Categories
Conferences Marketing Software Testing Technology

My Social Media Marketing Strategy

On Sunday I’ll be Interviewing Manoj Kumar who’s a Principal Consultant at ThoughtWorks & a Selenium Conf Organiser. And I was chatting to Manoj about my marketing strategy as a tester. I’ve been fascinated about marketing (more than learning about test automation tools) and this blog post is a reflection on that strategy.

Marketing is a numbers game

In marketing, click through rates, conversion rates and eyeballs are king. You can either increase your eyeballs/views or increase the conversion rate.

E.G. You are promoting a free event, if you send an email to 100 people and 5 people sign up, your conversion rate is 5% for that campaign. It’s alot easier to increase the number of emails sent than the conversions/click through rates.

You could send that same email to 100 more people or send follow up emails to the people who opened the email but didn’t register to increase conversions. Or maybe the subject line didn’t get people’s attention?

Anyway, there’s tons of testing and iterating that can be applied to a marketing campaign.

What is your goal?

Have a think of what you’d like to achieve with your marketing campagin before starting out. I’ve structured my LinkedIn to get more views of my blog. Nearly everything I do on LinkedIn is to increase the web traffic to my blog.

My goal is to get more views/traffic on my blog

You might want to increase ticket sales for a conference, increase sign up rates for an event, etc. My secondry goal is to grow my number of followers on YouTube/Twitch.

How will you measure your goal?

I use analytics on wordpress to measure sources of web traffic. First let me tell you about my template messages and then I’ll explain how I use analytics to measure it.

Here are my LinkedIn template messages

New Connection

Hi {Insert_First_Name},

Thanks for connecting. What are some of the challenges facing you these days?

You might enjoy reading my blog on metrics and quality: https://bughuntersam.com/metrics-and-quality/ 

Is there anything I can help you with?

Regards,

Sam

They Ask for Work/Career Advice

Unfortunately it’s hard for me to refer someone who I’ve never worked with personally. I also don’t know what type of team would suit you.

Here’s my 6 step software testers career cheatsheet: https://bughuntersam.com/my-testing-career-cheatsheet/

Networking is king. I’ve gotten my last 3 job offers from networking, blogging and speaking at Meetup events.

Specific Campaign

I’ve sent the following template message to over 100 people who have QA Engineer in their title, are based in India and I’m connected to (I have up to 240 connections that meet this criteria):

Hi {Insert_First_Name},

How are you? Are you aware of the Selenium Conference in India? https://seleniumconf.in/

I’ll be interviewing Manoj Kumar, one of the organisers at 7am IST this Sunday https://www.meetup.com/Sydney-Testers/events/271598548/

If that’s too early for you the interview will be up on youtube 24 hours after the live event.

Regards,

Sam

I’ve had over 30 people respond to that last message directly over night, that’s a 30% response rate of people who’ve atleast clicked on the auto generated response message, “Thanks”.

Analytics

Using wordpress; Jetpack paid services, I can track views, where they come from and what people look at:

Yesterday I had 286 Views from 141 Visitors which is my second best performing day over the last month for web traffic.

Yesterday I had 286 Views from 141 Visitors which is my second best performing day over the last month for web traffic.

Out of those 286 Views, 11 were on my Metrics and Quality blog, so they were probably from my New_Connections template message.

173 Views were from India (Normally most of my traffic comes from Australia) and 16 of those views came from LinkedIn. This would indicate that my blog was shared outside of my marketing efforts.

Here’s a more regular day

As a comparison, here’s a more regular web traffic day for my blog:

Newer published blogs are the most viewed (especially if I’ve shared them), Most of my traffic comes from LinkedIn and most of my traffic is from Australia, because that’s my biggest area of influence.

I can also keep an eye on my engagement in LinkedIn too, this helps me to understand if the content I’m sharing is resonating with people:

Is this useful?

Would you try/test anything from this blog post? What are your views on marketing?

Categories
Critical Thinking Software Testing Technology

Code Smells and Boolean Logic

Have you ever come across a boolean in code (i.e. a TRUE/FALSE) variable and had to stop and question if TRUE meant enabled or disabled? I call this a code smell.

A code smell is a surface indication that usually corresponds to a deeper problem in the system.

https://martinfowler.com/bliki/CodeSmell.html

Naming variables is hard

One of the hardest things in software engineering is naming variables. They need to be easy to understand, short (ish) yet descriptive. And working in international teams, everyone has a different understanding of language. It’s a nigh impossible task if you ask me.

Kill Switches

Say there’s a kill switch feature that a business or developer can enable to block a client from hitting a backend via an API. Just in case there’s peak demand or something in the system is struggling. Or maybe you are concerned there’s a widespread Denial of Service Attack (DoS) hitting your system and you want to keep your customer data safe.

What should this kill switch be named? And what state corresponds to the switching off of web traffic?

The enabled state should correspond with the no traffic state. When this kill switch is enabled, the business has gone in and switched it on, effectively switching off traffic. By default this kill switch is disabled and web traffic is normal. You might want to call this kill switch something that relates to the API it switches off, e.g. WebLoginKillSwitch if the kill switch prevents people from login to your web.

Feature Flags

A feature flag is a software development technique used to enable or disable functionality remotely without deploying code.

https://launchdarkly.com/blog/what-are-feature-flags/

Say you are working on a new feature but you are operating in a continuous integration and deployment environment. Once your code is merged in it could be deployed to customers within minutes. But your feature isn’t ready for customers just yet. You can wrap your feature behind a feature flag and enable it for your team so you can test in production even before your customers see it.

By default this feature is disabled for most of your users. But you could also set up a % rollout for the feature too. Maybe 5% of your users see the new feature before doing a general release.

When naming a feature flag you don’t need to include the word enabled or disabled in the variable. If you are experimenting with a new way of web login using apple ID you might call this feature flag webLoginWithAppleID and have it disabled by default.

Read the art of readable code

If you are interested in learning more about readable code, I recommend reading the Art of Readable Code:

Do you have any code smells related to naming of variables? How about test code smells?

Categories
Job hunting Software Testing

My Testing Career Cheatsheet

Are you looking for 1 on 1 career advice from me? You can book me in via Calendly, my rates of $90 AUD for 30 minutes will apply.

Here’s a PDF of useful links, tips and resources that have helped me in my career so far:

Here’s the YouTube playlist of all the videos in this series:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXzkSAwwpH0m7Llq_HHBsC8KwFI5P1xWp

1 – Start with Why

2 – Building your profile

3 – Networking is king

4 – Interview tips

5 – Technical tester?

6 – Other resources

Why did I create this?

Yesterday I put an announcement on LinkedIn, if you had been made redundant recently you can book me in for a FREE 30 minute 1 on 1 career coaching session for the month of July.

You can still book me in via this calendly link. But my usual rates of $50 AUD for a 30 minute session will apply.

I plan on sharing this PDF with everyone I chat to as a post chat follow up take away.

What resources have helped you in your career? What other video’s on testing would you like to see?

Bonus material

Categories
Critical Thinking

Birthday Reflections

I recently survived another year on this rock rotating around the sun. It doesn’t feel that long that I was reflecting on turning 30 last year. I also set myself some goals at the start of the year but 2020 has been a doozey and put lot’s of those intentions on hold. This blog is a brain dump of reflections.

Finances

Looking at my finance figures from my turning 30 blog, everything is still on track. My student loans are at 33K, my super is at 62K and progress towards my credit card debt is happening, today it’s at 22k outstanding.

Goals

I’ve spent some time reassessing my goals for this year. I had signed up for the Sydney Community College gold membership but because of covid-19 it’s been cancelled. I might start a diploma in financial advice for the rest of this year.

Values personality Test

Today I did a values personality test from Psychologist Today. It’s a good way to get some other words that I can use to describe my values. Here is my top value:

Top Core Value: Theoretical Values

People with theoretical values regard logical thought and the pursuit of knowledge very highly. They respect the value of education, both formal and informal, and believe in learning for the sake of learning.

They don’t make decisions based on a set ideology; rather, they try to base your opinions, beliefs, and decisions on “truth”. Rather than listening and blindly following what others are saying, people with theoretical values make their own choices based on all the information available to them.

This translates to a very deliberate, logical way of thinking. They want to understand how things in the world work, and are not afraid to ask why something is the way it is.

Influencing Values

  • Social Values
  • Aesthetic Values
  • Political Values
  • Realistic Values

Minor Values

  • Traditional Values

You can access the full PDF report of my test here if you like. I’d actually say community is my biggest personal value but they didn’t come across in this test. Anyway, it’s good food for thought and explains why I want to pursue further education.

How do you go about self reflection? I find writing helps me (hence this blog)

Categories
depression mental health

Mental Health check-in

Q. Hey Sam, how’s your mental health going?

A. To be honest, it’s been pretty shit. This whole pandemic thing hasn’t been great for my mental wellbeing.

Q. Yeah it’s all been pretty stressful, ay. What’s been bothering you? Would you like to talk about anything specifically?

A. My sleep has been all kinds of fucked up. Feeling tired has gotten to me a few times. There’s been days where I’ve been overwhelmed enough to just sit down and cry for half an hour. I’ve felt better afterwards but I’m struggling to get solid sleep.

Q. Why’s that?

A. I’m not sure, I think there’s been quite a few factors contributing. Getting less exercise means I have a harder time switching off at night. My apartment is so fucking cold, sometimes it takes me hours just to heat up enough to doze off. The lack of seperation of work space and home space means I don’t switch off from work. The low bar anxiety from reading the news/twitter can also keep me scrolling on my phone late into the night. It doesn’t matter how many sleepy bed time meditations I listen to, they just don’t appear to be working like they use to.

Q. Is there anything I can help you with?

A. Can you remind me to go buy an electric blanket? Do you think I should get one online or go into a store?

Q. Sure, whatever works for you. Has there been anything that’s helped you cope during these social isolation times?

A. It’s so fucking nice to have a cat in the house. My new housemate came with one. There’s been a few times I’ve overwhelmed with happy tears having the cat sit on my lap for some nice warm pats.

Q. It’s such a fluffy kitty. What about taking a break from social media?

A. I would like to try fixing one thing at a time, make a small change, measure if it helps and then go from there.

Q. No problem, is there anything else you’d like to talk about?

A. Nah I’m cool for now, I just wanted to get that off my chest. Thanks

Categories
Finances Job hunting Technology

Why the career change?

I recently posted on LinkedIn that I had been in software testing for 8-9 years and was thinking of a career change. Maybe financial advice could be an interesting path?

Now this isn’t me starting a career change just yet, but I’m looking into the process.

Where can I go in my current role?

I see atleast two ways foward if I remain on the software tester path. Either focus on technical mobile automation skills; becoming a principal software engineer in test so to say or try to move towards leadership. I’m not super keen for any of these paths. I could move into consulting but I feel like there’s a lot of competition in this space already. Software testing is a hard sell.

I’d like to run my own business

I’ve always felt like a bit of a misfit culturally speaking to some degree in most of my roles. My behaviour and values haven’t always aligned in a corporate sense. I’ve always had a desire to create my own culture, it’s hard to not fit in when it’s your own doing.

Growing up poor

My family background has influenced me towards wanting to run my own business. My dad use to work in a sawmill earning minimum wage, after a sawmill accident and a workers compensation payout he started his own business doing garden and home maintenance. He’s an aussie success story. I’ve felt like working for yourself can give you more success and satisfation with your career.

Why the finance direction?

Eventually I’d like to build out digital focused experiences to help people navigate things like pensions. Many of the products on the market aren’t easy to navigate. However building up a base of clients in the mean time could be a way to get there and earn a living. I’ve recently started blogging more about finance too.

What about other paths?

I’ve considered data science as a path, I’ve applied for an internal data analyst role with my current company because I’ve recently enjoyed building out a mobile app analytics dashboard for my team. I’m going to keep my eyes open to trying new things within my current situation before completely jumping ship.

Marketing and sales has been great fun to learn about, a masters in business administration could be interesting. I had considered applying for technical Sales Engineers roles if my current job had fallen through.

I do have an app I’m trying to build and I’d like to use it to help teach people better ways of doing software and quality. I could focus on creating workshops and consulting around it more too. However education and training is also a hard sell.

This is all still 2-3 years off

I currently have some credit card debt left to pay off and I’m opting for a stable job that I know how to do in the meantime until my debts are paid off. A diploma in financial advice will take 2 years part time to complete and I haven’t event started it yet. I might look into starting it next year if it’s still an appealing option by then.

This is not my first career change

I worked in supermarkets for 7 years during highschool and university. Mostly in the deli area but I did the occaisional check out chic role too. If money wasn’t a driving factor I would still be working in a supermarket; I was hardly bored, enjoyed serving customers and felt more engaged compared to most of my tech roles.

I got into tech because I wanted something that was a bit more related to my degree compared to the supermarket work. A part time testing gig during uni was the first tech role I got. I’ve generally stuck with software testing since.

Have you ever made a career change?

What was your thought process? Did you go for education first or did you jump straight into a new role? How did you decide the new career path was something you wanted to try?

Wait but why has this awesome blog post on finding a career that fits you.