I am a software tester who wants to work freelance. How can I get projects online?

[This is Rosie combatting software testing crapness one action at a time.  You can do this too!]

Please forgive me for the title of the blog post. I have a particular bug bear about people asking how to freelance in software testing and then all this crap responses popping, mostly pointing to places that apparently advertise jobs or are an intermediary ‘bug finding’ service.  This question was posted on Quora and most of the answers to it were horrible, so I just had to rant! 

My answer is below:

I find all these responses depressing. Mostly everyone jumping to link to an apparent website that can provide work/opportunities. But no one is addressing the fact that to be a professional freelancer you should act professionally and treat yourself like a small/micro business. The only useful bits of freelance advice provided are also so generic too.

Freelancers are small businesses. So you need to think about how businesses normally find work. The best work is often/mostly not found on any of the sites listed. The best way to work as a freelancer is to have direct contact with your customers.

Why is no one mentioning reaching out to companies? To people, developers, designers?

Why is no one mentioning creating your own website? Or promoting yourself? Or writing about testing?

Why is no one mentioning to consider what kind of things they’d like to be testing? Or customers they would like to have? And then figuring out who to approach as a result.

Why is no one mentioning how testing as a freelancer may be different? And understanding what ‘testing’ things you would need to know as a freelancer to be successful.

TestBash Brighton Feedback

Just plonking this here with a bit of joy and pride. And because I don’t brag enough.  Some feedback from TestBash Brighton just gone.

I loved TestBash! I am trying to ‘get back to the floor’ and re- learn my test skills. Test Bash was brilliant to talk and hear about real testing again, away from the corporate bullshit and myth of metrics I have been dealing with for the last 10 years. I have been in testing for 20+ years now- but am more excited than ever in the discussions and community than ever.

Highrise goes back to 37Signals

It will be interesting, especially as a Highrise customer, to see what comes of Highrise going back under the banner of Basecamp.  Whilst I haven’t dug up their announcement from ‘selling’ Highrise, this announcement definitely feels different.  I don’t hold judgement in anyway, more an observation that we are all experimenting in the world of business and all too often it doesn’t go according to plan.

It is so hard to make all the things balance in business.  I just hope no one has been hurt too much.

Family Friendly Library

I hope to see more of this type of places popping up, in all areas of life.  Family friendly spaces are just not common enough!

On March 15, University of Toronto Libraries, in collaboration with the Family Care Office, opened a family study space at Robarts Library, the first of its kind in Canada.

Designed for current students, faculty members, visiting scholars, and staff at U of T with their children aged 12 years and under, the space is intended to foster equity, diversity, and inclusivity by addressing the unique needs of student parents.

Source: The Varsity

Unexpo – Maximising Community Feels

We did, perhaps a world first, unexpo at TestBash Brighton.  This write up by Sarah is wonderful and describes so many of the ‘community feels’ we got from the experience.  I really believe, with some tweaks and improvements we can expand on this idea and help make conferences what they should be about – learning AND connecting people. Hopefully now that people have an idea what an Unexpo is, it will become a bit easier to recruit people for the task.

We’ve done meetups, Lean Coffees, early morning runs, 99 second talks and now the Unexpos will hopefully become a regular event at some of our TestBashes.

The Software Testing Pyramid

I was trying to make sense of a software testing pyramid thing out there, and not that it was wrong, I just didn’t really identify with it.

So I came up with my own version. I posted it on Twitter and LinkedIn and got some interesting responses, both openly and via DMs.

I’ve also encouraged discussion about it over on The Club, not just about testing pyramid, but also in general posting different models/diagrams that may be out there.

The circles and colours are random. The layers are insignificant.  The triangle shape is probably irrelevant too. For me the idea behind it is that rather than trying to focus on a model that someone else has created, we should take a look at our own testing and focus on including only the tests that matter.

Maybe I’ll expand on the idea in the future.  For now, I present it here.

Resisting Those Social Media Urges

With all the privacy stuff going around, I thought it would be a good time for me to start making more effort into investing into my own social network of Rosie.

Social network of Rosie means my websites.  If you ever need to reach out, you can be sure to find me here on rosiesherry.com (a bit more professional focused) or on MessyTimes, personal and family focused.  I also have unschool.me which I’ve neglected and wish to turn into a bit of a longer term research project.

I’m not quitting social media.  For now am still very much active on Twitter.  And I am on Testing Slacks (Testers.chat and MoT one) that are out there too. I’m mostly avoiding posting anything to Facebook, though my Instagram photos get fed into there.  I will be checking FB for messages and I kind of rely on some Facebook groups for things.

I’d like to find a better solution to my photos, both backing them up and also sharing selected ones.  I will get there in time.

I use to blog and write much more, since social media has had a direct impact on that, I would like to change the habit.

So, for now, I will be doing my best to resist my urges to post to social media and instead try to post what I would normally post on one of my ‘web properties’.


Categories: Me

Becoming a mother as an identity shift

I think about this a lot and would love to research about it more.  We’re such a transactional society with little consideration for these ‘mother’ things.

For me there was definitely a difference before and after kids.  Yet, we don’t plan for that – emotionally or practically, society assumes we need to continue as always, yet everything is different.

“Dr. Stern showed that becoming a mother is an identity shift, and one of the most significant physical and psychological changes a woman will ever experience.

The process of becoming a mother, which anthropologists call “matrescence,” has been largely unexplored in the medical community. Instead of focusing on the woman’s identity transition, more research is focused on how the baby turns out. But a woman’s story, in addition to how her psychology impacts her parenting, is important to examine, too. Of course, this transition is also significant for fathers and partners, but women who go through the hormonal changes of pregnancy may have a specific neurobiological experience.”

From The Birth of a Mother on NY Times.

Pass The Piper

Last week we hosted an epic TestBash Brighton. For me it was followed by some Team MoT social and planning sessions. I’m only just able to start recovering somewhat from the whole experience. Yes, I get exhausted from it all too. I’m still scratching my head at how I, being so introverted, ended up running conferences for a living.

As MoT has grown, I’ve become much more confident in doing as I please, as I desire, or as I feel is right. Many, mostly women, will identify with the challenges I have faced in pushing my career and business forward. MoT has actually spawned from this discrimination I faced – the fact that when my eldest boys were little no one seemed to want to hire me. The recruiters all too often went silent as soon as they realised I had kids. So when no one would employ me, I chose my own path.

So now, I have MoT, which often now very feels like family. I also happen to have a new baby in the family, called Piper. She’s 4 months old. At that age my currently 14 yr old and eldest son had started going to a childminder. I had no plans for that this time around, but I had a conference to help organise.

What was I to do?

PassThePiper was my solution. I brought my baby Piper with me and awesome people of TestBash happily volunteered to entertain her at times.  Yay people of TestBash!



Piper goes with me everywhere. Quite literally everywhere, apart from of course, at TestBash Brighton when she was passed around, with such love and enthusiasm from the community.

Some of the time Piper was with me whilst I was watching the talks or chatting away. Other times she slept in her buggy whilst someone else from the MoT Team watched over her. And then other times she was literally passed around.

This experience was important for me for many reasons:

  • As a mother I want others to become comfortable with the idea of having kids around. Being at conferences doesn’t have to be all serious and talk doesn’t always have to be about testing.
    – As a mother, I want everyone to have the opportunity to show their support for women and issues of diversity.
  • As a mother, I literally have no choice. I exclusively breastfeed Piper ondemand at the moment. She either had to come with me or I had to miss out on TestBash. The other option was to try bottle feeding her, but that is not something I really want to do or risk putting my milk supply at risk for.
  • As a mother, I want to show others that we can do this stuff and there are others to support us and you.
  • As a mother, this is not an easy choice and not necessarily ideal. Piper is 4 months old, not moving, crawling or walking about and was generally easy to keep quiet. It would’ve been much harder to ‘contain her’ if she was just a few months older. I did wonder if it is it easier to bring kids or leave them at ‘home’?
  • As a mother, I see it as a first step. Perhaps in the future it will encourage others to join in or we can start providing a creche on the day.
  • As a mother, I would support others who want to do the same.

Would I do it again? Possibly. It really depends on the age of my child(ren). It was tough with Piper. I was physically exhausted from TestBash, I normally am. Having Piper really made it much harder and more tiring.

I got to see about half the talks on the days and got to see the people of TestBash, which was great. Would I do it next year when she is most likely a walking baby? Probably not. I would guess by that stage she won’t be in such need of me and my husband can easily step in.

Would an onsite creche be helpful for me next year? Quite possibly. Maybe I’ll look into that.

PS. No adults were harmed in Passing the Piper.

PPS. Thanks to Noah who tweeted in support of the effort 🙂