A Comprehensive Full Stack Testing Strategy with Node.js: An Interview with Stacy Kirk

[interview]
Summary:

In this interview, software agile coach Stacy Kirk explains the reasons for the increasing popularity of Node.js, what full stack testing means, and why Node.js can make it easier. Stacy discusses the best testing practices, processes, and modules to develop Node.js applications.

Jennifer Bonine: We are back for another virtual interview. We're here with Stacy. Stacy, thanks for joining me today.

Stacy Kirk: It's a pleasure. Thank you.

Jennifer Bonine: For folks out there watching, maybe give a little bit on your background, and I'd love to hear how you got into QA.

Stacy Kirk: Sure. From an early age, I loved coding and I thought I was going to be a software developer. I went to school for computer science. I had the opportunity to do an internship in QA for Remedy Corporation. I fell in love with it. I loved the idea of being able to look at a product and identify how we can make it better. I thought I could use my experience as a developer to really innovate on how QA was doing because even at that point, they gave me a stack of test cases that was this high printed out. I ran through it one time and was like, "You know what? I've got to figure out a way that I don't have to run through that again." I've spent my career—that was twenty years ago—I spent my career really figuring out how can we do QA in the most innovative ways possible? Every product, every company that I've worked with we have created tools, automation. I probably used every tool known to man. I just love that QA really gives a product its life and its beauty and it's perspective. That's been my joy.

Jennifer Bonine: That is so interesting. It's funny, I was talking to someone else the other day and he did exactly the same thing. It was, he had this stack of work to do and he's like, "Oh, it's all manual and I'm running through it." He's like, "Okay, I'm not doing that again." On his own without anyone prodding or poking him to do it, said, "Hey, how do I make this more efficient?" And he automated it. It was really interesting, the company he was working for was like, "Oh, that's great." He literally automated it and it took him half an hour, whatever once he was done automating to run his stuff. It was really short. Now he had all this time and they're like, "Okay, well, in a couple hours or in a couple days we'll give you some more work." Because they're not sure how to handle that yet. I think organizations who get used to and comfortable with the idea of we should try and get more efficient. If we can embrace that. Embrace people that are open to trying new things and new ways of doing things.

I know you had a session here on full stack testing. With transferring to the digital era and having all of these digital media platforms that we need to be operating on. What are you seeing as some advantages and how to get started if people aren't already? Which they may be but if they're not, how do we get started with full stack testing and thinking about that?

Stacy Kirk: I started using the word full stack testing because I have a lot of friends that are full stack developers. They started as front-end developers with JavaScript. Node.js has allowed them to now use their JavaScript for backend development as well. They've become full stack and I have always enjoyed being a backend tester. I like the database, the APIs, I didn't really so much enjoy doing the front end. I said, "Wow, now there's an opportunity for not just me but my peers in QA to get an opportunity full stack." They can do exactly what my front end developers have done and test at every different level and be able to do that because the tools in the open source community has grown so much. That it allows them now to not only create end to end UI front end automation tests but you can now do API testing. You can do performance testing and you can get your hands dirty in the database. It's as simple as it was for my front-end developers to become full stack.

My conversation in my presentation yesterday was just about, listen we now can call ourselves full stack, too. We don't just have to be on the front end. Embrace it, enjoy it. It's just a new way to increase your experience and your skill set as well.

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