Seretta Gamba

Seretta Gamba: The easy things have been automated. Now we can do the really cool stuff!

It is time to get to know better the amazing women that are going to speak at DevExperience this year! So, today we are presenting you the amazing Seretta Gamba, Test Automation Consultant and Test Manager with 40 years experience in development and 15 years in test automation.

Let's get to know Seretta a little better from the interview that she gave for DevExperience and then we will tell you how you can meet Seretta in person!

DevExperience: What did you want to become when you were a child?

An archeologist, but then I realized that I would have to work with lots of spiders and skorpions...

DevExperience: What is the story of your begining in this field? How did you start working in this industry?

I studied physics, but at the time it was difficult for women to enter academia. Since for my diploma I had to do a lot of programming and I really liked it, I switched to programming.

DevExperience: How did things change from the begining of your career until now and how do you see the future in this field?

Well, when I started you could not study IT, it didn't exist. Programming was done with cards and computers were so fast that the operator, looking at a tiny window with numbers flashing, could say 'now it's adding, now it's multiplying...'
Now everything is more convenient and you can concentrate on the real problems and not only on trying to get something to work. I think this is where things are going, the easy things have been automated, now we can do the really cool stuff (Quantum Computers anybody?)

DevExperience: How was it like to be a woman in this field and what is your advice for women who still think that IT is for men?

I must admit that for me it never was a problem, or maybe I never noticed it. My parents have treated me and my brother exactly the same, so I was used to doing 'Boy-Stuff' from the very beginning. I never realized it should be different!
To young women I just say: Women can do just as well as men, so don't let yourself be put down just because somebody tells you that something is not for women: as an american would say, that's just baloney!

DevExperience: What do you know about Iași and Romania? Dont Google it! :)

About Iasi: nothing! That's why I'm so eager to come!
About Romania: I love romanian pan-flute music! I play the pan-flute from Bolivia and maybe I would like to buy a pan-flute or at least pan-flute music...

DevExperience: What is your advice for a junior who wants to develop a career in IT? What are the main lessons that you learned in your Career?

Main advice (and not only for IT careers): do something that you really enjoy! In this way you will like your job and therefore you'll be doing it well and so you'll also get the recognition that you deserve. Don't chose a job just because it pays well!
If you want to do IT, be sure to try it out: unfortunately not everybody has a knack for it. I have known people who desperately wanted to become programmers, but they were just hopeless. Maybe you'll be an excellent developer or an excellent tester, few people are both. For instance I believe I'm quite a good developer and test automator, but I would be only a second rate tester! I'm not observant enough (if a good tester would be Sherlock Holmes, I would be Watson)

DevExperience: What do you do for your both personal and professional development? How does a normal day looks like for you? What about a not so normal day?

First of all I read a lot (jokingly I use to say that I read everything from toilet paper upwards!) and all kinds of stuff, newspapers (german and american), Scientific American, books about testing (of course, especially about test automation), science fiction, fantasy...
Right now I'm working on the book about Test Automation Patterns that Dot and I want to publish (hopefully this year). Otherwise I play each day at least half an hour my pan-flute. I do things together with my husband. I play with the cat...
In not so normal days I'm traveling: I love to see new places or to visit friends (happily I have some all over the world)

DevExperience: What is the greatest part of your job? What is the not so great part of it?

Well, test automation is challenging, you never get bored! On the other hand sometimes some problems just don't want to go away. You should never give up!
The worst part is when you need some kind of support and you just don't get it, nobody has time, managers look the other way...

DevExperience: How would you explain to someone who knows nothing about technology what is it exactly that you do? :)

OK, I'll try.
You know what (software) testing is? You have some application and you want to find out if it works as it should. You do all kinds of things with it, until you're convinced that it's ok. When you find something that doesn't work as it should, you tell the developers to correct it. That's easy.
Now imagine that you're testing something (like for instance Word) that gets a new release all the time. Unfortunately (and I know as a developer) when you add new features you often also create new errors (the infamous bugs!) and so actually for every release you should test not only the new stuff, but also everything else. You can surely imagine how boring it is to test the same things again and again! And usually it's even less fun because you find no bugs! Enter Test Automation: there are tools that enable you to drive automatically your application, so that you don't have to do all those boring tests manually all the time. Of course it's not really so easy, but you get the idea..

DevExperience: Tell us more about the main ideas of your talk and your workshop at DevExperience! Why should people register and attend the event?

My talk is for experienced test automators, who have already encountered some of the usual automation problems. One of the difficulties in solving them is to explain to your boss why something, that he or she may have caused, is bad and has to be corrected. I want to describe those problems in a funny way, so that participants can later share with their managers the possible solutions. In this way they don't offend anybody (managers don't like it when you show them that they're wrong), but can effectively point out the problems and what to do about them.

Isn't she great? Yes, she is! And you can see her presentation live, in Iași, on 23rd of April 2018, if you register here and come to DevExperience QA track!