At the end of Buddha in Testing, Pradeep asks the reader to co-author the next chapter with him. So this blog post is my attempt at writing part of Chapter 5 of this book:
What is the chaos that surrounds you in testing?
Write now, during the pandemic a lot of people have been made redundant and are struggling to find work. I’m lucky enough that my day job isn’t all that chaotic, which is a good thing. The mobile app I’m working on is doing pretty well. I wouldn’t want to be dealing with a stressful work load on top of everything else.
What is my contribution?
I put together a software testers career cheatsheet to help anyone whose struggling to find work right now. After having career coaching sessions with a bunch of people, a few themes came to light. I got the inspiration to do a video series on those points. I found out it makes for great marketing content.
What situations have put you out of calmness?
Last weekend I recorded 7 career tip videos in one weekend. I was burnt out by Monday and a blubbery, teary mess. I couldn’t focus on work and took the day off to mentally recharge. I told twitter I was out of spoons.
How did you bring peace?
Walking around the city, listening to podcasts and shopping in second hand clothes stores was how I recharged. I even had a beer in a sports bar at lunch and watched some cricket (England vs West Indies) :
What answers are you searching for?
Satisfaction in life. I’m over software testing. I’m starting a graduate diploma in financial advice next week because I have an idea to disrupt the retirement funds industry here in Australia. Making retirement funds easier is something I can get behind.
How will you recognise the peace?
I enjoy adding value to other people. It’s a huge driver to most of what I do. I miss the constant interaction with people from my shop assistant days. If money/labour wasn’t a drawback I’d prefer to work in a supermarket over most of the testing roles I’ve had. With my history of depression, I don’t think I’d ever achieve peace but I can be more content with life.
I’m now outta steam
I could continue answering the questions but I think I’m going to leave it there. How would you answer some of these questions?
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?
Here is a table breaking down the average funds per person based on country and population (roughly sorted by funds under management):
Assets US$ (in billions)
Population ( in millions)
Average funds per person
Wow, look at Norway
Norway has the most saved per person, but their fund is publicly owned and was formed when Norway made lots of money in oil and is now invested in ethically run companies. Individuals don’t contribute to it and the government can only access 3% of the funds each year. You can watch this youtube video to find out why Norway is so rich.
A few other countries of note
The US has the most funds under management, but due to wealth distribution the average per person is lower. Pensions in the UK seems to be a confusing affair and it’s up to the employer to set up a pension plan and to make contributions on your behalf.
Singapore once had employer contributions set as high as 25% before their recession in the 80’s.
The main reason why we have so much saved is because of the compulsory employer contributions; which is currently 9.5% on top of your salary goes towards retirement savings. This was established in the 90’s by the Keating government at the time. Here is a youtube video of Keating ranting about super.
The average working Australian
I’ve told my brother, who’s 22 and works in a supermarket as a fruit and veg manager, that he’ll likely have 400k in super when he retires, even if he does nothing with it. You can use money smarts super calculator to play around with some numbers.
The average supermarket employee makes around 50k a year (plus or minus around 5k). 400k in savings feels like an insane amount of potential wealth for someone in my family (a previously low socio economic but still very bogan family, we are now upper middle bogans 😉)
The superannuation and investment mobile app I’ve been working on over the last year has finally been released. It’s been on the app store for just over a month now* and this blog is about how we are using metrics to help keep tabs on the quality of our app.
The average app store rating is one useful metric to keep track of. We are aiming to keep it above 4 stars and we are also monitoring the feedback raised for future feature enhancement ideas. I did an analysis of the average app store reviews of other superannuation apps here to get a baseline of what the industry average is. If we are better than the industry average, we have a good app.
Analytics in mobile apps
We are using Adobe Analytics for tracking page views and interactions for our web and mobile app. On previous mobile app teams I’ve used mParticle and mixpanel. The framework here doesn’t matter, I’ve found adobe workspace to be a great tool for insights, once you know how to use it. Also Adobe has tons of online web tutorials for building out your own dashboards.
App versions over time
Here’s our app usage over time broken down by app version:
We have version 1.1 on the app store and released 1.0 nearly 2 months ago. We did an internal beta release with version 0.5.0. If anyone on the old versions tries to log in they’ll see a forced update view.
Crashes are a fact of life with any mobile app team, there are so many different variables that go into app crashes. However keeping track of them and aiming for low rates is a good thing to measure.
With version 1.1 we improved our crash rates on android from 2.77% to 0.11%. You can use a UI exerciser that is called monkey from the command line in your android emulator to try and find more crashes too. With the following command I can send a 1000 random UI events to the emulator:
I can also keep on eye on how many error messages are seen. The spike in the android app error messages was me throwing the chaos monkey at out production build for a bit. However when there is both a spike in android and iOS, I know I can ask, “was there something wrong with our backend that day?”
Test Vs Prod – page views
If every page has one event being tracked, we can compare our upcoming release candidate against production; say we see that 75 page views were triggered on the test build and we compare this to the 100 page views we can see in production. We can then say we’ve tested 75% of the app and haven’t seen any issues so far.
There’s no need to aim for 100% coverage, our unit tests do cover every screen but because they run on the internal CI network those events are never sent to adobe. We have over 500 unit/UI tests on both android and iOS (not that number of tests is a good metric, it’s an awful one by the way).
But if you’ve tested the main flows through your app and that’s gotten you 50% or 75% coverage you are now approaching diminishing returns. What’s the chances in finding a new bug? Or a new bug that someone cares about?
You could spend that extra hour or two getting to 90-95% but you could also be doing more useful stuff with your time. You should read my risk based framework if you are interested in finding out more.
If you are working on a new feature or flow of your app, you can measure how many people actually complete the task. E.g. first time log in, how many people actually log in successfully? How many people lock their accounts? If you are trying to improve this process you can track to see if the rates improve or decline.
You could also measure satisfaction after a task is completed and ask for feedback, a quick out of 5 score along the lines of, “did this help you? was it easy to achieve?”. You can put a feedback section somewhere in your app.
The tip of the iceberg
These metrics and insights I’ve shared with you are just a small subset of everything we are tracking. And is a small part of our overall test strategy. Adobe has been useful for digging down into mobile device’s and operating systems breakdowns too. There’s many ways you can cut the data to provide useful information.
What metrics have you found useful for your team and getting a gauge on quality? What metrics didn’t work as well as you had hoped?
This is not financial advice and the views expressed in this blog are my own. They are not reflective of my employers views
This is not financial advice, this a story about my adventures in learning about investments and stock markets.
So when I got my tax return last year, I decided to learn how the stock market worked by investing $1000 in shares.
note; this is generally considered a bad thing for me to do financially because I have some credit card debt that I’m paying off and I should put spare money towards that first.You can read more about my debt here.
I also purchased a few ETF’s via Commsec Pocket (around $250 worth). I’m using both CommSec and CommSec Pocket which have a minimum investment of $500 and $50 respectively to learn about investments and stock markets.
Then came the market crash
All of a sudden, those shares I had bought dropped by nearly 40% in value. Instead of selling out, I bought more shares. I found out that a market crash is often called a bear market. Bear markets can often happen before a recession.
This video offers a good explainer of how investing during a bear market can help even out losses:
I had wanted to buy some Tyro shares (I previously had worked for Tyro and they had a recent successful ASX launch). I bought $500 worth of Tyro shares at a price of $2.7 a share around the 13th of March.
However, the market still had more crashing to do. The Tyro share price bottomed out at 0.97 a share on the 19th of March. If only I had waited a few more days. I could have bought a two to three times more shares for my $500 worth. Oh well. In times of high volatility it’s really hard to know what’s going to happen.
Well shit, this now felt like pissing $ against the wall. I had lost 50% in value and this felt terrible. Even my ETF’s had lost 20%.
Buying MORE shares
After the dust had settled a little. I bought $500 worth of CBA shares (I work for commbank) and my mum gave my an extra $500 for some CBA shares too (we paid roughly $60 per share). And they had increased quite quickly after that point.
Oh gees, look at those losses on those Prospa shares, -$400 yikes…
Evening out losses
I noticed the Prospa share price had fallen down to about 0.50 cents per share, I had just gotten paid and I decided to even out my losses. I increased my 230 shares to 1000 shares.
I reason I might as well buy a few more Prospa shares while they are cheap, I reckon that eventually small businesses will need loans again soon.
I had also purchased a few more EFT’s. I had now invested nearly $670 in EFT’s.
This was a few days before the government had announced a stimulus package to help companies like Prospa lend more money to small businesses. Prospa shares skyrocketed to $1.05 per share. All of a sudden, my biggest loss was holding up my entire portfolio and my portfolio now actually had a positive value of 2.2% .
Woohoo. That’s the first time I’ve seen green on my portfolio in a long time.
There’s been a few ups and downs
My portfolio has still gone a bit up and down since then. Today I’m still at a loss of 5.58%, Those PGL shares are still at a small loss but it’s no where near that -$400 value. Those westpac shares are now my biggest loss. I might even them out in a few weeks but I’m no rush to do so.
But oh boy, have I learnt a thing or two about stock markets since I started investing 6 months ago. I think it was money well invested based on that outcome alone.
I’ve created a few superannuation accounts to compare many of the mobile app experiences out there. It seems that many super providers are joining the digital revolution and publishing apps. But are these apps any good? it would seem the average rating on the app stores leaves a bit to be desired.
ANZ isn’t really a superannuation app, but you can check your super balance in their banking app.
Rest is currently the most reviewed super app on the market (they are number #4 in Apple’s best finance app category):
However, their app UI feels a bit dated, the animations aren’t smooth and one of the main complaints on the app store is the biometric/pin login stops working (which is something I’ve experienced).
Best Onboarding Experience
My best on-boarding experience has been; 5 minute online account creation with the ability to log in immediately. It was then very easy to find “how to make a BPAY contribution”, and I was able to see a $5 account creation contribution in the account on the next business day. Rest, First State and Sunsuper all had this type of experience.
I also really like First State’s Marketing. Here’s their farewell email when I closed my account:
Most people are complaining about log in issues; either biometrics/logins stop working or new phones/updates break something.
You can also do this type of analyst if you want to compare similar features across competitors. For example, what apps give you a balance over time? Biometric log in? View Statements? Or adjust investment options in app? I will do this analyst myself in a follow up blog post.
This is not financial advice, this blog is a reflection on how unit prices and stock markets impact superannuation (Australian retirement funds), all prices listed are in AUD.
At the end of last week I rolled over my superannuation from Verve to Sunsuper because I wanted more flexibility over my investment allocations. Verve had 1 balanced investment option and Sunsuper has a few more to choose from. My super money was “in transit” for 3 days while the markets crashed around the world. My back of the envelope calculations show my super balance to be $2300 better off and this blog I’m going to walk through that maths with you.
When I rolled over from Verve my super balance was around $57K. It was at $60K a few weeks ago before the market started to take a nose dive. Verve calculated my closing balance as of Friday the 6th of March. Sunsuper processed my rollover transaction on Wednesday the 11th of March. My super balance is now valued at $55K as of Thursday the 12th of March.
Each investment option in superannuation generally uses a unit price to track investment growth. If the current unit price is $2 and I invest $100, I have just bought 50 units (100 / 2). If the market improves and that unit price increase to $2.20 my investment is now worth $110 (50 * 2.2) and my investment has grown 10 percent (((2.20 – 2) / 2) * 100). Unit prices are usually calculated at the end of every business day and are reflected on your super balance 1-2 business days after stock markets change.
Two Investment Options
I have my investment with Sunsuper split over 2 investment options, 80% growth and 20% socially conscious balanced. I have ~13,800 units in growth and ~3,800 units in balanced.
Unit Prices over time
The growth unit prices have gone from 3.4963 on Friday to 3.20653 on Wednesday. A downturn of 8.3%.
The balanced unit prices have gone from 3.15565 on Friday to 2.91942 on Wednesday. A downturn of 7.5%.
My super is now $2.3K better off
If I had invested $57K on the Friday instead of the Wednesday I would have bought ~13,200 Growth Units and ~3,700 Balanced Units respectively. By Thursday the 12th of March that would have come out to a balance of $53K (1*). That’s a difference of $2,300 compared to my actual balance (2*).
There’s nothing inherently bad with markets taking a downturn, this is what markets do. Expecting the economy to always grow infinitely isn’t exactly what happens. Also this money doesn’t mean anything until it’s used/exchanged. Right now all of these stock prices and values are ones and zeros in a computer somewhere.
I have a test account with Colonial First State that I use for checking our software in production. I have this one asset allocation that achieve nearly 6% returns since it’s inception and that includes the global financial crisis of 2008:
* I work for Colonial First State
Super is a long term investment
I’m not concerned with this market down turn. I consider my retirement fund to be imaginary until I actually get to use it. And who knows what will happen between now and then? This has been as fun exercise in understanding unit prices. If you’d like to read more about my financial situation, I have this blog post on turning 30.
How has the Coronavirus outbreak impacted your investments?
One thing I realise, is I’m always trying to do too much. The theme for next years Mardi Gras is what matters. So, what matters to me? In terms of my personal well being I tend to view it accross 5 elements:
Being healthy is the foundation to all elements of my well being. If I’m not looking after myself here, how can I grow in any other part of my well being? For me, this is physical health, mental health and sexual health.
The biggest thing I need to focus on for next year is beating the overweight category. I’ve beaten the obesity label once before but I’ve slipped back a little and I need to get on top of this. For my height, I need to be less than 65kg to beat the over weight label.
Next year will see me go through Schema Therapy. Here’s hoping it helps me correct an unhealthy mindset I have about myself.
I’ve always been reluctant to put sexual content on my blog, hoping to keep it professional. However I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t acknowledge it wasn’t an important part of my well being. I’m getting back into the kink scene by attending a few munches. This also helps build up a sense of community. The kink community was the first community I turned to when I first moved to Sydney 6 years ago.
This is one of my personal values too. This also covers family. Nearly everything I do is driven by some sense of community. Next year I’ll be focusing on more board games, the kink community and professional networking. My biggest goal here will be focusing on building and engaging an online community through twitch and podcasting.
I still want to release that app and write a book, however these goals are a bit further down the priority list and I don’t mind if I don’t achieve the book next year. The app is going to help me grow as a software engineer and is more important for growing my side business.
I’m making progress here. I aim to pay off half my credit card debt by the end of the year. I’ll continue to chip away at it at least.
I’ve tried giving myself spirtual goals before (say establish a daily meditation habit), but that’s always felt more of a mental health thing. I think next year I’m going to explore pagan/magic/druidary by practicing atleast 4 ceremonies that align with each 3 month interval of the year. I read a book yesterday on Australian Druidary and it’s inspired me to try it next year.
So in summary; I have 5 goals that touch all 5 elements of my well being:
Beat the overweight label
Release a mobile app
Start a podcast
Pay off half of my credit card debt
Practice 4 magic ceremonies
2020 should be a year of focus and vision (haha, get it?). What matters to you for the next year?
I’m turning 30 next week and I’m actually looking forward to it. A lot of people say, “life is all downhill after 21” but I reckon the next decade of my life is going to be pretty awesome.
Age is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a measure of how many revolutions around the sun you’ve survived on this planet since exploding out of your mother’s womb. And you haven’t died yet. Now that’s worth celebrating.
Reflecting on my 20’s
My 20’s were a tumultuous time of my life. There was uni, going on exchange to Sweden, moving in with a partner, getting kicked out of home, partially failing uni & falling into bout of chronic depression. Scrapping through uni, moving to Sydney and struggling to find a community. Not to mention credit card debt, weight loss surgery and a broken ankle. My 20’s saw me go through 1 bout of chronic depression, 4 bouts of minor depression, 4 relationships, 12 jobs and moving 18 times. That’s a lot of change and disruption.
Finances (All balances in AUD)
My finances aren’t great but at least they are moving in a good direction. In the spirit of being transparent; it’s all here bear for you:
Super balance: 47k
My super (retirement fund) is growing nicely. I’m lucky to have had the one superfund since I was 14 and it’s over twice that compared to the average male’s super my age (reference). I’m with Verve Super, I transitioned from TasPlan Super who I had been with for 15 years. Verve are a super fund run by women for women and only invest in ethically run companies that have some diversity on their boards. They are a new kid on the block and I’d highly recommend checking them out.
Credit card debt: 30k; I paid for my weigh loss surgery on the credit card and a few other things (like a holiday and moving). I’m not proud of this but I feel like it’s a pretty common thing for people my age to go through. I’ve blogged about my struggles with credit card debt before.
HECS Debt (University fee’s): 39k
Salary (annual): 120k + super; I’m super proud of myself and how I’ve been able to grow my career & salary. When I started work at 14, I was on $7.42 an hour, that had doubled by the time I was 18. When I moved to Sydney 5.5 years ago, my graduate salary was 55k. I’ve now seen my salary double again since then and I’ve now been a software tester for 7 years. This salary also doesn’t include the extra 10-15k I can make in a year with the part time side business stuff I do, though I’m planning on investing most of this side cash in growing my business.
I currently spend a minimum of $1050 a month on debts (the credit card debt + a motorbike loan), I only have 1 year left before I finish paying off the motorbike.
$210 per week. I recently moved into my own 2 bedroom apartment in Crows Nest. The total rent is $460 per week and I’ve got a house mate in the big room that I charge $250 per week for. I recently spent a total of 4k furnishing the apartment (mostly second hand furniture) and I’m proud of my interior decorating skills: Here’s the Shared Photo Album if you want to check it out.
Why would I expect my 30’s to be worse? I don’t plan on changing anything about my existing job, relationship or living arrangements for the foreseeable future.
I’m looking forward to more stability in life, getting on top of my credit card debt, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and having less depression. What isn’t there to look forward to?
I’m starting my goal setting early. I wrote this blog for goal setting for 2018. On reflection; I haven’t slipped back into obesity at least, which I was super concerned about as I spent the first six months of 2018 recovering from a broken ankle. Here’s my thinking behind my goal setting for 2019 and why I’m starting early.
Brainstorm everything I want to do
As an exercise, I listed everything I want to do and then asked myself, What do I have time to do? What is more important? What aligns the most with my personal values? I’ve had to eliminate a lot of extra curricular ideas and I still feel like I have a lot on my plate 🙁 .
I then came up with the following list of things that are really important to me. They are themed around personal, career, family and financial goals:
Beat the overweight label (personal)
Maintain a daily meditation practice
Write a book (career)
Teach my Nan digital marketing (career and family)
Launch an app
Pay off half of my credit card debt (financial)
Speak at one international conference and take my Mum
Brew two whole grain beers
Keep Sydney Testers going
Create enough content to run a 3 day workshop
Why start the goal setting early?
I’m going to focus on developing my morning habit for the rest of this year. I’m going to get up early, meditate and write before heading off to work. If I can do this for the rest of the year, I’ll be in a good place to expand it come 2019. The green in the following table is this minimum commitment:
I’ve put together an idea of what my ideal morning and ideal week looks like. If I do not put aside time to do things that are important to me, it’ll never get done. I reflected on what I could squeeze in. Unfortunately things like studying Japanese just don’t fit in financially and time wise. So here’s my ideal week to work towards in 2019:
There are some goals that I haven’t put aside any weekly or morning time for but they can’t easily be chipped away with a daily/weekly habit.
Keep goals measurable but hard to achieve
Everyone seems to be talking about Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for goal setting these days. One of the important things with OKRs is that they are hard to achieve. When you reflect back on your goals you should be able to say you hit up to 80% of your objective. If you hit 100% you actually set your goals to easy. For example, I’m going to work towards beating the overweight label but I’m not going to consider myself a failure if I only get halfway there. By listing up my ideal morning/week it gives me an ideal to work towards but by highlighting my minimum commitments I won’t beat myself up if I have a bad week or two.
There’s no point in setting vague goals that you don’t tell anyone about. To ensure external accountability with my goals I’m going to;
Pay for a personal trainer for a twice a week weight lifting session
Go climbing with my partner every Wednesday and Saturday
Pay for a publisher’s time to help keep me focused on writing
How will you go about goal setting for next year? What measures will you take to ensure accountability? Please let me know.