Nithin is standing for election to the AST board 2023.
I’m Nithin SS, Head of QA at Lodgify. I have nearly a decade of experience in Software Engineering & 5 years of experience in strategic leadership and engineering management. I’ve built and led QA engineering teams at Fave and Astro. My experience spans various domains ranging from FinTech, Video Streaming, Marketplaces, Inventory Management, AI-driven content creation, Publishing & Networking etc. I’m incredibly passionate about coaching and leadership and immensely enjoy helping people achieve their goals.
I currently lead a team of QA’s and drive our engineering shift for delivering high-quality products. I’m responsible for empowering my team to excel and continuously learn to create the best product experience for our customers. I love building things well, so I’ve redesigned and built platforms and solutions from the ground up for many of the places I’ve worked to optimise the development workflows.
I am also the founder of Synapse QA, a global community for QA professionals striving to empower them to believe in themselves and share their knowledge and experience. I am a certified mentor at the Mentoring Club, helping individuals in their professional journey. As a mentor, I love to share my experience with everyone and exchange ideas, and I would be happy to connect and help people.
I enjoy photography, content creation, and reading books in my free time. Please find more about me here: https://bento.me/nithin
1. Please share your vision for the future of the AST, and how would you help to accomplish this vision in case you were part of the AST Board of Directors?
AST has played a prominent role in advocating the knowledge of testing craft across boundaries; the current board members have also played a significant role in shaping AST as a core association that truly promotes real skilled testing.
My vision for the future of AST would be expanding the wings of AST and taking the learning and awareness opportunities to the next level, more on the shift from an association to building a community around it. We have a great bunch of people as part of AST, but if we look at the engagement is very minimal(at least from my point of view); we need a re-brand on how we engage the members & thereby them spreading the message to the wider community. Just imagine the impact AST has made throughout the years with this “minimal” engagement or involvement from a community perspective and with a handful of active members; what would have been the real impact if we had many voices that could spread the message to many and those many to many, it would have moved us closer to our mission with more engagement and speed.
We already positioned ourselves as an association that helps testers to enrich their knowledge and practice what they learned. Now, it’s time to accelerate and move to the next stages with a transparent message, where more and more practitioners can actively contribute and promote the whole mission of AST. We should also be more clear on the ways we position AST; if we consider communities, there are many nowadays, but why should someone take membership in AST, what is the outcome of it, and how we support them to be better in the craft and overall what makes it different? And when it comes to engagement, these why’s, whats, and hows really matter; being a member of a community & being an “active” member of a community is way different, and what we need to build is an “active” community.
With the leaders we have, we could collectively achieve this vision with more community initiatives. Diversified learning pathways, more options for people to engage and participate, and expanding our BBST courses by making them more accessible and available.
I haven’t seen any other platform that promotes the value of Context Driven Testing and the knowledge around it; however, the spread or reach of that knowledge is limited now. I would like to explore the possibilities of leveraging the current offerings with enhanced learning options(more self-driven courses, in-platform quizzes, challenges etc.) and bring chapters in different regions identifying the right minds in those regions to embody the vision of AST to spread more awareness.
By being part of the board, I will create something that gives all the testers guts and the belief to dream big and put conviction behind our vision.
2. Is there an area where you feel AST is lacking in its role as a professional organization? If so, what would you suggest doing to begin to change that and increase the value to AST members and the testing community at large?
We are heading in the right direction; however, it’s going slowly in a fast world. Engagement is one of the key aspects which I want to point out. We have nearly ~500 members in our Slack channel to date, but if we look at our active engagement, it’s merely 10% of it. I feel like AST’s mission is not as widely spread as we expect it to be, and we can do a lot more by seeing our potential. We need more “active” people, as volunteers to keep it engaged and maybe focus more on “engagement” aspects. This engagement applies to our social media footprint also. I would suggest that we leverage or use social media’s full potential to expand the network for AST and bring more advocates who can champion our mission. We have a strong foundation; I suggest sharpening the base and building a few things on top of it. Having dedicated volunteers with a focus on certain areas would help us more, and also, a community spread across multiple regions will bring more engagement from a local chapter point of view.
Apart from CAST, we can organise testing watch parties(with a bunch of people leveraging our previous CAST contents), local meetups, and collaborations with other communities(I am aware of the grant we provide; we may consider promoting that more to get more chapter leaders for AST) and gamification in relation to BBST course aspects to encourage more people for the training, also on a platform point of view, we could even gamify based on leaderboards or something to keep our members engaged, more webinars, contents around context-driven testing in social media. I strongly feel that we lack the right content that shares about “real” testing; social media nowadays are spammed with content that spreads a dichotomy of practices and selling aspects. Having something that spreads or advocates the approaches and best practices that go away from usual spam and provide more value will be something that could help us get one step closer to our mission as an association. We have a really bright younger generation who are thrown amidst the misconceptions around testing. Helping them to see the real value of testing is something I would like to suggest for us to do and explore! So they are not left out in the ocean of knowledge and will have a sense of belonging & achievement together with us.
3. In what ways have you supported the mission of AST?
I have been a member of AST for more than a year now, I haven’t taken any courses personally, but I have learned a lot from a few great people who are active AST members, whom I look up to. And I have been following the amazing work of AST and the testing fraternity. It’s a fact that I haven’t supported the mission of AST directly; however, as a practitioner, I was trying my best to share what I learned from the people and our materials to a wider community and mostly young testers who start their journey, and a few who re-starts their journey after a break.
On the other hand, even though I have been on a different path till now, our missions had a common point that always made me connect with AST. I was doing more community activities, mentoring, and events to spread the knowledge of the testing craft with the community and strive to build a community that views testing from a whole different point of view. Since the beginning of my community journey, my whole vision has been to uplift testers and empower them to believe in themselves by understanding the real value of testing craft, and I am just 1% done now. From my personal experience, there were moments in my career when my profession as a tester was challenged, questioned and treated in a way that testing and testers are merely considered as a “cost centre” and seen as second-class software professionals who take testing as they don’t want to code, be analytical, to be on comfort zone etc etc! And it was the community who showed me the real value of testing & testers, and I want to spread that message to many out there who still see themselves as how others perceive them or being in a cocoon without knowing what testing is! Advocating more about testing views about testing and the science behind testing has always been closer to my heart, and I believe that’s what connects me with the mission of AST.