Quest for Quality: Reinventing quality assurance in the era of machines

2 Apr 2018

Nikola Šopar, director of QA services, Comtrade Digital Services. Image: Comtrade

Quest for Quality returns to Dublin in October 2018 and Comtrade’s director of QA services wants to hear from experts with ideas on how to shape the future of quality and testing.

For the second time, Comtrade Digital Services’ two-day conference on quality assurance (QA) and software testing will be hosted in Dublin, welcoming thought leaders, experienced practitioners and QA experts to discuss agility, artificial intelligence (AI), test automation, blockchain technology, edge computing and much more.

Nikola Šopar, director of QA services at Comtrade Digital Services, answered some questions on the event and let us know why experts and potential speakers should get in touch right now.

‘In the new IT era of big data, IoT and blockchain, it’s important to look at how our understanding of quality assurance has evolved. The era of machines is already here and the role of QA in such times is crucial’

Tell us about Q4Q and what this event brings to the busy tech calendar.

Quest for Quality is an annual software testing conference, which has been running since 2016. Last year, the event took place in Dublin and was a huge success, with more than 150 high-level software testing professionals from across Europe exploring the obstacles facing quality assurance in the IT industry within the area of digital transformation.

This year, it will be returning to Dublin – to the Marker Hotel on 3 and 4 October – and will bring together professionals from various business domains to explore the challenges and opportunities around reinventing quality assurance for the new IT era. From blockchain technology to artificial intelligence, a wide variety of areas will be covered.

This is not just another typical testing conference. It offers fantastic networking opportunities, mixed with inspiring speeches and insightful workshops, as well as discussions about how to innovate and make business better. Current quality assurance and software development practices will be challenged and incoming paradigms examined – including what changes they may bring, how big their impact may be and whether businesses should follow, lead or wait.

What does the theme ‘reinventing quality assurance for the new IT era’ mean to you?

From the PC in the ’90s to the internet in the ’00s to the mobile apps people use today, every new paradigm has brought new challenges and thus new approaches, answers and solutions. In the new IT era of big data, the internet of things (IoT) and blockchain, it’s important to look at how our understanding of quality assurance has evolved. The era of machines is already here and the role of QA in such times is crucial.

Quest for Quality will explore the intricacies of this theme, asking how we can effectively, reliably and securely test the technologies needed to help us survive in today’s ocean of information. The event also will address how we can use these new technologies and applications in testing and QA activities.

How has the world of software testing changed in the past 10 or even five years?

Today, we are operating with amounts of data on a completely different level than we were 10 years ago and software testing has undergone a corresponding significant change. In that time period, for example, we have seen the explosion of mobile devices and mobile applications. Consequently, a whole new discipline has evolved from this – mobile application testing – with a range of new tools, businesses and industries.

We expect to see similar grand changes in the machine era over the next decade, with new approaches, methodologies, disciplines and, of course, new business opportunities emerging. Alongside this, the perception of the role of QA will continue to change. The pressures on business leaders to balance market drivers, quality, security and safety will elevate the importance attached to the advice of QA professionals, and this renewed focus will ultimately benefit the industry as a whole.

This is what makes this area so exciting. It is constantly developing, with the aim being to progress and facilitate cutting-edge technology development and roll-out. The world of software testing has changed dramatically and now we have to understand where it will go next.

How can teams stay on top of this ever-evolving industry?

Adopting a positive mindset is essential to surviving in the evolving software testing industry. IT professionals and teams should always challenge existing approaches and seek to improve, build upon or even reinvent tools and practices. The leaders in this industry must not only demonstrate vision and creativity, but also share, communicate and discuss these ideas.

This is why Quest for Quality plays such an important role; connecting and building communities around an idea is a proven method of speeding things up, from conception to implementation. As the world becomes more complex and fast-moving in the next decade, interdisciplinary communities, such as at Quest for Quality, will become even more important in interpreting and advancing change.

‘The world of software testing has changed dramatically and now we have to understand where it will go next’

Quest for Quality Call for Papers

Q4Q is still calling for speakers and paper submissions – what pressing topics do you want to see tackled at the event?

We know that the world of software testing is already changing and we are simply calling for experts from all fields to present their vision and ideas on the future of quality and testing. There is no imposition or strict guidelines for potential contributors to follow. When predicting the future, ambiguity, fuzziness and the unfamiliar are the norm.

We welcome thoughts on the evolving role of QA, the impact of AI and machine learning on QA, the challenges of decentralised applications like blockchain and much more. Candidates for speaking slots can find out more information and submit their applications via the Quest for Quality website.

What people, products or companies do you hold up as QA idols? What of their practices do you admire?

Personally, I’ve been assessing or working with companies across Europe for the past 20 years. While there have been examples of particularly inspiring QA processes, what’s most encouraging and admirable is the general openness and willingness to embrace the change and innovation that will lead to a sustainable future.

During the 25 years that Comtrade Digital Services has been in business, we have been constantly evolving and innovating, which is essential in this industry. That’s why we consider ourselves as leaders in ensuring and upholding the quality of the technologies driving digital transformation.

When it comes to quality assurance idols, I look to my family. My kids keep me in the loop in relation to how new generations are thinking and what lies ahead, while my parents remind me of where we have been and what we have learned. I believe that this collaborative practice, which combines youth and energy with experience and wisdom, is the most positive, progressive and productive approach.

Visit the Quest for Quality website to submit your paper and apply to speak at Quest for Quality 2018. Pre-registration for the event is also available now.