Zenzi Ali

Zenzi is standing for election to the AST board 2023.


In 2020 I was a people manager for a Y Combinator start-up. I started my career with the company in direct service and worked my way up. Quality and process were the two areas where I excelled within my role. I loved coaching and streamlining our workflow. I knew that I wanted to use my skills in a more technical role, but I wasn’t sure where I’d fit. 

In the middle of that year, I took the leap into tech by joining a full-stack JavaScript Boot Camp. Afterward, I earned a few software development internships, including a stint with The Collab Lab. My last apprenticeship was one for testing. That’s where I hit my stride in this industry! I switched gears and moved into QA. It was the best way to marry my enduring skills with the new technical skills that I had earned. My goal as a QA professional who is also a career changer is to continue to promote quality as a practice and to introduce more career changers to quality assurance as a craft.

I currently work for Clarity Innovations Inc. We are a small ed-tech consulting firm. This has allowed me to investigate many types of software including iOS and PWA apps,  mobile apps, and CMS apps built with Drupal. With each project comes varied QA needs. This has allowed me to explore many methods and learn continuously on the job. In my spare time, I enjoy reading about testing software and discussing the craft of software testing. I am also the host of a monthly meeting for testers, Quality Time.


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?

My vision for AST is one of increased use and activity. AST has an overwhelming library of materials at every price point. However, I rarely see folks using the wealth of information that our members have built. I’d like to find ways to promote the materials that we have on social media. I’d also like to partner with organizations with similar missions that are not in conflict with our standards and objectives. The goal is to grow the software testing community and we should unite to do this effectively. I’d also like to speak with the team about how our YouTube and website are organized. When I search for information on QA coursework or specific QA methods, AST is rarely in my search results. I’d like to discuss ways to change that and use the materials we already have to build a more consistent following.

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?

There are two areas that I feel AST could improve in. The first is in community involvement. Our Slack channel is pretty quiet and folks don’t seem to participate often. I’d like to take the time to examine alternatives. Maybe Slack will never be the correct place for software testers to meet. I’d like to gauge interest in other ways to promote participation, volunteerism, and software testing discussions. I’d like to start small using LinkedIn and perhaps building something there.
My second improvement would involve event and workshop price points. If other companies are like my own, the budget for professional development is extremely limited. It’s difficult to get corporations to invest in software testing workshops and events. Right now, AST has workshops that are between $300 – $500. They also have an annual meeting that costs more than the average QA professional development budget, in my opinion. Could we experiment with smaller workshops that are under $100? Is there a way to break up the current courses into smaller modules that folks could afford to take on their own in bite-size pieces?

3. In what ways have you supported the mission of AST?

I’ve supported the mission of AST by recommending our library of courses and talks often. I am currently nearing the end of my term as QA Tech Lead for Women Who Code. There, one of my favorite things to do is provide resources for members to improve their testing skills. The AST foundation course is one I often recommend as an alternative to the well-known certifications that are on the market.
Next month, our group’s goal is to increase the technical confidence of our QA practitioners. I will continue to uphold AST’s mission by demoing test Frameworks and having weekly discussions on the technical portion of our roles as software testers. I’ve also made attempts to increase the activity in AST’s Slack channel. I hosted a book club which was fun for me. I learned a lot but I don’t know if others had the bandwidth to participate fully. This also might be a fun project to re-introduce in 2024 using LinkedIn or Twitter.