I can’t believe it’s only 2 weeks until the 10th Ann Arbor GiveCamp!
I’ve been volunteering with GiveCamp (Lansing and Ann Arbor) since 2010, and keep coming back because it is the BEST volunteer experience ever. Sure they’re long days, some hard problems to solve, things to prioritize, usually lots of caffeine and sugar (I can’t have caffeine anymore but sugar! SO MUCH SUGAR!).
I’ve written about GiveCamp a few times before, and why it’s so important.
The past few years, I’ve lead teams which has been great but also terrifying. You’re leading a group of strangers through a complete software project in a weekend! Weeeeee!
I’m excited to be back at WCC with my pals, doing it all again in 2 weeks.
I’ll probably do a recap post when it’s all done and I’ve caught up on sleep 😀 Hope to see you there!
I get involved in a lot of things around technology, especially with kids in Detroit. I love being able to help these kids not only see a future in technology for themselves, but to help them get there.
I became the Vice Chair of the Information Technology Pathway Advisory Board for Detroit Central High School in December of last year. In that role, I’m helping students at Central indirectly – mostly via finding learning opportunities, funding, and advising on curriculum.
A project the sophomores had from March centered around Autonomous and Electric Vehicles, and pulled in curriculum from Computer Programming, Chemistry, Geometry, Art, and Government. The students, in teams of 4, had a few tasks to complete, with the best team taking home some sweet prizes.
- Computer Programming – Students will assemble, program, and market an Autonomous Vehicle using Lego MindStorm.
- Chemistry – Students will investigate the pros and cons, efficiencies and inefficiencies, of using battery powered vehicles by assembling battery powered motors.
- Geometry and Art – Students will design and build a to scale city for test driving their autonomous vehicles.
- Government – form arguments for/against mock proposals supporting Autonomous and Electric Vehicles
The students had field trips to the M-City autonomous testing location in Ann Arbor and the GM Battery Lab, and had industry experts join them in the classroom for Q&A.
All of this work culminated in a symposium, held last week. Students presented their work science-fair style, and all of the city blocks they built were placed in the center of the room where the cars were test-driven. Visitors were to go around to each team’s table, hear their arguments and observe their autonomous cars, and vote on who had the best car company, the best designed city block, the most persuasive presentation, and the best overall presentation.
I can’t tell you how impressive this was. These students are pretty amazing! They built the cars, did some programming on the fly, created brands for their cars, stood professionally at their tables and argued their cases. The big winners each got to take home a laptop!
I love working with this school, and feeling like I’m helping to make a difference for them. These students can see, from this symposium, that the community cares about their success, and wants the best for them. I can’t wait to see what we plan for next year!
In this video, the students were testing out their vehicles before it was “official” – obviously some reprogramming needed to happen for some! We’ve all been there, though! I reassured some students that I know exactly what it’s like when your code works one minute then it doesn’t as soon as someone else looks over your shoulder 😉
It’s not just a conference, it’s all of the people that I get to see. Sure I see them individually or in sub-groups other times of the year, but seeing everyone together also makes this special. Seeing my IT family all together, once a year. I hope we find other opportunities to all get together.
Below is the link to the Storify of my live tweeting of KalamzooX 2018. It was remarkable in that at one point, my Twitter account got locked out and I had to prove I wasn’t a robot. I blame Leon Gersing and his insane quotability 😉
Here’s the link: https://storify.com/g33klady/kalamazoox-2018-recap
The last Kalamazoo X conference in Kalamazoo is taking place on April 21st of this year. I’m sad to see it go, but excited to see what it evolves into.
I started attending Kalamazoo X in 2012, and I’ve attended every year since. It is a life-changing conference in so many ways!
I’ve written a blurb in the past (here: BestConferenceEver = KalamazooX) to get people to check it out. I live-tweet and then compile every one of them I’ve attended since 2015 (KalamazooX 2015 recap, Kalamazoo X 2016 Recap, and Kalamazoo X 2017 Recap) if you want to get a feel for what it’s like.
I decided that even though I feel like it’s a super cheap conference (only $75 at top price!), some people may still not be able to make it work. I’ve been there, when $75 meant way more than a day of sitting at a conference.
So I want to make an offer to the community – if you want to attend Kalamazoo X this year but can’t for financial reasons, I will buy you a ticket. I’m able to cover 2 people.
But I encourage anyone out there that has gained understanding of the world and themselves, like I have, from this conference, to do the same.
So, let me know if I can help you. Email me – g33klady at gmail dot com – and I’ll hook you up. I believe in this conference that much. And I want as many people to benefit from it as possible!
On February 20th, I shared my career journey for the first time to a large audience. I gave a Ministry of Testing Masterclass called “Not All Who Wander Are Lost: A Career Experience Report” (a recording is available for Pro Dojo members here: https://dojo.ministryoftesting.com/dojo/lessons/not-all-who-wander-are-lost-a-career-experience-report-with-hilary-weaver-robb).
I’ve had kind of a wonky career path, and have at times felt some shame for “going backward” from a test lead to “just” an engineer. Now, though, I feel pretty good about my journey – I wouldn’t be who I am today, or where I am, if not for those experiences.
One lesson that I touched on, but I’d like to reiterate here, is to be honest with yourself about what you want to do.
I’ve had testers come to me and ask what their career path should look like, or what they should be aiming for. “What should my end goal be?”
Your career goal is for YOU to decide! Don’t let others make your life plans for you!
For sure, ask for advice about others experience. You don’t have to be a manager. You don’t have to be an architect. You DO have to be happy and fulfilled and grow and learn and get value and give value in your role. I can’t tell you what that looks like for you. Hell, I don’t know what it looks like for me! I’m taking my career a day at a time!
It’s great to have goals, but please, keep your goals flexible! If you realize on the way to becoming a manager that you really want to stay hands on, do that! It’s not the time to stick to your guns like “well, I wrote this down, I have to do it”. Your career should make you happy!
Every day, your experiences change you. You are a different person today than you were when you started your career.
Be honest with yourself about what you want from your career. You might wander a bit, but you won’t be lost as long as your true goal is happiness.
It’s taken far too long to put this together! Here are my Storify posts of my live-tweeting the sessions from Codemash January 9-12 2018!
Precompilers (Day 1 and 2):
- Build a Natural Language Slack Bot for your Dev Team with Michael Perry
- 3D Printing Lab
- The Hidden Requirements: Exploring Emotions with Placebos with Damian Synadinos
- 3D Modeling For Makers and Game Developers with Robert Palmer
- Jewelbots: How to Get More Girls Coding! with Jennifer Wadella
- How to get started with robotics and IoT at home with Carla Siler-Maddalena
- How Pro Wrestling Helped Make Me a World Champion Tester with Jenna Charlton
- Lessons Learned From Working Remotely with Michael Eaton
- Configure, Control, and Manage IoT with Mobile with Jared Rhodes
- Everyday Elixir with Joel Byler
- I have people skills! The Importance of Emotional Intelligence and Your Career! with Michael Eaton
- Sondheim, Seurat and Software: finding art in code with Jon Skeet
- Advanced Patterns for Automated UI Testing with Seth Petry-Johnson
- Leadership Lessons from World of Warcraft with Ish Amin
We left early as a stupid snow storm was coming in and we needed to get back home.
Another great CodeMash, lots of new stuff for me this year. Looking forward to next year!
I recently participated in my company’s 24 hour hackathon. I pulled together my tweets on Storify here: https://storify.com/g33klady/jurassic-hack-ql-technology-24-hour-hackathon-of-2
It was a super cool experience, and I’m looking forward to learning more 😀
2017 was eventful, to say the least.
I submitted 8 talks to 6 conferences. I was accepted to 5 of those conferences, gave an extra talk at one of them I wasn’t planning on, and was invited to speak at another with a brand new talk. I spoke on life lessons at KalamazooX, making your QA your BFF at CodeStock and Desert Code Camp, and testing RESTful Web Services at CodeStock, Targeting Quality, StarWest, Desert Code Camp, and StarCanada. All of my talks can be found on my Talks page, by the way. I’m open to doing most of them, just ping me 😀
It was a very busy year for speaking, and I haven’t submitted talks to any conferences yet for 2018. I have some goals around talks for this year, including creating a workshop on REST testing and creating a talk worthy of a TestBash.
Late in the year, I changed teams – I went from being a QA Architect across 5 teams, to working directly with a single team as a sort of Software Engineer in Test. Going from architect to hands on is an interesting transition. Putting all of that theory into practice, and taking your own advice – this is another talk I’m thinking of giving soon. Lots of lessons learned, there.
I want to revamp this site, and blog more. I have a goal of blogging at least once per month. May not seem like much, but it’s more than I’m doing now! I mean, I did the HTTP Status Coop series but that wasn’t much blogging as much as creating images lol
I also took kind of a risk late last year when I contributed to the C# Advent Calendar. I had a lot of impostor syndrome about it – being QA and all. But I did it, and feel pretty ok about it! I got zero direct feedback, though lol lots of traffic to the post and the rest of my site, but no comments. I guess that’s better than negative comments!
I got involved in the community more, as well. I was nominated to Co-Chair of the Computer Programming Pathway Advisory Board of Detroit Central High School. In this position I’m working with the teachers in the school, helping them to build a curriculum that will get these students jobs out of high school, or ready for college.
I’m also trying to do more non-work stuff. Enjoying video games again (can’t get enough Goat Simulator and Minecraft right now!), having screen-free time, tinkering with some things. I’m actually participating in my company’s 24-hour hackathon this year, and I’m super excited to build something new and cool with 3D printed components and IoT!
So my goals for 2018:
- Create & submit a REST testing workshop to conferences
- Submit a talk to TestBash
- Do a talk on going from engineer -> architect -> engineer
- Make this site look less shitty
- Blog once a month at minimum
- Take more risks!
- Make a difference in the community
- Take time to recharge (on- and off-line)
- Build something fun