Breakpoint 2021 is a 2-day virtual summit on software quality. We're bringing speakers—dev, QA and open source experts—to talk about how the best engineering teams ship quality software at scale.

Julia Pottinger is a Training and Development Manager at QualityWorks with expertise in manual, automated and API testing and training. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience and contributes to the testing community in the form of writing articles, conducting testing boot camps, delivering content on Test Automation University, YouTube Channel, and her blog.

Can you tell us about your role at QualityWorks?

I am the Training and Development Manager at QualityWorks. Here, I lead and organize training around testing and consultancy best practices. At QualityWorks, learning is a continuous process and as consultants, we learn so that we can continue to provide advice to our different clients and create meaningful solutions.

I also speak at events and I create and distribute content related to software testing. This is something I love doing as it starts conversations around software quality, its importance and how you can advocate and advance it in different organizations.

Is there a favorite project/side project in testing/tech you’ve worked on recently?

Recently, we did a six-week Agile Testing boot camp that was geared towards upskilling individuals with non-technical backgrounds. The aim of the boot camp was to provide job opportunities to American professionals within communities such as BIPOC, by training and placing talented resources in companies looking for software testers. This camp ended late last year and we are in the phase of placing those professionals at companies. If you are committed to increasing diversity on your tech teams you can contact QualityWorks to see how we can help you with that.

Can you give us a sneak-peek into your session for Breakpoint 2021?

My session for Breakpoint 2021 will give you tangible advice on how to grow in your career as a Software QA. I started out doing QA without knowing much about it and over the years, I have used different methods to expand my toolkit. I will share those methods with you as well as a roadmap that you can follow to improve your Agile QA Toolkit. This will leave you with testing tools and approaches needed for a QA toolkit (getting started and improving on what you have) as well as being prepared to advocate for and grab opportunities to grow and advance your career.

You frequently contribute to the testing community in a number of ways that include written content, YouTube videos, and more. What inspires you to stay consistent with this?

The inspiration behind this is to provide easy access to knowledge and information so that people can create solutions to problems they may be having, as well as develop interest and grow in the field. I also hope that I am encouraging others to become software testers and through this, we can improve the quality of software. I also get inspired knowing I have helped people understand a concept or grow in some area. It takes a lot, but this is my way of giving back to the community that has taught me a lot and has helped me to grow. It’s also a form of learning for me as well. Being able to explain concepts allows me to think deeply about different viewpoints and solutions, which makes me a better QA professional.

What are you reading/learning right now? What made you interested in this?

I am currently learning more about CI/CD. I am interested in it because it is very important in software development. How we automate testing and deployment of software by way of CI pipelines has a lot of impact. There is also so much to it and I know a bit of the surface-level stuff such as creating a pipeline in Jenkins/GitLab, but there is a whole world of docker containers, GitHub Actions, etc. Really being able to guide and teach people how to put these CI/CD systems to use in their organizations is what I want to learn more about and also share, once I feel ready.

What advice would you give to the women who are interested in entering the QA space?

Make a plan, join a community and start!

Identify people and resources that you can use to begin learning. Some of those are Ministry of Testing, Test Automation University by Angie Jones and Test Guilds by Joe Colantonio. I have found those communities and people such as Tristan Lombard, Marie Drake, Suman Bala, Lisa Crispin, and Beth Marshall to be kind, encouraging, very supportive, and helpful.

There is a community of QAs here waiting to welcome you and cheer you on. My talk at Breakpoint 2021 will provide you with some clarity on what you can start learning first and how you can continue to grow. There are a lot of people transitioning into tech from a wide variety of backgrounds. You can, too! :)