2016 Testing Trends: Q&A with Keith Klain – Part 1

Happy New Year! For the first blog post of 2016, we’re super excited to feature a video interview with our friend Keith Klain, CEO of Doran Jones and a thought leader in software development and testing. I got so much great stuff from our discussion that I had to break it up into several blog posts.   In Part 1 of this interview, I talk to Keith about how he got into testing and some of the trends he’s seeing in the industry. Check out the video below.

Here are some of my takeaways from our discussion:

1) You don’t need a computer science degree to work in technology.

You might be surprised to learn that Keith got a college degree in art history. After graduation, a friend helped him get his first job in software and he’s been doing that ever since. Keith feels that having the art history degree has actually helped in his career because it taught him to think creatively. It’s about asking a lot of questions and not just getting “lost in the technology”.

2) Be opportunistic in your career.

Keith’s career has taken him all over the world working for some of the largest financial institutions. Keith has been successful because he rarely says no to opportunities. Every time he was asked to do something new or different, he “just went for it”. He quotes Richard Branson in saying, ““If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”

3) Testers need to do a better job showing the value to the business.

Keith believes that testers must approach software testing as a “commercial engagement”.   It needs to be tied into business objectives in order to show the true value of software testing to the business.   Historically, testers haven’t done this well. Keith believes this is a key reason why you don’t have many testers moving up into leadership positions within organizations.

4) Testers learning to code is not the solution to every problem.

Companies are trying to build software faster and more cost effectively. As a result, they are trying to cut testing or have fewer testers. There’s also a push to teach testers how to code. But, that’s not going to solve the core problems.   The bigger need is to teach testers how to think creatively and critically. It’s important to have testers who know how to ask the right questions and figure out if we’re solving the right problem.

If you want to learn more Keith Klain and Doran Jones, you can visit doranjones.com or follow Keith on Twitter at @KeithKlain. And don’t miss Keith’s upcoming webinar – “What Will Testing Hold in 2016” coming up on January 20th at 2pm ET. Check back soon for the webinar registration page.

Look for part 2 of my interview with Keith next week.

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