Role of the Tester in the World of DevOps

Vice President of Testing, Adam Satterfield, recently had a great session with over 150 people at QASymphony’s Quality Jam discussing the role of the tester.  Adam discusses his experiences as a tester bringing quality into the DevOps process, with key strategies to ensure quality is infused in every step of your process.

Watch his presentation below and learn how to manage the balance between speed and quality as testers find their place in the world of DevOps.



3 Common Test Automation Mistakes

The software development world has shifted towards a continuous delivery model, and the demand for test automation has skyrocketed. We’re also seeing the erosion of traditionally separate roles, as DevOps gathers pace, which spells opportunity for testers with coding skills.

Work with experts in test automation and adopt a shift-left, automation first mindset to Quality Assurance.


Test automation offers the chance to boost efficiency and speed, and to establish greater consistency, but there are pitfalls to watch out for. Be aware of this trio of common test automation misconceptions to ensure they don’t jeopardize your project.

Automation will replace testers

Many people seem to believe that automation is a replacement for testers, but it’s best employed as a complement to them. For a start, you need automation testers to write your automated tests. The quality of your scripts depends heavily on the author, so you need testers with coding skills and the right experience to ensure test automation runs smoothly.

There’s also no substitute for an experienced tester’s skillset. They have been taught to investigate and think critically. They can explore software in depth, adjusting to target likely problem areas, and pivoting to discover related issues. Scripts are much more limited and focused right now.

At the end of the day, software is designed for people, so testers can provide valuable insight that a script cannot.

Automate UI test first

This is an easy trap to fall into, because UI tests are easier to write, but it’s to be avoided. Consider how often the UI changes during development. Each tweak necessitates a rewriting of the scripts. You must also remember that UI tests generally take a long time to run, so starting there can slow everything down.

If you begin with lower level tests instead, then you can increase the speed of each cycle. Component, unit, and integration tests don’t change as frequently as UI tests, so you’ll save a lot of time and effort that would be spent rewriting. That extra resource can be deployed as manual exploratory testing to validate the UI, while your scripts verify the core functions of the software.

Automation testers only script manual test cases

As a tester with coding skills, automation testers shouldn’t be limited  to just scripting manual test cases.  If you allow them to apply their knowledge and think about where they might make improvements, then you’ll reap the rewards. Instead of waiting for developers to create mock environments or create new time-saving tools, they might just do it themselves.

Problem solving skills and self-reliance are attractive skills in any role. Empowering automation testers to apply their skills beyond manual test scripting will potentially benefit your project and processes, and it can increase their job satisfaction at the same time.

There’s no doubt that test automation has a lot to offer, particularly in conjunction with a continuous delivery model, but it’s smart to stop and consider the best implementation plan. Make sure that you understand its strengths and limitations, use it in the right places, and fully leverage the skills of your automation testers.


How testers can come to grips with test automation

Test automation can enable you to test software more efficiently and effectively, improving quality and cutting time to market. Little wonder then that the market is expanding so quickly. Test automation was worth almost $13 billion in 2015 and it will be worth $86 billion by 2024, according to Transparency Market Research. Smart testers will see which way the wind is blowing here and take steps to acquire the skills they need to stay in demand.


Golden opportunity for career advancement

One of the main hurdles for test automation to overcome is the lack of skilled talent with the right experience. There’s no doubt that picking up coding skills and developing an understanding of test automation will make you a much more attractive prospect for many potential employers.

The drive towards continuous delivery of software, as siloes collapse in the path of the DevOps movement, represents real opportunity for testers who can code. Being able to script and find ways to automate complex, repetitive tasks makes you more self-reliant and reduces the burden on developers. Understanding code also helps you to analyze the code of others. These are transferable skills that will help you to see errors and patterns in logs and outputs.

Keeping up with the latest development trends

As software development evolves and the enterprise relies increasingly on the cloud and big data, testers have to work to stay abreast. Filtering, collating, and manipulating data is a big part of many testing roles nowadays. Problem-solving skills and self-reliance are also highly prized, and coding skills help you to adapt and think your way through.

A technical understanding can also enable testers to work beneath the GUI. If you can read XML and work directly with APIs, instead of relying on traditional user interfaces, then you’re already ahead of the competition. Your new-found coding skills can be applied anywhere that you see an opportunity for improvement.

How to acquire new skills

You may feel you don’t have the time or money to invest in yourself, but acquiring coding skills doesn’t need to be expensive, and you can do it at a time that suits you. Codecademy and Udemy are valuable resources to tap, and there is a lot of free guidance online. Read and study to brush up your skillset and grow. Consider learning a new language, like Python or Ruby.

You might also consider asking experienced technical testers or developers about the best route to improving your knowledge. If you have a dream role in mind, then research how to get there and make a plan to develop the right skills.

There’s always going to be demand for manual testers, but there’s no denying that test automation is likely to continue to grow more and more popular.

If you want to be the best tester you can be and ensure you have career opportunities open, then picking up coding skills is probably the single best thing you can do.


Adam Satterfield: New to KMS & New to Vietnam

I recently joined KMS Technology as VP of Testing Services in early July, and KMS wasted no time in sending me to meet our team in Vietnam and to see firsthand why our people are some of the best in the business. This is my first time working at a company with offices in Asia, so I really had no idea what to expect. I jumped at the opportunity, though. I didn’t really know much about Vietnam going into this; I figured adjusting to the culture and the language might be a hurdle for me, not to mention the 21-hour flight, but I chose to approach the whole trip with an open mind, confident that everything would be great.

Vietnam at Midnight KMS

The KMS Side of Vietnam

I landed around midnight so I didn’t get to see much more than the HCMC airport for my first look at Vietnam, but I received a wonderful KMS welcome from the team. They had an awesome weFresh Squid and Seafood in Vietnam KMSlcome package for me when I arrived at the hotel, with everything I needed like a company badge, a local cell phone, and they even wrote me a nice note welcoming me to their country. In the morning, I finally got to meet the team I had heard so much about. Everyone in the office was so friendly and I could tell they were genuinely happy to see me and truly wanted to get to know me. They took me out to eat that night, which was my first real insight into Vietnamese culture – and even ordered for me because I was the guest and they wanted to make sure I got a good first taste of the culture. My first meal was AMAZING! We dined on delicious squid and some of the freshest seafood I’ve ever had.

I lucked out that just as I was starting at KMS, the team in Vietnam was preparing to sponsor the HCMC Software Testing Club Conference where James Bach was the keynote speaker. Excitement is an understatement. His book Lessons Learned in Software Testing taught me the foundation of being a successful tester and I’ve looked up to him since I read the book back in 2002. I mean, how often do you get to break bread with the person you look up to in your career? James definitely challenged my knowledge and passion for testing, debating things like behavior driven development and really diving into how to best define automation testing. He’s such a knowledgeable person, and though I’ve been in testing almost 17 years now, I still learned so much more from him in these sessions.

I also got to see first-hand how involved KMS is with the HCMC Software Testing Club. Some of our team members gave spectacular presentations and it was great getting to talk test strategy with some of our client teams. It was clear to me that they are very passionate about quality assurance and are eager to learn as much as they can – something I really appreciate seeing in testers. It was definitely a treat for me to get to experience the testing culture in Vietnam, especially alongside James since we were both experiencing Vietnam for the first time.

It Wasn’t All Business in Vietnam


Dinner in Vietnam KMSEvery night during the conference I went out for dinner and drinks with the team. Dining in Vietnam was a bit of culture shock for me – all the food was served family style and there was tons of conversation and laughter and everyone really wanted to get to know each other. It was quite different from dining in the US where you’re often rushed and don’t connect with people. These gatherings were a great way to end the work day, KMS is a family and the team there truly loves working together and getting to know each other outside of the workplace.

After the work week was done, I got a chance to visit Ho Tram, abough 2.5 hours outside of Ho Chi Minh City. I always thought of Vietnam as agricultural with big cities but I now know there is so much more to see and experience. It was mind blowing how traffic worked – there didn’t seem to be many rules yet it seemed to flow seamlessly. James Bach even commented on how it looked like schools of fish swimming around each other, a very accurate depiction. When we arrived, the beach was so peaceful and we just relaxed and watched the local fisherman, bought their fresh catch and some shrimp and grilled out on the beach.

Ho Tram Beach Vietnam KMS

Cà phê đen không đá

I can now say that Vietnam has the absolute best coffee in the world, and that says a lot coming from me – I’m a bit of a coffee snob. I drank so much of it that I learned my coffee order in Vietnamese – cà phê đen không đá, which means black coffee no rocks (without ice). It was smooth, rich and delicious and my teammates were kind enough to bring me some every morning. The people in Vietnam are so pleasant and courteous that even random people at local restaurants bought me drinks just so they could sit and talk with me about what America is like. They were intrigued by me and wanted to learn of a culture different to theirs, which I enjoyed. It was fun being able to share a little bit about my background, exchange stories, and compare traditions, learning what things are similar and where there are stark differences.

I left Vietnam with a great sense of appreciation for the culture, economy, and the ceaseless growth I saw in the technical sector. I will be returning to Ho Chi Minh City in early September and cannot wait to experience more of the culture…and bring more coffee back home!