Software Testing was not my first career.

I actually started as a Mechanical Designer (tool & die) in the manufacturing sector.  When I was in college, everything we did was on a drafting board.  Within one year of when I graduated, AutoCAD was launched for PC computers and within 5 years, it was hard to find a drafting board anywhere.   This was my first clue that I better learn fast or I would never be able to keep up.

Within 10 years, manufacturing had dramatically changed and it seemed like every machine had a digital interface.   I learned how to program CNC machines and PLC controllers all from manuals and trial and error.   The machines were arriving faster in the plants than there was courses available to teach anyone.  I would arrive in the morning to find a manual on my desk and my boss asking “Can you figure that thing out?”  Luckily I learn better on the job than sitting in a class so it worked well for me but my resume is oddly lacking in the education department.

When I started in the SQA field, it was a 3 month contract to test some new software and it ended up being a 3 year gig and a new career I stumbled into.  In 1995, there weren’t many courses or degrees in SQA and most of the training was on the job.  If I don’t learn at least one new skill each year, I start to panic that I am falling behind.  This blog has been a great way for me to remind myself to keep current and keep searching for what is up and coming in the field.

When I am interviewing candidates, I am always looking for clues in their resume or their answers that they enjoy learning and are actively involved in picking up new skills.  If their learning stopped after they got their degree, they aren’t for me!

This presentation really brought the point home to me and is a MUST SEE for all teenagers.  For all the benefits that our generation has had over past generations, we have huge challenges ahead.  It is becoming increasingly critical for the next generation to learn on their feet and not look to school as their primary source of education.  As much as I loved this presentation, I must admit that it made my head hurt to just take in all the implications!