I do a variety of talks for software engineers and software testers alike. I have given soft-skills and career-type talks, as well as hard-skills technical talks, workshops, and courses I’ve authored. I enjoy doing talks on API testing, automating API checks with C#, using tools like Postman and DevTools, and of course dev/tester relationships. Check out my Appearances, too!
If you are interested in one of these talks or workshops for your conference or company, or have an idea for another talk I could give for your conference, please feel free to contact me at g33klady at gmail dot com!
Technical Talks, Workshops, and Courses
“Testing RESTful Web Services”
Abstract: A lot of folks doing testing (QAs, BAs, and devs alike) have experience testing applications on the front end – a graphical user interface on a website, or a mobile app. One of the often missed parts of these applications is the web services or REST APIs that power those interfaces. In this session we’ll focus on RESTful web services – what they are, how (and why) to do functional and exploratory testing, how we can automate some tests using C#, and tools that we can use to help us test them. Attendees will walk away with the understanding, resources, and techniques they need to effectively test and write automation for REST services.
Given as 45 Min Session:
– Quicken Loans Technology Conference (Detroit, MI 9/27/16)
– CodeStock Conference (Knoxville, TN 5/5-6/17)
– KWSQA Targeting Quality Conference (Kitchener, ON 9/25-26/17)
– StarWest Conference (Anaheim, CA 10/4-6/17) | Preview Video
– Desert Code Camp (Chandler, AZ 10/14/17)
– StarCanada Conference (Toronto, ON 10/15-20/17) | Preview Video
Given as 1/2 Day Workshop:
– KCDC (Kansas City, MO 7/11/18)
“Zero to API Testing Hero in One Day”
Abstract: Web services and APIs make up a huge chunk of the code in the applications we test, but either we’re not aware of the APIs or we’re asked to focus on the user interface instead. But those APIs are where all of the business logic for the application is exposed, and can hide some pretty nasty bugs.
In this full-day workshop, we’ll learn what APIs are and then tackle an API testing project ourselves – from understanding the documentation, how the UI uses the API using DevTools in
the browser, testing with Postman, and finally writing some automated checks with C#. By the end of the day, you’ll have a solid understanding of what APIs are and why we should test them,
how HTTP response codes fit into our testing, how familiar UI tests translate into API tests, how to use Postman to test our APIs, how to read some common API documentation, how to use
DevTools to find how the UI is using the API, prioritize and plan our automation, and create a framework with some automated checks against the API in C#. You can walk into work after this
ready to champion the API testing love and add valuable tests right away!
– Targeting Quality (Cambridge, ON 9/26/2022)
“Automating API Checks with RestSharp” (Course is Live on Ministry of Testing Dojo)
Abstract: API testing is very popular right now, and for good reason! APIs hold a lot of the business logic that power the interfaces we’re used to testing, but they’re not as visible to us as testers. There’s a lot of value in automating checks against APIs – they’re faster to write, easier to maintain, and generally run much more quickly than UI checks. And, if you already have some experience with C# and some understanding of APIs, you can use a tool like RestSharp to get up and running quickly.
In this course, you’ll learn everything you need to start automating checks of APIs using RestSharp in C#, including figuring out what to automate, using NUnit as the test runner, some neat features of NUnit to help keep our test data clean and to parameterize checks, and of course refactoring our code to make it work better than ever. You’ll be able to get your own framework up and running with checks to start adding valuable feedback for your own applications right away.
– This course is available on-demand at the link above
“Have Some Cake With Your Frosting: Testing Both the UI and API Layers”
Abstract: Web services and APIs make up a huge chunk of the code in the applications we test, but either we’re not aware of the APIs or we’re asked to focus on the user interface instead. But those APIs are where all of the business logic for the application is exposed, and can hide some pretty nasty bugs. Web services and APIs can be tested in isolation, but they can also be tested in combination with the UI. Understanding how the UI and API work together can make it easier to troubleshoot when things go wrong from the UI. Having this understanding can also create a more complete picture of the application under test.
In this workshop, we will cover:
- Why web services and APIs are important to test
- The differences between common types of web services
- How HTTP Response Codes fit in to your testing
- How familiar UI tests translate to API tests
- How to use Postman to test and share tests with your team
- How to find the API calls your UI is making
Given as 1/2 Day Workshop:
– TestBash (Manchester, England 9/26/18)
– CodeMash (Sandusky, Ohio 1/8-9/19)
Given as a track/30 min talk:
– Swetugg (Stockholm, Sweden 2/3-4/2020) (As “Testing Across The Stacks: An Intro to Testing Both the UI and API Layers Together”)
– SauceCon (Virtual 4/20-22/2021)
– MoT Washington DC Meetup (virtual 3/16/2022) – Recording available on the Dojo (free)
“Digging In: Getting Familiar With The Code To Be A Better Tester”
Abstract: Maybe you’ve been testing the same application for a while, and your rate of finding new bugs has slowed. Or you’re trying to find more ways to figure out what your devs are doing day to day. You have the tools at your disposal, you just need to dig in!
In this talk, Hilary Weaver-Robb shares tools and techniques you can use to take your testing to the next level. See everything the developers are changing, and learn to find the most vulnerable parts of the code. These tools and techniques can help you focus your testing, and track down those pesky bugs!
- tools to do static analysis on the code
- using those tools to find potential bugs
- using commit logs to figure out what’s being changed
- that it’s helpful to dig into the code of the application under test
– Test.bash(); (Manchester, England 9/28/18) – recording available for paid members of the Dojo here
– StarEast (Orlando, FL 5/1/19)
– KCDC (Kansas City, MO 7/18/19)
– Ministry of Testing Cork Meetup (virtual 11/14/19)
– CodeMash (Sandusky, OH 1/9-10/2020)
– LAST Meetup (virtual 3/17/2022) – recording available on YouTube
“Super Sleuth Testers: Unlocking the Power of Browser Developer Tools”
Abstract: There’s a tool to aid our testing that we all have access to all the time. It’s hidden in plain sight, you just have to know the secret code to get to it. This secret tool? The browser’s developer tools, of course! Learn how the developer tools in your browser can give you insight into what your application is really doing, access to artifacts vital to testing (like cookies and cache), and learn to speak to your application directly, like never before. Unlock a whole host of information about your application, and release your inner super sleuth tester!
– TestBash Brighton (Brighton, England 4/3/2019)
– KCDC (Kansas City, MO 7/19/19)
– CodeMash (Sandusky, OH 1/9-10/2020)
“The Hidden Treasure of Static Analysis: Finding Risks in Forgotten Places”
Abstract: Static analysis tools are often used as an enterprise standard because management wants to track metrics, so the team gets their code in there then forgets about it – out of sight, out of mind. But for someone looking for areas of risk in a codebase, static analysis tools are a treasure trove of information that is usually difficult to track down manually or even with test automation. In this session we’ll use the map provided to us by static analysis to find areas of risk from bugs, duplications, code coverage (or lack thereof), and complexity. We can further analyze these hazards to get a clearer picture of the actual risks, or take immediate action to reduce that risk by killing them off. And if you’re not using static analysis tools just yet, you’ll learn about just how invaluable they are to the entire team, not just management!
– European Testing Conference (Amsterdam, Netherlands 2/6-7/2020)
– MoT Lille and Sfax Meetups (virtual 2/2/2022) – recording available on the Dojo free
Soft-Skills and Career Talks
“Socializing for Heuristics: How Social Media Made Me a Better Tester (and Human)”
Abstract: Social media isn’t useless. It’s not just for seeing what people are eating or watching, or networking with friends, colleagues, and acquaintances across the globe. While I have met some amazing people on Twitter and other social platforms that have changed my life, I have also gained something even better for my career as a tester: heuristics. Heuristics are the “rough and ready rules” that, as a tester, allow us to find common bugs more quickly – the more ways bugs appear that we experience, the more heuristics we have to find them, and the better we are at our jobs as testers. A wonderful side effect of these heuristics is we gain more empathy for people with backgrounds different from ours, as we see more of the world and what people experience on a daily basis. While we absolutely need more diversity in tech, unless people see themselves represented or supported in the software they use, they won’t feel they belong.
In this talk, I’ll share how I’ve found a great “life hack” to getting more heuristics with social media, and how these heuristics have helped me in my testing. We’ll cover some common themes I’ve found where our users may struggle with our applications, and I’ll share tips to expand your social media consumption to include more diverse backgrounds so you, too, can socialize for heuristics.
– Targeting Quality (Cambridge, ON 9/27/2022)
“Not All Who Wander Are Lost: A Career Experience Report”
Abstract: We’re led to believe that our careers should take us in a certain direction, that we’ll all end up in leadership or management at some point, and that’s the end of the road; the apex of our careers. Even with the relatively new role of Software Quality Architect in most organizations, it seemed like just one more stop on the way to leadership. Nobody in their right mind would step backwards and demote themselves, right?
Sometimes, your career path leads you in unexpected directions, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of! Join Hilary Weaver-Robb as she shares her journey that took her from QA Lead to QA Engineer, to Quality Architect, and back to Engineer. This journey took time, and a lot of introspection – be prepared to do some of your own!
- Rethink career paths (and how they’re not one-size-fits-all)
- Explore the pros and cons of various roles in the tester’s career path
- Examine lessons learned from taking a wonky career path
– Ministry of Testing Dojo Masterclass (Online, 2/20/18) (paid membership required to watch recording)
– Internal Company presentation (2019)
“Your Tester Should Be Your BFFer” or “Your QA Should Be Your BFF” (Dev-focused)
Abstract: Developers and QA have historically had an adversarial relationship, but it doesn’t have to be that way! In this talk we’ll go through the various reasons that developers hate QA, why some of those perceptions exist, and how to remedy them so that developers and QA can work better together and maybe even get along! Attendees will take away ideas to help their teams work together more efficiently by understanding where their QA are coming from, helping to level them up, and hopefully getting along better!
– Great Lakes Area .NET User Group (Southfield, MI 8/13) – lightning talk
– DetroitDevDay Conference (Detroit, MI 11/15)
– Ann Arbor .Net Developers User Group (Ann Arbor, MI 6/8/16)
– CodeStock Conference (Knoxville, TN 5/5-6/17)
– Desert Code Camp (Chandler, AZ 10/14/17)
– KCDC (Kansas City, MO 7/12/18)
– THAT Conference (Wisconsin Dells, WI 8/6/18)
“He doesn’t like you! I don’t like you either!” (Tester-focused)
Abstract: I’m often introduced by developers to other developers like this: “This is Hilary, she’s QA” *cue groan* “No, no – she’s *good* QA”. So why am I a *good* QA, and what makes these other guys *bad*? I analyze the different ways in which developers often despise QA, and what we as QA can do to not only make them see us as the good guys, but also work together in perfect harmony and maybe even grab a beer together as friends. This talk is PG-13!
– QA or the Highway Conference (Columbus, OH 2/14)
– Nationwide Insurance QA Team (Columbus, OH 6/14)
– Quicken Loans Technology Conference (Detroit, MI 7/14)
– CAST Conference (New York, NY 8/14)
General sessions on being a QA, QA as a career, Panels, AMAs, etc
– PerScholas IT Training (Columbus, OH 6/14)
– Grand Circus QA Bootcamp (Detroit, MI 2015)
– Detroit Labs QA Apprentice Program (Detroit, MI 3/2017)
– Private company AMA (virtual, 5/23/19)
– Ministry of Testing: API Testing AMA (virtual, 5/12/2020)
– Testim AMA (virtual, 10/6/2020)
– DevOps Panel (virtual, 11/20/2020)
– Software Testing Advocacy video podcast with Karen Todd (published 5/4/2022)
– Testing Tales video podcast with Lee Marshall (published 5/26/2022)
PowerPoint Karaoke – TestBash World Edition
Abstract: You get on stage, start your presentation, and OH NO! You’ve never seen this slide deck before! What the heck is this topic? But the show must go on – so you present the mystery slide deck as if you’ve been practising with it for weeks! Ten slides, with little to no text, but lots of graphs, charts, images, and inferred meaning that you need to create a presentation out of!
Don’t worry, it’s not a nightmare – it’s PowerPoint Karaoke! And it’s not serious business either – these slide decks are meant to make you think on your feet and come up with a zany presentation. In fact, this may be the most fun you have presenting a talk you’ve ever had! We’ll get four volunteers from the audience to come on stage and present a mystery topic and a slide deck they’ve never seen before, for about four minutes each.
Are you brave enough to take on a mystery slide deck?
– TestBash World 2022 (virtual, 6/22/2022) – Recording available on the Ministry of Testing Website with a Pro Dojo account
A list of talks that I’ve given that likely will never be given again. Listing here for posterity.
“There’s Only One Seat In Here, And It’s Taken: Lessons Learned From My 30s”
Abstract: We’ve all made it far enough in life to have made some mistakes and learned things the hard way, or discovered interesting things about ourselves. Sometimes, you need to have an audience while you shit to really understand your life choices. Sometimes, doing what you hate leads to what you love. Sometimes, you just need to acknowledge that the asshole voice in your head is going to be there no matter what.
Given at KalamazooX (Kalamazoo, MI 4/29/2017)
“Pro’s Guide to Fucking With QA”
This talk didn’t have an abstract; it was a 5 minute, Ignite-style talk. It was an underhanded way of telling devs to stop doing various things that QA/testers hate.
Given at PubConf (Kansas City, KS 7/13/2018)
Speaker Bio can be found here: Speaker Bio