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Community Spotlight Presents Huib Schoots-->
The Community Spotlight is a new feature which brings to focus those who matter in software testing industry in Europe – you, the members of the EuroSTAR Software Testing Community!
We want to give you the chance to get to know more about your peers throughout Europe and share your own experiences, career highlights and some fun facts with the testing community by taking our Community Spotlight interview.
This Community Spotlight features Huib Schoots, who will speak at this year’s conference in Gothenburg.
My name is Huib Schoots
2.Where are you from?
I currently life in Den Bosch, in the South of the Netherlands. I was born in Eindhoven and moved around in the Netherlands about 18 times. I lived in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Breda, Delft and lots of smaller villages nobody outside the Netherlands has ever heard off.
3.Where do you work?
I work for codecentric, a small agile consultancy company in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands we have 12 people, but we have another 160 people in Germany, Bosnia and Serbia. We believe in a new way of working, trust, equality, focus, passion, pleasure and expertise to ensure a higher result. I chose codecentric because they are real experts in everything they do. They see being an expert as a fundamental choice and place high demands on each member of the team. Codecentric uses the 4 +1 model work: 1 day per week for the gathering and sharing knowlegde and expertise. I simply love this way of continuously investing in people.
4. Can you tell us how you got involved in testing?
After I finished my study Business Informatics I joined CMG and became a developer. I loved doing IT projects and solving problems, but didn’t really enjoyed programming. To me it felt like starring at a screen whole day. I liked the communication and collaboration with other people. Every release we brought live during the weekend, we were fixing the whole week after so I started to look for ways to improve the quality of the software we were building. Doing this I ran into testing. We did testing as developers but as I look back on what we really did, it is better described as trying.
My first steps in the wondrous world of testing were as a test automation engineer, later I also did manual testing. Here I found my passion: finding things out, learning about how people work, helping teams to make better software. And back in the nineties testing wasn’t a real job within IT in many projects. So it felt really good to help developing the testing profession within the Telecom Industry I was mainly working in.
During my testing career I questioned and changed my beliefs over the years. It has been a long exploration learning more about testing, asking myself how to become a great tester. I learned by making many mistakes and trying many different ways. I learned structured testing methodologies but still struggled with the testing I did… If you want to learn more about my my learning journey, I invite you to come to my talk at EuroSTAR in Gothenburg in November.
5. How many times have you been to the EuroSTAR Conference?
This year will be my fifth EuroStar. Last year I was speaker at EuroStar for the first time. This year I will do my second talk at EuroStar. I feel honoured and proud to speak at such a great conference. It is great to see how EuroStar is building a community in Europe and attract people who are test enthusiasts like me. Although some will see me as a EuroStar Veteran, but compared to people like Paul Gerrard and Dorothy Graham I feel a bit as the new kid on the block ;-)
6. What’s your favourite hobby?
Testing of course! I love my craft and spent a lot of time meeting others, learning, reading and writing about it. When I am not testing, I like to play games and solve puzzles. Strategic board games are favourite, but I also play video games. Other things I like to do is playing trombone, taking photographs, travel, scuba dive and play golf.
7. What would you have been if you weren’t involved in testing?
When I was young I wanted to become a vet, a fighter pilot or an accountant. But I have been tester whole my life! I tried stuff and took everything apart just to find out how things work. My curiosity brought me a lot of fun and also almost killed me twice. As a kid I tried to cut a power cord with a metal pair of scissors and I put my fingers into a lamp fitting to check if the power was really on. When my parents lost things, they always first asked me. Big chance I knew where to find it since I was always looking for stuff to try.
8. Have you any advice to give to a young tester or someone just starting their testing career?
My first advice would be: always follow your energy and passion. Do things you really like and you will learn more and faster. Also young testers should realize that testing is not about process and artefacts only as some in our industry try to make them believe… There are many skills you need to train to become a great tester.
I wrote a serie of blogposts on how to become a great tester: You can learn testing, What makes a good tester? and How to become a software testing expert?
9. If you could do a project with one other tester/developer/programmer who would it be?
Wow, difficult question… I have a long list of people I would love to work with. People I met at conferences, my DEWT colleagues, my fellow students from the Miagi-Do school of software testing, people from the context-driven community, my TestNet jubilee book co-authors, my codecentric colleagues. But since I have to chose only one, it would probably be Jerry Weinberg. He is a great writer, he has been a teacher to many people I respect and admire. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him yet, let alone work with him. I think I can learn so much from him.
10. If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you like to have with you?
My kindle with all the books on it still waiting to be read, my MacBook assuming that there is power and wifi since I am really addicted to researching stuff, watching TED videos and reading blogs. The last thing I would want to have handy is my camera. Finally time to take pictures all day! And since my MacBook is there too, I can edit them to perfection!
11. What is your favourite motivational quote?
I read and tweet a lot so I come across many motivational quotes. Some of my favourites: “Testers know that things can be different” (Jerry Weinberg), “Break the rules, stand apart, ignore your head, follow your heart.” (unknown), “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” (Oscar Wilde) and “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish” (Steve Jobs). Quite recently I read an interesting article about effective things to say. It motivated me, maybe it helps you too? Here it is: 4 Surprisingly Effective Things to Say. The article has an great quote in it: “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”
12. What has been your biggest software testing challenge so far?
There have been many! I have done a lot of projects and worked for many different companies. So I don’t think there would be just one. I like challenges and I always look for challenges in everything I do.
One of the biggest challenges in testing has been testing voice recognition systems. The team I worked in several years ago, was building systems which were voice controlled by users via a telephone. We built a digital receptionist and a stock information and ordering system for example. Because the system didn’t had an interface it required a different approach I was used to. We had a great team and it was a lot of fun finding ways to effectively testing these systems. The technology wasn’t as far as it is these days and user experience was tremendously important.
There were also many “people” challenges. I like to build teams and bring people closer together. In IT and software development collaboration is one of the success factors. When teams work together and developers, testers and analysts are working closely together, fantastic things can happen. Pairing for me is an great way to work closely together, learn for your colleagues and build a great team. Getting people to really work together has been a interesting challenge. Project managers do not like pairing and often see it as a waste of valuable time. Many testers do know what they can do to help teams become more effective in testing. These are my favourite challenges to work on. Not easy but it’s very rewarding if I’m successful to help teams step-by-step.