Robyn’s Story: A Timeline

By Robyn Daulby

Origin story

“2017 is going to be my year. I’m going to make people proud” - December 2016

Some background info on me… January 2017, I was working as a hire controller in the construction industry. As extra work in my role, I was asked to test updates to the system we used before they were rolled out to the company. I’d follow the journey we would take on the system logging any problems. All the time not realising this was an actual job in itself.

One night I was doing the obligatory social media scrolling, when I saw someone had shared jobs at AO, couldn’t hurt to look could it? “Junior Test Analyst” popped up. The more I read the description, the more I realised that this was what I was doing as extra work. Granted I was doing it on a much smaller scale but this was a junior role, I didn't need to know everything. So, nervously, I applied, I got the job, and as the famous saying goes ‘the rest is history’. This was it, I was going to make something of myself.

Finding And Winning A Scholarship

“There’s no way I’m getting it, I’m not that lucky” - 20th July 2017

I first came across Ministry of Testing very early on as one of the first tasks I was given was to complete a MOT 30 Days of Testing challenge. This alone helped me find loads of information in the testing world. Twitter accounts to follow, slack channels, blogs, podcasts and conferences. If you haven't done one of these then you most definitely should.

It was through Twitter that I found the Scholarship. I did a little research and all I needed to do was email in, let MOT know what event I would like to attend and why. TestBash Manchester was my choice, so I typed up my email and off it went, now we wait! Less than an hour later, I received an email from Richard. My automatic response was ‘I’ve not got it, too quick of a reply but at least I tried.’ How wrong I was! Not only had I been offered to attend the conference day but I was also offered the opportunity to attend the Exploratory Testing 101 workshop plus a ticket to attend Open Space. I was speechless! But then excitement hit me and I couldn't wait to go.

TestBash Manchester Time: Much Learning Ahead

“I don't know anything, they’re going to think I’m an idiot” - 25th October 2017

After 3 months of waiting, the time for ET101 had finally arrived and I had never been more nervous in my entire life. Walking up to the Lowry on Thursday morning, my head was filled… ‘You don't know anything,’ ‘You’re going to look like a fool,’ ‘No one's going to acknowledge you,’ ‘What are you even doing here.’ Terrified. Within 20 minutes, I was sat with a coffee and 3 complete strangers had sat with me and we were chatting away, the nerves slowly started to disappear. I doubt they know it but I will be forever grateful to those 3 people.

Heading into our room for the day, I sat at a table and immediately recognised some faces, Claire Reckless and Heather Reid. I had a mini fangirling moment inside! The day flew by, I took notes and listened to everything everyone said, taking in as much knowledge from people as I could. The testing community is incredible, no one judges, everyone just wants to help you succeed. I finished my first day in Nandos with new friends and a tonne of new knowledge.

“I can’t wait to go back tomorrow” - 26th October 2017

Day 2. It’s TestBash time! Absolutely no nerves today, just excitement! It was my first ever conference so I didn’t know what to expect. I listened intently to all the talks given and it gave me some great insight into the world of testing. I really enjoyed James Sheasby Thomas’ accessibility talk. It was the talk that got me thinking the most. I instantly wanted to go away and try and navigate a website without a mouse. A huge bonus to the day was the breaks we had in between talks. It gave everyone the opportunity to mix and chat, plus I had made it onto TesBash Bingo (what an honour), so what better reason to mingle?

“I promise next year I will do a 99 second talk” - 27th October 2017

My only regret from the conference day was not doing a 99 second talk. I know now that I should have just done it, but I talked myself out of it. I have, however, promised Gem Hill I will do one next year and a promise is a promise. Also, it’s now written down in black and white so there really is no going back on it.

“What’s an unconference?” - 28th October 2017

Day 3. The Open Space. If I didn't know what to expect from a conference day, I had no idea what to expect from an unconference. I decided to attend a mix of talks. Some I attended because I had a real connection with them and some I attended because, quite frankly, I didn't have a clue what they were and I wanted to know. I really enjoyed Dan Billing’s talk on Security testing, I knew nothing about it so it was a great insight for me. Something I absolutely loved about the day was that it was so open, people spoke with such emotion and people listened without prejudice.

The Future...

So what does the future hold? More and more learning and testing. If there was one big thing I came away with, it was that although I may not know as much as some people know, I’m also never going to stop learning. To share the knowledge I gained from TestBash, I’ll be running a small workshop to my colleagues about ET101 plus doing a small presentation to the IT department about my TestBash Experience.

One of the main things I’m looking forward to is the Software Testing Clinic that is coming to Manchester in January 2017. It will be a great opportunity to get regular mentoring, in addition to the help I receive already at work. I hope eventually one day I can develop myself to a point where I can become a mentor at the clinic! It’s a busy future but I’m looking forward to every second of it.

“Thank you, Thank you, Thank you” - Indefinitely...

I know it’s a cliche but those 3 days for me were a roller coaster of emotions. An incredible rollercoaster. So much taken in and learnt. So much overcome. So many new friends made! I came away not only a more confident tester but a more confident person. I can't give enough thanks to the Ministry of Testing Scholarship and the people that make it possible, you really are Scholarship Heroes!! Thank you!!

Author Bio

Robyn has been a Junior Test Analyst for 8 months. She started her testing career at AO.com and is working on developing herself to become the best Test Analyst she can possibly be.

Outside of work Robyn likes to spend time with family, drinking gin, visiting Scotland and reading.

You can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn