurance specialist must have nowadays. Also, only in this interview, Marsha will share with us her advice on how to properly prepare for SmartBear Connect to get the most of it. SmartBear Connect, our user conference, will take place this fall. Watch the interview and leave your comments.
[Tanya] Hello SmartBear Community, I'm happy to welcome you in our mouthly interview. And, today, we will talk with Marsha Robertson, our Test Complete Hero. And you saw Marsha's cat many times, and, now it's time to meet Marsha and learn the cat's name. Hello Marsha! How are you?
[Marsha] Good morning! I'm fine thank you
[Marsha] So, I have two cats.
[Tanya] This was my second question. Only two, right?
[Marsha] Yeah, only two. The boy is Tucker and the girl is Hoshi.
[Tanya] Great! Let's start with a short introduction. Could you please introduce yourself to the SmartBear Community? Where are you from? What are your hobbies? What do you do in your spare time?
[Marsha] Okay. I'm from Southern California. I've lived out here 30-something years now, so, where I grew up is not where I'm from anymore, it's here, and I started out of school as a programmer and a support person. And, when QA came along is a an option, I jumped into that, and I've never wanted to go back, this is what I like to do at work. Spare time - I read, I watch TV, I go swimming. What else? Just hang out with my friends like everybody else.
[Tanya] And, I think one of the most important questions which everybody in the SmartBear Community will ask me about - do cats help with testing?
[Marsha] Well, they think they do. I think my phone just went off I'm sorry. They think, of course, cats always think they're helping with everything, and they know better than everything, but they will try. I don't know that their typing skills are the best.
[Tanya] Yeah they will need to work hard.
[Tanya] Okay, great, and about your professional work, so you were always like in the IT area, right?
[Marsha] Yes. Yes.
[Tanya] So, how long have you been in this industry, and how did you start?
[Marsha] Thirty something years. Okay. And, since I got out of school, I started with a computer science degree, but at that time, there were not many jobs at all, it was very hard to find a job out of school, but I started as a support desk person, and, at that company then I worked my way into programming, and that's what I did in the next two or three jobs was I would get into support, and then show them that I could do bug fixes, and maintenance, programming and that, and so I built up that way, and as I was moving to the next job, they said: 'Well, you could do this support, but we had this testing thing, we think you might like.' I said: 'Sure, why not.' Because the support desk had to carry a pager, and the QA people didn't, I knew I wasn't going to have any extra hours, but I tried it, and I really liked it, and that was only manual testing then, there was no thought of automation, and I just stuck with it, and it's been something I really like to do, and I, now, I get a chance to program again since we're doing it automated.
[Tanya] Right. You have a great background, so I have a question for you in case if you can share your knowledge with new people, people who are just starting their career. So, if you were to hire anyone for a position in the Software Quality Assurance. What questions would you ask them? Should they be only some kind of product-specific questions? Or, this person should have some knowledge in the software quality assurance areas? How to set up frameworks or other things?
[Marsha] I tend to look for more general knowledge because that's the way I came forward. You will see job listings that'll say we want you to know this software or that software. I have all this experience in accounting or whatever, but there is that skill to testing. And if you know how to test, you can learn the software, so, every place I've been I've tested a different kind of software, it's been accounting or medical or business systems, whatever, but if you know the testing, then you can go on. So, I will ask more general things, like, you might know the... the elevator test, how would you test an elevator? Now, you don't have to know software, you don't have to know how the elevator works, but you can give me a whole test plan for an elevator, and then I know how you're gonna think about pulling the puzzle apart. So, that's the kind of thing I would do. You push the button, you put somebody in the elevator. We had an intern come up with that he said he would put a drone in the elevator. Because if you don't know that the elevator's going to work properly, you don't want to put a person in there, so he would rig a drone to push the buttons, and do all the other things. I'd say he's the first one that has come up with that. So that's the kind of thing I look for.
[Tanya] Do you remember when you first time came to the TestComplete Community? How long ago was it?
[Marsha] About maybe five or six years ago, I had worked with TestComplete at the job before, and we were doing a lot of back-end, and it was all scripting, and I was following somebody else's pattern, so I kind of knew that part, but, then when I moved to the newer job, it was all keyword, and I didn't know the keyword, I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn't know the keyword. So, I got on the community and started looking at the documentation, and then I'd have questions, of course, we were all new at work, so nobody at work knew, so I just started posting things on the forum, and there were magically people that can answer.
[Tanya] And, at the beginning of this year you earned the Community Hero status.
[Tanya] This is one of the most elite community statuses, it is not so easy to earn it. You need to contribute. So, could you please share your secret? How have you managed to do this? Where did you find the time to contribute to the community?
[Marsha] And, how did I get in past @tristaanogre and @cunderw? Because there are some other people that I don't know how they spend all that time, or they just know the answers faster than I do I think, but I spend a little time in the morning, and then a little time in the afternoon just picking through the forum and finding things that I know the answer to, or I can add to somebody else's answer. It's been really nice, the very new feature that shows us the unanswered posts has made it even faster because that we don't have to pick through, they are already there.
[Tanya] Yeah, I knew you would like it!
[Marsha] Yes, that was very good, so that's what I do, I just go in in the morning, and it helps a little that I think most people that answer are in a different time zone, so they're all East Coast, or they're in Europe, and so when I get there, I get the later people and so maybe the people on the East Coast have gone to lunch or whatever, I could pick up on the later people, and, also, I get things after they've got home, so, hopefully, this is the customer service person in me, hopefully, somebody doesn't go too long without an answer or at least a question back: 'What did you do?' 'Can you give us more information?' And, they're not just sitting there thinking nobody's there. Yeah. That's why, I get on in the afternoon, I try to pick up cuz it's frustrating when you're trying to work on something at four o'clock, and you don't have an answer, and nobody can help you, and I've been there, so I'd like to show them somebody's watching, you know.
[Tanya] Thanks for thinking about this, yeah that's great. I know that last year you attended our user conference, SmartBear Connect, where you were able to chat with you mentioned before Robert Martin and Carson Underwood. So, how did you meet? What were you talking about? Were you talking about some specific area?
[Marsha] Well, I found Robert just in the first meeting, in the big ballroom. I happened to run into him, and so we ended up sitting together to watch those things. We did talk a little bit about work, and I know he was a speaker, and then Carson I found after his piece, and what we found out that you can kind of tell it on the forum, but what we found out is that we all really have the same problems, you know we're testing totally different products, but we all have the same problems, and we've all come up with a different way to solve them, and it's like: 'Oh, I could do that!' or, you know, Robert gives me this shortcut, or I could share this with Carson that might help him, but we're all in the same boat, we're just different angles like you said, so it's nice. That whole room, really, you're not alone, everybody's doing the same thing.
[Tanya] Okay, great, so I suppose that you were able to resolve all the questions you had at the conference.
[Marsha] I did actually, I brought a list because other people had questions, overseas people that couldn't come had questions.
[Tanya] Okay, this is actually great advice for the ones who are going to attend SmartBear Connect this year, so, prepare a list of questions you will need to resolve and ask them at the conference, great.
[Marsha] I sent to all our offices we have several around, and I was the only one going in a couple months, and I kept bugging people: 'Send me questions, send me questions.' And, I, probably, had a dozen and about half of them I could answer from the speakers, and then the other ones we went over and everybody was happy.
[Tanya] I would like to thank you for your awesome contribution to the TestComplete Community, we are very happy that you're with us, and you are willing to share your knowledge. Do you have anything to say to the SmartBear Community.
[Marsha] Well, thank you, I have fun doing it, that's why, I stick around, you know, we all have enough work to do, but this is a contribution I can make, and I appreciate the opportunity. For the community where it just seems like we're all supporting each other, you know, new people come in and 'I don't know what this is' and 'I don't know what that is' and we just go in and say, well, it's this, and it's not hard, you know, don't get frustrated, here are some answers. And if we, between those of us that are answering, if we have to, then we say: 'Here's the link to support and just go ask there because, you know, they know 10 times more than we do, and they'll help you if we can't.' So, we just we don't want anybody to go away frustrated. So, just keep trying, and somebody will answer your question.
[Tanya] Okay and I'm sure that we will do our best to help everyone to find the answer to the question.
[Tanya] Okay, thank you. Thanks a lot for the interview, thanks a lot for your time, see you at SmartBeat Community.