Annarita De Biase: “Software architecture…Yes, on tests!”

While waiting the agenda to be fully filled up, let’s continue to get in touch with our confirmed speakers. This time is Annarita’s turn.
She is working as Sr Software Engineer in Test in (Expedia Inc Company) since 2012 and she has experience on coding with several languages such as C, C++, Java, Javascript, and whit testing frameworks like JMeter, CasperJS, Rest Assured and on test management systems.

Hi Annarita, could you give us a quick introduction to your talk?

Hi! Sure! I and other two co-speakers (two colleagues) will talk about some architectures used in test automation. In the last years, coming from different working contexts, we have been spending a lot of time in searching the best way for us to face test automation, using different approaches and tools, using our previous experiences, comparing them and trying something new.
Our aim is sharing our experience and the current approach to test automation that seems suitable for the organization we work in, but first of all is making people understand that testing is sooo COOL on a tech point of view!

Testing is still a hot topic at conferences, in 2016 we should give for granted that (automated) tests are one of the key parts of the development process but it’s not always like that. What’s your opinion on it?

Well, it’s great to hear that the idea is spreading among tech people! Even if I think that it is not still true in every contexts.
When I started working on test automation, several years ago, quality assurance was something on “document review” or, in the best cases, something as “physically push buttons and see what happens” (ok.. Homer typing woodpecker comes to my mind ) and in this sense it was something boring, time (and money) wasting and often not useful.
There has been a great battle to make people understand that it is completely false!
Quality assurance is something challenging on a technology point of view. Testers must have great both analytical and technological skills and combining them is not so easy.
Now I work in, in an agile context, so testers are in the same team as the developers and I can really feel to be part of the development process because I usually take part in each step, since the requisites analysis, to the release in production.
The best satisfaction? When the developers I work with ask me “Annarita, I have just done a little change on the code so please, can you run tests?” or better “Annarita, can you tell me the repository address for your automated tests? We need to run them in local environment before committing to the current branch”… wow folks, it’s one of the best feelings in the world!
Testers are no more “the enemies”, we are “friends” and we come in peace!

You spent most of your time working on “clouds”… :)
You tested several systems for many important airline companies: what has been the biggest challenge you faced?

Yes… I spent a lot of time thinking of flights… and now I work in a company dealing with travel, I suppose it was my destiny! :-)
Well, that experience taught me the basis of test automation even if in a different context than the current one. The organization was not agile but waterfall with all the consequent differences.
When I arrived in that company “test automation” was still a kind of taboo.
My boss and I built everything from zero, a new infrastructure for test automation, a new way to get involved in each part of the development process, and the “verification and validation” department was born.
The result was an incredible gain of test runs in a small time and a great increment of quality.
We changed the way of working of a company and, please, allow me also to add that we changed their way of thinking.

We are expecting around 2000 people at codemotion Rome, what’s your feeling about?
Ehm… really 2000 people??? Ahahha well, I’m repeating in my mind DON’T PANIC (with obvious link to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” )!
Ok, seriously… Being a speaker in an important conference is something new for me and I’m really really excited about that. It’s a great occasion to give me a challenge and to go in contact with people (nerds?) like me, to receive external feedbacks and to make my experience available for other people that still don’t know how much test automation is cool and interesting. There is a world to discover and my mission here is to involve people in that… and the presence of 2000 people is a good starting point to conquer the world! :-)

What’s your current music album on repeat?
Music for me is very important because it allows me to think and code, but I don’t have a usual album, it depends on the mood. For example when I need a charge I go with Metallica, AC/DC, Kamelot, System of a Down, Aerosmith; when I need to be more contemplative I go with Dream Theatre, Guns N’ Roses, Simon & Garfunkel.
In last days I’m doing a lot of interesting things and I’m very charged, so I’m on “The Very Best of the Bangles”… go girls!

Is there any book you would suggest related to what you do?
First of all “Siddhartha” of Hermann Hesse, one of my favorite novel in my life. It teaches that you have always to try and never give up. Experience is the basis of learning and only by learning you will reach what you want. Maybe not a tech book but, believe me, very inspiring.
On a technical point of view there is not a specific book in terms of “test architecture” but a combination of coding books, agile method ones, test communities forums on web and experience.

Thanks a lot Annarita, see you at Codemotion Rome 2016!

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