Motivation 2019

I’ve been asked (kindly) to do a blog post, to get some content up on our web page. “Talk (write) about things that might be interesting to people in the tech community” they said… Or anybody who might be interested in Rebels’ story, and frankly we have a pretty interesting story; so here we are. We’re about 4 years in, sitting-pretty at 12 people with some pretty big stuff going on in the background and a lot of plans for 2019.

As it’s a New Year, the first thing that came to mind to write about was motivation. Gaahhhhddddd it’s hard to get out of bed at the moment, and that’s tricky enough at the best of times – and I consider myself lucky, I just got my new Toyota CHR (hybrid, yes I’m one of those people…and it’s awesome) so I’m genuinely pretty excited to get out of bed just so I can drive to work. I’m an equal measure of terrified and excited as it’s the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought – But my partner, numerous friends, my mum, and a tonne of other people I know and follow on LinkedIn and Twitter are deep into their ‘struggle to motivate thy-self to go to work’ mode, post-Christmas. It’s a tough one. How do you dive right back in to full time work after having what feels like 3 months off? In reality, it was probably closer to 10 or maybe 14 days. But not getting out of bed until it was acceptable to open a beer or pour a prosecco has made getting out of bed now, while it’s still miserable and dark, pretty tough. That said, at least it’s not too cold for January (because the planet’s heating up and we’re all going to die…).

SO, what’s motivating me?

Again, I’m incredibly lucky. In my role as an account manager, I get to work with loads of businesses across lots of regions in the UK, possibly more than anybody at Rebel. Partly due in part to the fact I’ve become a ‘test-specialist’ and work any test role that comes along and also because I work with every consultant at Rebel in some capacity or another, my days tend to be pretty mixed. I’m constantly giving advice to candidates and businesses about what their competitors are doing or paying, what’s going on with candidates, and as ever, searching for people who might be suitable for, and interested in the roles I’m working. Right now I’m actively working 4 test vacancies which is the least I’ve had available since September time (at one point we had about 15 roles on…it was both mental and awesome because I pretty much had multiple places to send virtually any candidate…but mostly just mental!). Given the signs we’re getting from the businesses we work with, we’re anticipating a fair bit of action in testing this year too – so alongside my non-test roles, I have plenty to focus on when I get in to work on any given day.

Testing, as with anything in tech, is really evolving, not to the same extent but similar in some ways to the explosion software development has been experiencing over the last 5-10 years (depending slightly on what region you live in, some places saw it before others?). It also seems (and don’t just take my reasonably inexperienced word for it, ask testers!) that businesses are adopting a more serious mindset towards testing. In the age of “I’ll complain about you on twitter” companies must take the quality of their products and services seriously before sending them live into the world; – to stand tall and absorb the load and pressures unpredictable customers will inevitably throw at them – or crash and throw up that annoying error, or worse, just do nothing as customers click/tap away creating new explosions that p*ss the dev team off.

Testing is one way to mitigate at least some of the risk that comes with releasing ANYTHING. We know you can never test everything, it’s literally impossible, but as we’ve learned from TDD+BDD and the success of Agile, if you understand your goals well enough, prioritise what you need your products, sites, features etc. to do, and allow customers (hopefully you have a friendly and switched on BA or a trusty UI/UX’er) to help you with understanding their behaviours and the motivations behind their interactions with your software/product, it becomes easier to figure out what is and isn’t worth testing, thus you avoid some technical debt and wasted time. It’s an exciting time to talk to testers and work on testing roles, there’s so much going on in this sphere of technical existence, it’s cool.

I’ll finish up with one more thing that’s giving me some motivation as we trundle our way deeper into the new year. The tech community, locally, regionally, nationally etc. Tech is a cool and exciting thing to be a part of, anywhere in the world for the most part, regardless of where on the periphery you’re sat. I’m lucky enough to be a part of an insanely welcoming community, the Notts Tech community is incredible, we read about it quite regularly with some amazing advocates and masses of amazing individuals who are supportive, friendly, interesting, fun, intelligent, the lot. I’m able to go along to Notts Test every month (first Wednesday of every month, check it out on Meetup.com!) where I get to hang out with people from the local world of test.

(I started this thing shortly after I joined Rebel where I’d agree to do things I knew I wasn’t necessarily going to like or be good at. For the 3 years before joining Rebel I was galivanting around the world where I was regularly thrown into situations outside of my comfort zone, so it didn’t seem like an all-too-stupid idea to do the same now I’m settled in the UK. Alas, it wasn’t!)

I’ve been taking on things that are outside of my spectrum of knowledge or experience and going to a fair number of local meetups, working roles I wasn’t that familiar with like marketing, and tbh that’s how I got into recruiting testers too. The idea didn’t appeal much at first, but the demand Rebel had at the time didn’t leave much room for passing on the opportunity (and I know how hard Mica works in the world of development and some of the challenges there) but now Notts Test is a highlight of every month and working on numerous test roles at any given time just means having options for people!

It hasn’t all been plain sailing but for the most part things have generally worked out, and in line with just saying yes to things, I’ll be giving a bit of a talk at next months’ Notts Test (Feb) with Dan Caseley on recruitment – something he first suggested back in about September time last year. The idea is to give a bit of an overview of what’s going on in the market – relating to test, something that on the face of it might seem kind of obvious. Testers are IN the market, so surely they know what’s going on in said market, right? Apparently not always the case. Dan pointed out that many people focus almost exclusively on what’s going on in their role because that’s what puts money into your account so the house you live in continues to belong to you. Who really has the time – if you’re not searching for a job – to look up the kinds of technologies, tools, languages, frameworks and so-on that other businesses, maybe your competitors or emerging sectors of the industry etc. are using?

Soooo that’s a bit of a gap we’re looking to plug, along with other topics like do’s and don’ts of finding a new role, how best to present and approach finding a new role, and what businesses need to offer to find the best people. Should be interesting!

So, these are a few things that have subconsciously been motivating me over the last 3 or-so weeks. Off to get that presentation sorted….

Happy new year!

Ben Williamson
Ben Williamson
Posted 27/02/2019

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