Chris Joins The Team

I'm Chris Dickens, and as Greg mentioned the other day I'm another Software Test Engineer (STE) at Microsoft. I've had a personal blog for a little more then a year now (it's mostly about movies and other entertainment stuff - shameless plug: I wasn't as interested in writing a Microsoft blog, but when I saw Greg's STE blog I thought it was a great idea and I wanted in.

My story: I have a computer science degree from Cal Poly. During my last summer I interned with Microsoft and then moved up here for full time work after I graduated in June 2001. During my internship I worked on the Remote Install System in Windows Server, then my first full time job was in Windows Hardware Quality Labs. After a year and a half there I switched to the Visio team and helped ship Visio 2003. Now I'm working on the next version of Office. Is it obvious that I like to move around and challenge myself by working on new things?

I also work with college recruiting a lot. My favorite thing to do when I'm out talking to students is evangelize testing. A lot of people think you become a tester if you're not good enough to be a developer. But that's absolutely not the case at Microsoft. Testing requires specific skills and aptitudes that are different then development (or program management or other software jobs.) I'm sure I'll talk more about this in the future.

The key is I'm a tester because I like testing. I like working for Microsoft because we take testing seriously here, it's a real career.

Greg and I will be talking about what we feel being in test is all about. My goal is not only to get more people interested in testing, but I feel like Microsoft has a world class test organization (I know there's lots of easy jokes to make about that, but it's true) and hopefully we can help the industry improve the way it looks at testing. The software industry continually stuggles with reliability issues and the answer to that is improving the quality of all software, not just the stuff we make in Redmond.

I'm open to all kinds of questions. So if there's anything you want to know ask away.