[Aaron Fox, SmartBear] The Modern Testers: The Ace in Your Deck

[Aaron Fox, SmartBear] The Modern Testers: The Ace in Your Deck

The latest blog post from our speaker Aaron Fox, SmartBear, is available.

Aaron Fox is Technical Sales Engineer at SmartBear Software. Previously, he was Technical Project Lead at DXC Technology. He began his career working with SAP in Galway, Ireland as a .NET developer focusing on enhancing functionality and correcting issues on internal systems. He then became Support Engineer at HP working in the SAP space. During the HP separation, he was mapped to the HPE, given the opportunity to lead the SAP EMEA support team as a technical lead. He was responsible for all test related activities involving the SAP space and sat on the code review board for code standards and quality for the EMEA region.

Now, working in a services company where peers and colleagues became the customer, Aaron became Test Manager for Fiscal Year End, one of the most important financial projects on the HPE account where he was responsible for all the testing activities. Aaron has a bachelor’s degree from National University of Ireland, Galway and a higher diploma in software development from the University of Limerick.


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The Modern Testers: The Ace in Your Deck

“In late 2014 I walked out of the University of Limerick hungry to begin my career as a Software Developer. I was lucky enough to get an interview for a tech giant and a company which was on the radar of every aspiring developer. During the interview process one phrase killed all and any enthusiasm I had for one of the lucrative roles. The phrase; Software Tester.

There were two graduate programs on offer. A development program and a testing program. Back in 2014 being a Tester wasn’t cool, it wasn’t the plan. The plan was to be a Developer.

In Ireland we have a famous beer known as Guinness. Guinness have a phrase which states “Guinness has always been about beer and people” and when we talk about software testing this phrase has never been more truthful. Software testing has always been about tools and people and it always will be. Now more than ever we need our Testers and they need the best tools.

As a guest speaker at Quest for Quality, I will be taking the stage on Thursday, October 4th at 11.35am to talk about End to End Testing: A Top Down Approach, with an emphasis on the role the modern tester plays. The persona of a tester has changed dramatically even in a very short time. Back in 2014 a software tester was being that guy who sat in the corner and ran unit test after unit test until the cows come home, as we say in Ireland.

But the reality is Testers are the backbone in my eyes, of ensuring a great product is available to the end user, they are those people who get every drop out of our testing tools in ways only they can, they are those people who can plan entire testing solutions and even write code fixes as quickly as they find bugs. Testers possess a destructive mindset which I love, they ask the hard questions and always have an ‘if’ and ’but’ for every scenario. Years of being tasked with “breaking code” as Developers would once have described it has armed the modern Tester with the intuitive and curious nature which is lethal if let loose. They do not fear bugs, nor do they fear rework as their development colleagues sometimes do. Nurturing this mindset within your testing team ultimately leads to solutions which are reliable, robust and resilient.

Aaron Fox, Technical Sales Engineer at SmartBear

I did take up a job as a Developer shortly after that interview with another company. During my first week I remember being pointed in the direction of a bunch of desks and being told those guys are the Testers anything you write just dump it over the fence to them to test mate. I guess that epitomised the attitude toward these guys, siloed away from the world and not really held in the same esteem as the Developers whilst still under tremendous pressure to release applications faster and faster.

Tools have given testers the means to elevate their position in industry and the ability evolve their skillset. The modern tester can dissect applications from end to end, they understand the business processes and logic whilst also being adept coders too. By allowing our test teams to explore new technologies we are empowering them explore new possibilities and develop new strategies which could revolutionise your organisations testing.

Now working with SmartBear, I get the chance every day, to speak with people from a multitude of industries with every kind of testing scenario imaginable. A noticeable trend I see developing is the presence of Testers and QA on customer calls in addition to high level decision makers and influencers. These organisations have it figured. Testers are experts in testing, so why not allow them to be these experts that tell us how our testing should be done and what tools we should use.

If I could go back to 2014 knowing what I know now being a Tester would have been a ton of fun. Let your guys loose on your applications, let them advise you on your testing strategy and empower them with the very best tools. Your customers will thank you.

Software Testing has always been about tools and people. Taking smart people, giving them good tools and getting the best testing solutions. Looking forward to meeting you all at the event!”


Thank you for such amazing blog, Aaron!