woensdag 24 augustus 2016

The sheep with five legs is dead, long live the centipede!

[This blog was originally published as Dutch article in TestNet Nieuws

In the past few months it has become clear to me that we, whether we are testers, quality directors or -engineers, T-shaped testers, qualisophes or whatever self-made variation of the validating- and falsifying professionals, must no longer advertise ourselves as the ‘sheep with five legs’ but as a genuine centipede,. By doing so, we also fully align with the latest trend of ‘meat’ being ‘out’ and insects are ‘the next thing’.

If I had to describe this centipede derived from all the articles, presentations and discussions it would be as follows:
The person has to be a male with a ‘feminine touch’ or a woman with a strong pair of ‘cojones’. He or she (for readability purposes I’ll use ‘he’ further on) has received a solid education, where he has cum-laude graduated from far ahead of schedule. The education distincts itself by having combined a sturdy practical approach common to higher professional education with the theoretical foundations of a university and a ‘school of life’ approach where it all depends on which context something will develop. This educational institute was also the only one providing the full testers curriculum developed by TestNet. He has done, purely out of personal interest, some extra modules that include technical informatics, creative education, didactic skills, psychology and multicultural communication. He also was able to attend two masterclasses at Nyenrode; the first on Sales and the second one on Consultancy. His parents brought him up bilingual; English and Dutch are his native language and during his studies he has been on several exchange programs in foreign countries, where he mastered German, French, Spanish, Mandarin and Hindi, while not perfect in writing, he knows enough to express himself verbally sufficiently.  

The last ten years this person has been building experience within the testing profession in the broadest sense. He can excellently perform the role of test analyst but has no trouble at all to step into the shoes of a test manager of even expert where he can easily advise on strategic level. The ten years before he got involved in ‘testing’ he was employed in a diversity of non-testing roles, also managerial ones, with service providers in both private and public sectors where they developed financial products for non-profit organizations. He is truly a jack of all trades! He possesses the overview of the sector concerned and its developments, but also has a thorough knowledge of the domain specifically. He really is an IT-specialist but also a domain expert. In the last two years of his career he has been – besides engineer- the SCRUM-master in a high performing SCRUM-team.

The person has got a thorough knowledge of all testing methods, approaches and techniques. He is also an expert in SQL, XML, C++, JAVA, JAVAscript, Python, Ruby, .Net and he can use nine-out-of-ten test tools, like (but not exclusively) Jira, Visual Studio Test professional, HP Unified Functional Tester, Selenium and the Tricentis testsuite. He is also fairly knowledgeable on the topics testdatamanagement, security- and performance testing, test environment management and mobile testing. Prince II project management, SCRUM, LEAN, Kanban and TOGAF are also topics he has packed into his rucksack as test- and all-round IT professional. He is up-to-date with all the latest trends and has a very complete historical overview and accompanying historical awareness. When he lacks a certain piece of knowledge he finds it no problem to learn, he loves to learn after all! He is even willing to invest a large part himself in both time and money for the benefit of this expansion of knowledge and skills.
In the area of soft skills he has been able to build up a broad palette in the past years. Communication is by far his strongest competence. Negotiating techniques, conflict management and active listening are key-concepts that fit his personality. He is a great sparring partner for the business. He is highly emphatic and has a high organizational sensitivity.  He knows how to enthuse, stimulate and motivate others.
He is mentally strong and is also emotionally connected with his inner self. He is flexible, agile and
and able-bodied. He is a passionate professional but also a family man. The values of both his company and his family he holds in high regards. He has good work ethics, has integrity and is very honest. He knows to balance quality and speed. He finds intrinsic rewards much more important than extrinsic rewards. That’s also the reason why he works for a (minimum) wage where he can live from, but doesn’t pursue any luxury. He is both introvert as extrovert, depending on the situation at hand. He can be a leader but also a follower, a predictable and also surprising team player that is very able to do his work autonomously.  And… last but not leas: he is only 21 years old!

This description might look a bit far-fetched, but yet it is mostly what I have gathered from a diversity of published material (including real job adds) in only 3 months’ time enriched with some things that are generically said about the ‘ideal employee’.  And I also admit that some of the ads where for very specific vacancies that require very specific skills or knowledge and I díd incorporate them in the description anyway, like I did for ‘test automation expert’.
What I also noticed was that there was a lot of mentioning of that ‘every employee’ had to be fitted into a specific description (very generic) but that it also has to be a unique and authentic individual.

Anyway. The sheep with five legs doesn’t fit the bill anymore, but a genuine centipede has to fulfill the needs nowadays. Now I don’t know how it is with you, but in my vision the Human Centipede’ (= film) doesn’t reflect my image of the ‘ideal creature’ and isn’t that viable. I prefer being my good old self: human, with two legs on the ground, sturdy grounded and sometimes with both feet in the clay!