This post is mostly for me to process my thoughts and reflect on major milestones from 2019. My journey continues. A journey from no experience in testing and automation to first meaningful projects, achievements and, hopefully, first rewarding job in automation.
Milestones in 2019
Let's have a look at my key milestones in the past year
- found a mentor to help me learn testing and automation
- got ISTQB certification
- completed uTest Academy and got first hand-on experience in manual testing
- started a website
- found testing internship
- got my first python test working
Productivity: struggles and lessons learned
If I look back to what I managed to do in the entire year it does not seem like a big achievement. On the other hand, I was quite busy with other things. Apart from learning testing and automation, I had to
- take care of my family
- do the job to pay the bills
- keep running my Amazon project
- work on my TAFE business course
Lack of time was the biggest obstacle. Yet, lack of focus was probably the root cause of why I have a feeling that could have achieved much more in 2019.
Now if I'd ask myself "What made it difficult to maintain focus?", it's two things. First, not having a clear picture of my priorities. I see it clearly now, no matter how hard you work, you only have 24 hours in a day. If every day you spend juggling between multiple tasks, that does not help make significant progress towards your number one goal.
Another lesson is sleep is getting more and more important for me. I feel that my productivity and motivation are hugely affected by the quality of my sleep. For example, if spent last 30-40 mins before going to bed in front of a computer or smartphone and fell asleep after 10.30 pm waking up at 5.30-6.00am, my day is not going to be productive. And as I look back I had a lot of these days in the last year.
At last, it is important to repeat some things that helped me to make some progress in getting experience and learning testing and automation:
- practice makes perfect. Everyday practice, even in small chunks is the best way to improve testing skills.
- having a mentor and ask your own questions can save a lot of time and guide to the right direction.
- books and articles accessible through the Internet are always there to help.
- coding can be fun, especially when your code finally works.
- when you stuck and tired, just take a break. Return later, ask someone a question, research answer on the Internet.
Goals, priorities and balance
Now that I clearly see what drags me down, I should find the way to
- stick to work approach that is guided by my priorities
- improve my sleep: get to bed on time, do not stay up until late with computer/smartphone, develop routines and habits to help me improve my sleep
I think it is also important to maintain a healthy work-life balance. I know it sounds like an obvious thing, but for me, it is not just a cliche phrase. It has become so important because this year I've realized that I have only one life. It's up to me how I live it: rushing and worrying about all the work that I need to have done or making a conscious choice and maintaining a healthy balance between life and work.
Anyway, it would be good to have some SMART goals for 2020. Let's see.
- Complete 10 web UI Python tests by 01/03/2020 using some things I recently learned (pytest fixtures, parametrization, page object models, yield, config files)
- Set up tests with CI tool and remote server by 01/04/2020
- Rebuild my Linked in page, update CV and send 20 job applications by 01/03/2020
- Complete 100 days of automation and testing challenge
- Write at least 50 web UI tests using Python by the end of 2020
- Write at least 12 blog posts in 2020
- Read 3 books about testing by the end of 2020.
- Find full-time the testing job by the end of 2020