This time in the “People in Testing” series, I had the chance to interview José Díaz the creator of the famous software testing conference in Europe, the Agile Testing Days.
Daniel: What is currently your biggest challenge at work?
José: Due to the great job of my colleagues during the last years we are growing extremely fast. The challenge is to find the right people that fit into the company’s culture and are able to work in the innovative projects of our clients.
What do you think is the most important skill software testers should have?
I don’t think that there is only one. It is a combination of a few. In my eyes, you do not need to be the best tester ever to help your team. I think that respect for the work of the people involved in the project and also the ability to be a team member and contributing your individual strengths are very important. The skills should match with the project and the team and therefore may change from project to project.
What do you think is the next big thing in the software testing world?
The Agile Testing Days 2015! Just kidding. I think that some time ago a mind shift took place in the head of the IT Chiefs. Testing is now recognized as work that is essential for a project. The industry is aware that without testing you could be lost. Especially in the Mobile World, where you very often do have only one shot! If it does not work, you`ll lose the client immediately. No time to mature the product at the customer’s side. Therefore Testing is now largely recognized as a profession. I’m also of the opinion that we have professionalized the work we do. Even if some people do not see or do not want to see that, ISTQB and its opponents did a great job in directing the focus to testing. Now the next big thing is to equip the people with the necessary skills. The technology is getting more and more complex. The expectations, not only for the developers but also for the testers, are higher. It is much more than sitting in front of the app and just performing exploratory testing or test automation. The testers need to know and understand the technology. They will need to know programming languages etc. Testing turned away from being the thing that poorly skilled developers did and became a long life learning profession with amazingly skilled people that build up teams with developers and other highly skilled project members.
How did you get the idea to create the Agile Testing Days?
Early in 2009, there had not really been a European Conference for Agile (Testers) in the market. There were some developer’s conferences where agile played a role, but not really a 100% agile focused conference. In America started one and we decided that we do not need to wait for years to get one in Europe. We stared the adventure. Now in the 7th edition we are again breaking the last year’s record. If you remember the first edition and have a look on the 7th edition you will recognize that we really improved from year to year. Not only with regard to numbers, but also the way we run it. We learnt from each conference and applied all findings to the next one. It is our continued improvement process.
Why should software testers attend testing conferences?
Because you can learn a lot from failures and also successes that others had made! A conference is one of the rare opportunities to talk to others straight on. You get in touch with colleagues from all over the world and well recognized people that are happy to hear your adventures, discuss tactics and solutions and provide you with ideas based on their experience. Moreover, you may improve your skills at workshops and get to know tools, new techniques and become aware of emerging innovations.
José is a Gran Canaria guy living in Berlin for 26 years. He studied Computer Science in Berlin. He worked as Developer, Tester, Test Manager and Project Manager for several companies like Police in Brandenburg or the Federal Attorney General of Germany. 1998 he found the Diaz & Hilterscheid starting to work for the finance industry, retail, eCommerce, telecommunications, Pharma and Medical. He was and is involved in many organizations trying always to give the test profession a drive. He is the head of the Spanish Software Testing Qualifications Board and one of the birth fathers of CAT and CMAP and the organizer of the Agile Testing Days, Mobile App Europe and Software Testing World Cup. He was the founder and Editor of the Magazines „Testing Experience“, „Agile Record“ and „SecurityActs“. José invests in smart people’s ideas. Follow José on twitter: @