Speakers’ Spotlight: Fabian Dittrich

We are excited to introduce you to Fabian, our closing keynote. Read something different and get to know Fabian by scrolling down. 🙂

So, who is Fabian Dittrich?

 

I have always been curious by nature. I love to explore the world around me – near and far, discover cultures, collect stories and learn languages. My curiosity for the unknown had brought me through 70+ countries during the last 15 years of traveling or living and working abroad.

Besides being a long term traveler I also grew up in the tech world. Half my teens were spent hunched over a Commodore 64 and later the Amiga computer and I developed a passion for everything related to tech world and gained some developer experience. After working for several startups, a crazy coincidence brought me to Zendesk where I spent two exciting years as a very happy and dedicated employee until eventually I created my own company.

Despite immediate success however, I soon lacked the sense of adventure I had gotten used to during my travels and so I decided to convert helpando.it into a nomad company, running my business from an old Land Rover.

The whole thing turned into StartupDiaries – driving 20.000km from Argentina to Colombia and meeting people who redefine work along the way. After being featured in Wired and several other tech publications I now became a public speaker talking about the future of work and how technology can improve life quality if we let go of established but questionable organizational structures.

I love music (Bowie, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Deep Purple, etc), playing the guitar and singing. I currently do not strive to visit any more countries as I am happy in my mountain house in Montenegro.

 

1. How was the last 12 months? What worked well, what didn’t move as quickly as you would have liked?

The unimaginable happened. Me, the restless traveler and thrill seeker settled down in house I bought in Montenegro, at least for now. Beside the slow and healthy lifestyle I am living now, what is really amazing is how stable and fast the Internet is there. With a small 4G modem I can be at the beach, in a cave or on top of a mountain and still have calls with clients or download bigger chunks of data. The company is doing very well and I am delegating more and more work away from me so I can focus on creative work such as photography, writing and video-editing.

2. Where do you see yourself in the coming years? What are your career aspirations?

After 15 years of a roller coaster lifestyle, traveling and living around the world I now decided to settle down for a while. I bought a house in nature on a hill next to the sea in Montenegro and can see myself living there for a while. If the past many summers were spent enjoying everything wonderful city of Berlin has to offer, and travelling the world from Morocco to Ghana and from Iceland to  Jamaica and Cuba, this year is all about winding down, eating healthy, exploring the outdoors and exercising in nature, making campfires, spending time with friends, and taking time out to read and write and improve my music, video and photographer skills.

3. What will you be talking about at Quest for Quality?

I will be talking about my adventures of being the CEO of a nomad company, especially about how two colleagues and I managed to run our company from a land rover defender while we drove from Argentina to Colombia, working from crazy places along the way and how this work and lifestyle influenced the way we work now. I’ll be mixing adventurous stories with an overarching theme – how today, thanks to the internet, tools and technology we can dramatically improve the quality of our work and lifestyle when realizing that:

  1.     1) work no longer has to happen in an office, that
  2.     2) trust in employees will ultimately lead to more productivity than control and that
  3.     3) since no-one can truly prepare for the unknown, a good way to practice is to stay flexible, challenge your routine, your beliefs your scenery.

 

Real travel, the educational kind, can happen across town or in the next neighborhood. All it takes is a bit of faith and some curiosity?

4. What inspired you to attend?

I was contacted by Quest for Quality to give the closing speech. Since great software plays a big part in being able to combine my work and lifestyle, it was a natural fit and I am happy to share ideas with the Q4Q audience.

5. Which influencers and websites do you follow to keep up to date with the latest developments?

As I am driving around a lot in my land rover I use my time behind the wheel to listen to podcasts to stay updated. I listen to: Joe Rogan, Sam Harris, Radiolab, 99% Invisible, The Tim Ferris Show, News Podcasts, etc.

6. How can people find out more about what you are working on?

On my website www.fabiandittrich.com which I never update 🙂 You get a more up to date view of what I am up to on my instagram: @thegobetween

Speakers’ Spotlight: Liran Barokas

Meet Liran, coming from Applitools, working as Software Engineer in Customer Success. Highlighted as a Q4Q 2018 speaker, Liran will present his topic about what kind of help current AI techniques can bring to automated testing.

Who is Liran Barokas?

 

I have master’s degree in industrial engineering, with a major in statistics, from the University of Ben Gurion in Israel. For the past 2 years, I have been working as a Sr. Software Engineer in Customer Success at Applitools, the world’s leading AI-powered visual testing and monitoring solutions. In the little spare time that I have (startup life…), I enjoy playing hand-ball (which I played competitively for 4 years while in university), and I love catching a movie or a play with my girlfriend. I live in Tel-Aviv, and I enjoy travelling abroad; over the past few years I have visited England, Netherlands, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Greece, Poland, United States, India, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Chile – just to name a few.

2. What is your personal definition of QA and testing in the light of today’s?

For me, QA/ tester’s responsibility is more than finding bugs. It’s a mission to deliver quality and ensure quality – by taking ownership on quality-related processes within the organisation. It is a central role that can bring immense value especially when it’s allowed to take its place as an integral part of the dev-release pipeline, with oversight on tools and procedures that are put in place to ensure flawless end-user experience across all engagement points with the company’s customers.

3. Where do you see yourself in the coming years? What are your career aspirations?

Without giving too much away, I can say that I am planning on becoming increasingly involved in contributing to testing conferences around the world, by being a guest speaker as well as by leading workshops that aim to improve the skills and practical knowledge of young and upcoming test engineers.

4. What will you be talking about at Quest for Quality?

Autonomous cars were a Scifi dream not 10 years ago. A computer driving a car? No way. But it did happen, and is happening. And if scientists do it for a complicated task such as driving, can they do it for automated regression testing? In this talk we explore what is being done in the field today, but also speculate about the future: we introduce the 6 levels of autonomous testing (that correspond to the 5 levels of autonomous driving), and try and figure out what kind of help current AI techniques can bring to automated testing.

5. What inspired you to attend?

Ireland is a hub of European technology, all the biggest companies in the world have set up shop in Ireland. This conference is a wonderful opportunity to meet and engage with fellow test engineers and software developers from across Europe that works for cutting-edge global tech companies.

6. How can people find out more about what you are working on?

You can learn about Applitools and automated visual testing on our website, Applitools.com, and applitools.com/blog

7. Anything else you would like to add?

I look forward to meeting and speaking with test engineers and quality experts. My
team and I will be on-site for the entire conference in our dedicated booth (Applitools). Please come by to say hi, and grab some “visually perfect” swag.

 

Speakers’ Spotlight: Marco Andrade

Meet our speaker Marco, coming from Brazil and working for Toptal as QA automation engineer.

Who is Marco Andrade?

Marco is an easy going person who loves to travel and get to know new cultures. He would love to visit more countries in Asia, especially Japan, since he has only visited India. He is passionate about quality, not only as a QA but with everything in his life. This was the main reason he transitioned from developer to quality assurance and started to evangelize to companies and people to put quality first. And last but not least, be surrounded by family and friends.

 

1. What is your personal definition of QA and testing in the light of today’s?

For me, QA has a role similar to a teacher, where you not only maintain the bar high but also teach others to keep it high. Including, but not restricted to, the product, programming (code), process, software architecture, security, performance, methodology, and UI/UX.

2. How was the last 12 months? What worked well, what didn’t move as quickly as you would have liked?

The last 12 months were amazing. With Toptal I was able to travel and work, and because of that, I could attend three different conferences in Europe and also spend a month in Florida, USA. During this time, I was offered the opportunity to become Team Lead. I decided not to go in that direction, instead I chose to become an Agile coach- and I’m really happy about that.

3. Where do you see yourself in the coming years? What are your career aspirations?

For the following years, I want to keep improving my technical and soft skills. My final goal is to be in a manager position. This way I’ll be able to apply my knowledge regarding software quality in a more efficient way at a company level. Leveling up companies quality bar to a whole new level.

4. What will you be talking about at Quest for Quality?

I’ll be talking about the QA role and the importance of QA in a decentralized platform, showing some examples and challenges.

5. What inspired you to attend?

I attended the conference last year and I loved the format and the audience, so I started following the conference social networks. This year’s topic inspired me to build two talks and submit to the CFP!

Q4Q 2017

 

6. Which influencers and websites do you follow to keep up to date with the latest developments?

At Toptal we have a strong community in our Slack channel with multiple channels and topics to follow. I keep up to date reading from there, articles on Medium, and from my connections at LinkedIn.

With Yukihiro Matsumoto

 

7. How can people find out more about what you are working on?

Currently I do not have any specific page to share my work, but you can find me at LinkedIn and add me there.

8. Anything else you would like to add?

A message for those who do not know about the conference. Last year I went as a spectator and was very impressed with an event so rich in content, with great speakers and impeccable organization.

Speakers’ Spotlight: Michael Stahl

Let us introduce you with our speaker Michael Stahl, SW Validation Architect who passionately works as a tester for Intel.

 

Who is Michael Stahl?

 

I am from Israel and I live in Jerusalem, where I lived most of my life. I am working for Intel for the last 28 years; I worked for ten years in Fab8 – testing 8086, 186, 286, 386 and 486 among other chips. I then moved to the software world but stayed a tester. Currently I am a SW Validation Architect in the team that develops Intel Converged Security Engine.

I am a Tester by Choice. I am not in development, architecture or other aspects of SW development, because I prefer to test. I enjoy the domain, the character of the people involved and the wide scope testing provides. I am not a manager; this is a career decision I made many years ago, after managing a small group of people and hating that it took me away from being involved with technology. Luckily, I work for a company where the technical ladder is not just a phrase, so I get to do what I love.

At soul, I am also a teacher. I love to write about testing subjects, love to conduct training and people tell me I am good at it.

Work takes most of my time, but there is some time left for travel (to Ireland, for example), preferably with Noomi, my wife and my four children. I don’t generally cook, but I do like to bake Challa – a traditional type of bread.

From the left to the right: In the lab; Michael and his wife in Peru; In final of ISTC competition; The family; Teaching in Hebrew; Baking Challa.

 

1. What is your personal definition of QA and testing in the light of today’s?

All my career I tested embedded software and the essence of testing has not really changed for me personally through these years. Of course I experienced a few “aha” moments that changed some of my perspectives, but overall the definition stayed the same for me: the tester’s role is to bring the customer’s voice to the table; to look at the system in a holistic way and be efficient in providing coverage within a reasonable time and budget. The same can be said about QA as a wider subject: the basic principles that were known 20, 30 or even more years ago, are still mostly valid. What I do see is increased maturity and efficiency: If 18 years ago hardly any team had static analysis; or CI; or orderly code coverage… this is now the norm.  New tools are making our job more efficient and generally there is more automation effort. It’s both a matter of maturity of tools and maturity of the processes.

2. How was the last 12 months? What worked well, what didn’t move as quickly as you would have liked?

In the last 12 months I was mainly involved in defining SW developments methodologies for compliance with the automotive industry requirements. We defined two high level guidelines:

  • Don’t reinvent the whole development process; define what augmentation are needed to what we already have. This was the easy part.
  • Define the processes in a language that the engineers understand, so they can execute them without having to have a Functional Safety engineer at hand to ask for clarification all the time. This was a difficult effort which is still on going. You need to translate ISO and IEC standards’ language into human-readable actions…

About two months ago I moved to a team that validates Intel’s Converged Security Engine. I am leading the methodologies forum, defining test strategy for one of the new projects and consulting on various test related challenges.

3. Where do you see yourself in the coming years? What are your career aspirations?

Sipping Mai Tai on the beach, of course.

Seriously: One of the main takeaways from my sojourn to Automotive processes was that I don’t want to get too far from Validation. My first task in the automotive field was related to validation and verification processes and that felt natural. But when it started diverting too much into QA management, I felt it’s time to return to a validation team.

So I think this is not going to change much. The difference from previous teams I worked with for the last 8 years is that my current team is a large team, which means there is room – and a need – for organized methodologies efforts. If this works well – I will be content.

Eventually, when I retire, I am thinking of teaching in high school or college.

4. What will you be talking about at Quest for Quality?

Before joining the SW development world, I worked for 10 years in an Intel fab. These two worlds have very different attitude towards quality and quality processes. The fab “lives” on processes and everyone adheres to them; the development world has processes, but many consider them as recommendations that don’t always apply. So implementing new methodology or process in a fab is relatively easy; doing it in development is like pushing a rope, with the negative impact of having to work much harder to achieve high quality. In my talk I review the reasons for this difference and propose some directions that may help move the development toward better acceptance of processes.

5. What inspired you to attend?

I attended a good number of small and large conferences and while the large conferences offer a variety of choices, the small ones are where you are more likely to meet people and have a chance to learn something from them. Add to this the chance to see Ireland, which I visited twice for work but never had time to explore.

6. Which influencers and websites do you follow to keep up to date with the latest developments?

I used to read a lot on Stickyminds and I published there a few articles in the last few years. So that website was influential in a sense. I occasionally visit the Israeli Test & QA forum on Facebook, but in truth, I prefer reading books. I do make an effort to read at least one new thing every week. A paper; an explanation of part of our product I am not well familiar with or a chapter in a book.

Going back in time, the book that influenced me most was the first book I read on software testing: “Testing Computer Software” – a classic by Kaner, Falk and Nguyen. It was the first time I realized SW testing is a profession and an option for a career. It had profound influence on how I approach testing and how I teach others about testing.

In the last few years I was learning new technologies (computer vision; security) and had little time to read testing texts; add to this the fact that there is really no solid book that I am aware of about testing computer vision, machine learning and AI applications. I suspect each company thinks that what they do is so unique that it’s part of their IP. So there is a limited amount of published text. There are many academic papers, but if they mention testing at all it is not product-level testing. It’s algorithms testing.

Lately I read Chris Hobbs book “Embedded Software Development for Safety-critical Systems” – which is a proof that literature about process and about safety standards does not HAVE to be boring.

7. How can people find out more about what you are working on?

Start by attending my lecture…

To see other presentations and papers, visit my website: www.testprincipia.com .

If you read Hebrew… My “Looking for Trouble” column is published quarterly in a Hebrew language test magazine: Testing World. I translated many of the columns and you can find them on Stickyminds.com together with some other articles.

From the left to the right: “Do not disturb” sign collection; We know how to play; With wife in Ostend; Singing in the community.

 

8. Anything else you would like to add?

I mentioned that I like to teach. For the last few years I taught an introductory course in SW testing, in the Hebrew University Computer science faculty. Until now, the course was fairly easy – it IS an introductory course after all. I am now rethinking this approach; I think it may be doing injustice to the profession. By having the course easy to pass, the message is that software testing is easy; not much removed from applying common sense to a problem, therefore not a worthy career path to choose. The next time around I plan to make the course significantly different, with home assignment that will be intellectually and technologically challenging – which is what we actually encounter in our work.