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Tech Talks With Chris Kenst: Taking Insights To Scaling Automation, Codeless Automation, & More

05-Apr-2022

Tech Talks With Chris Kenst: Taking Insights To Scaling Automation, Codeless Automation, & More

Quality Assurance with time has turned into highly significant business practice. Especially, when end users have become more digitally aware, the need for quality jumps in right from the point software or application is ideated. At BugRaptors, we always aim to nurture quality for our clients, irrespective of the industry.  

After serving more than 1000 clients across the globe, we believe bringing a revolution in the QA industry demands access to knowledge and professional resources. And with the thought of upscaling the quality assurance and software testing services, we constantly aim to connect with QA professionals from across the globe.  

This time, at tech talks, our in-house expert, Vivek Rana, interviewed Chris Kenst. Starting his journey as a QA analyst, Chris is presently working as a QA Engineering Manager in Los Angeles. With rich experience of more than 17 years, Chris has a thorough understanding of different QA roles right from Automation manager to Automation Engineer. He is also the President of the Association for Software Testing, A Keynote Speaker, and a Writer.  

Chris has most of his experience working with organizations that were entirely focused on testing web applications and QA testing for software solutions. During the last few years, Chris has been actively involved in public conferences and workshops in order to share his perspective and develop a greater vision for QA.  

Before he joined the Board of Directors for the Association for Software Testing, He was (and still is) a lead instructor for AST-BBST courses. He has worked as a peer advisor to James Bach’s Rapid Testing Intensive Online courses.  

Chris even has an adventurous side, which took him to become a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer. Nevertheless, He is frequently seen hosting AST Webinars and making significant contributions to the testing community with occasional writings. Moreover, Chris has even worked on creating and maintaining an open-source list of software testing conferences and workshops.  

During the interview, Chris talked about all the challenges he faced during his initial days of testing. Also, Chris highlighted all the necessary skills and strengths that one needs to work in the QA industry. From common mistakes to effective practices that can help scale automation, the interview went into the depth of automation testing.  

Let us quickly jump on the interview to get thorough insights on how Chris perceives scaling of automation, codeless automation, and other essential practices surrounding Quality Assurance.  

Vivek Rana: What are some of the challenges you faced when you first started? 

Chris Kenst: When I first started, I had no idea what a tester did. It was my first job out of university and although I worked with more experienced testers very few people were in a position to mentor me. I struggled with understanding how to get better and thought simply writing and executing test cases (as my peers did) was it. 
 
It wasn’t until I had a few chances to break the mold and pair with developers that I realized testing was about learning how complex systems work together in an effort to solve a problem for a customer or the business. The routines and traditions testers had only mattered if they helped solve those problems, otherwise they got in the way. 
 
Once I learned this the next challenge was figuring out how to understand complex systems and use them effectively! 

Vivek Rana: What is the most important strength someone would need to work in your industry? 

Chris Kenst: When I think of strength, I think of someone’s **capacity** to do something. Capacity requires an ability to hold onto something and grow it. 
 
If you want to work in the software industry it will require the capacity to **learn. ** You’ll need to build the strength to learn lots of different things from technical skills (test design, quality processes, programming, etc.), to the more important soft skills (communication, empathy, prioritization, collaboration). You’ll need to learn a bit of histories like software development workflows, trends in quality, and some possibly conflicting things. 

Vivek Rana: What are some of the common mistakes that you watch out for? 

Chris Kenst: Common mistakes depend a lot on what we are talking about. I’d say with regard to interviewing and even to some degree problem solving, one of the biggest mistakes I see people make is they are context oblivious. 

Context oblivious means there is a mismatch between what you do and the problem you are trying to solve. In interviewing software testers this often comes across as the interviewee being unable to articulate the particular testing problem and why they used a particular testing solution. Instead, they did something because that’s how they’ve been taught to do it or always done it. 

Be context driven, not context oblivious. Look at each problem for what it is and then try to solve it. Do the best you can with what you have. Don’t try to blindly apply someone else’s solution to your problem and don’t always search for “best practices”. 

Vivek Rana: Is codeless automation really the future? 

Chris Kenst: It’s one part of the future, yes. I have no idea if it will be a big or small part of the future. 

It’s yet another tool that might work depending on the problem we are trying to address. If you ever talk to a tool vendor, ask them what problems they think their tool addresses well and what problems their tool isn’t very good at. You’ll find the honest tools vendors will tell you in great detail about both. 

Vivek Rana: How do you scale automation? 

Chris Kenst: Computer systems scale a lot easier than people systems do and test automation requires both computers and people. People need to understand what is happening, what problems need to be addressed and then they can build tools to automate them. In the end test automation is there for the people to have a better understanding of what is and isn’t working about the system under test. 

Most organizations I’ve worked at needed to figure out how to build a bigger business rather than build or scale out test automation efforts. So, I think of this as a good problem to have. 

Vivek Rana: Are you planning to write any book on automation testing? 

Chris Kenst: I have no plans to, but who knows what the future holds. In fact, I'd rather start running workshops to bring the community together to talk about the successes/problems they've had than write a book at the moment.  

Vivek Rana: What is the best way to get in touch with you? 

Chris Kenst: I share a lot on twitter at https://www.twitter.com/ckenst and LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/ckenst. Those are the best places to get in touch with me. I also write semi-regularly on my blog at https://www.kenst.com/

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Keep yourself ahead of the industry with world-class Quality Assurance solutions. Reach us through info@bugraptors.com  

author

Vivek Rana

Vivek Rana with rich experience of more than 8 years in the industry, Vivek Rana is a QA enthusiast working as a Team Lead at BugRaptors. Starting his journey as a system analyst, Vivek over the years has developed a strong grip on manual and automation testing services. His fun-loving approach and whole-hearted dedication make him a perfect team player. He is a highly driven expert and loves to travel to mountains escaping the city hustle and bustle whenever he longs for some leisure.

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