My momentous 2018

I saw a few reflections by others on their 2018 year and I loved reading what they’d learned and reflected on. Not all good, not all bad, but so insightful to me.

This inspired me to write my own, more as a record for myself but hopefully insightful to others too.

Background, 2017:

  • For the first half of 2017 I felt quite defeated about my future in my personal and career lives. My long term relationship had just ended, I gained weight and became quite pudgy and hated the sight of myself in mirrors, and I felt trapped in a career rut.
  • Imagine my delight when I was contacted by a Spotify recruiter and after several Skype/Google Hangouts interviews with her in London and the team in New York, in May 2017 was flown out to New York for final interviews and offered the job! But devastatingly had to turn down their offer when the complications of my recent break-up prevented me from international relocation.
Beautiful, cosmopolitan New York
  • Btw — I LOVE New York and vow to return.
  • Instead, in June 2017, I took a chance on my new boss (shout out to Siebert) in my existing employment, who gave me a new role and promotion, a raise, and the perfect balance between freedom and guidance and support to make a roaring success of my new role as Lead QA for a line of business in the company.
  • The next 12 months turned out to be one of the most enjoyable years of my working life — again, the balance between freedom, guidance and support really worked for me.
  • My tech coach (David) Lutzy and my work sounding board/mentor Mike Rowe were two other highlights of my 2017, between them selflessly contributing weekly infrastructure/AWS 1:1 coaching and fortnightly mentoring to me.
  • Mike landed me a 3-month secondment in the Platform and Architecture team, which made me deliriously happy. Sadly I couldn’t get a job in this team but vowed to keep trying. Keep reading…
  • With Lutzy’s 18-months coaching (and a lot of extra homework on my part) my credibility and confidence improved in the infra space and in Dec 2016/Jan 2017 I became a co-organiser of DevOps Girls and helped organise and host our first free full day bootcamp on intro to AWS in Jan 2017. We hosted a few after that, and intend to do some more.
  • Thanks to this article, I was ‘discovered’ by the editor of Tech Target’s DevOps Agenda and agreed to write for them too. Since then, I have written more for them and for other Tech Target channels.
  • I boldly bought a web domain in my own name, and with my increasing sysops skills, created my own website and hosted it and my growing portfolio of speaking and writing gigs, here:
  • I’d stopped playing competitive ice hockey, partly due to several impact injuries after colliding with men larger than myself, my increasing age (slower recovery and more migraines, especially in tournaments of several games) and partly because some beer league (friendly) hockey was not actually friendly when egos and immaturity collided.

What happened in 2018:

  • I finally had a boss who actively supported my long-time yearning to formally ‘break into’ networking and infrastructure (another shout-out to Siebert) and I was no longer pigeonholed into outdated expectations of QAs.
  • In January 2018 my boss paid for and I took annual leave to do 2-full days per week over 7 weeks of intensive Cisco CCNA Part 2 (ICND1) training, a prerequisite for the 2-year diploma I wanted to do. I completed the course after A LOT of hard work and was admitted to the diploma.
  • In March I started the diploma as a part time student (it’s a 1-year full time course, 2 -years part time) but because there are no evening classes, I worked out a fantastic flex schedule with my employer (another shout-out to Siebert) and for the duration of the course may attend 1 class per week during the day, while working from home the rest of the day.
  • In the name of transparency: Imagine my disappointment when I learned that our exposure to Linux would be minimal on this course but instead we were being trained to be pseudo helpdesk staff by learning inordinately much Microsoft Server 2012. Oy vey! I have now completed 2 of 4 semesters and still I persist for the wholesomeness that this course is giving me in perspective, and the foundation that it is giving me to continue learning beyond the course. And secretly I still hope that 2019 is more Linux CLI and less Microsoft UI.
  • Due to the popularity of my articles, in early 2018 I accepted an invitation to join DevOps Agenda’s Advisory Board.
  • The two major highlights of 2018 were 1) speaking at the famed and most awesome DevOps Days (pinch me!) and also my first international talk, and 2) finally making it to the Platform and Architecture team (woot!).
  • Firstly: the transfer into Platform and Architecture. When the first Developer Advocate role opened up in our company to support our growing internal platform, I applied, went through the 3 intense interviews, and landed the job! Thank you Javier for taking a chance on me. This started in June 2018 and remains a work in progress while I sort out my head and approach on several priorities, tools & platforms, multiple balls in the air, hiring our first Tech Writer and starting our Tech Writing practice, and hoping to still learn the technical ins and outs of the tools I support.
DevOps Days NZ 2018
  • Secondly: speaking at DevOps Days. When I saw that DevOps Days NZ were asking for CFPs, I proposed a talk and to my delight, was accepted. For me, DevOps Days is the ‘mothership conference’ of DevOps (as founded by Patrick Debois), and the one which had the least amount of vendor pitches, best pricing and the most wisdom. On 5–6 November in Wellington the conference took place, I made some lifelong friends and I delivered my talk about T-Shaped QAs in the DevOps world. I had previously blogged about it too, a topic I’m clearly quite passionate about. Thank you for having me DevOps Days NZ, I love you all.
  • Personal growth: learned to run 5K through a coached 10-week course with personal trainer and other running noobs — resulting in running my first 5K at the Melbourne Marathon in October. I still don’t love running but don’t hate it anymore and will continue to train, then run a better 5K and maybe my first 10K in 2019.
  • In the second half of 2018 I lost some of the weight I’d gained the preceding 2 years, mostly through improved eating habits; and despite a setback over the recent holiday season, intend to lose the rest in 2019.
  • I played my first ice hockey in a year when I joined the women-only beginners-friendly training camp from Oct 2018 to Mar 2019. Beginner ice hockey is so friendly and so forgiving, and girls at this level are so good with each other with little to no ego.
  • “On the side” I currently also mentor two Women In Tech at my employer, with a request by another to mentor her too in 2019.

DevOps Girls: (mostly also, “on the side”)
  • Franca joined us as co-organiser and she hosted a few meetups, one of which was a badass lightning talks evening at Envato.
  • DevOps Girls also attended Container Camp thanks to their community sponsorship.
  • Javier started talking to other companies like News Corp in Sydney, about expanding DevOps Girls into a new city.
  • Javier and I separately helped organise a few ‘train with us’ sessions where DevOps Girls attended internal training at REA Group and Seek.
  • In July I spoke at UniHack about DevOps Girls and encouraged the uni students to partake in our programs.
  • Our friends Luke CK and Cos helped organise the first DevOps Girls in China!
  • We become formal partners of and MST and so kicked off our first public speaking workshop where, over 4 months, I coached 5 women on their public speaking debuts at TConf in November 2018.

What I hope to do in 2019:

  • Complete my Diploma of Networking
  • Do at least 1 more personal growth short course: either another language (more German, or starting Spanish), possibly again adult ballet, learning to sketch, learning to use Photoshop or Illustrator, editing, writing or maybe even other dance lessons
  • Stop dabbling with and gain significant Python literacy & fluency
  • AWS Solutions Architect certification
  • Visit another country, possibly Iceland? (or maybe in 2020) or maybe New Zealand again, this time to see the fjords
  • Return to a weight that works for me; run another 5K and/or maybe a 10K; look after my health in general
Women’s hockey can be so friendly (I’m in red — extra happy as we won the friendly tournament)
  • Play more friendly ice hockey
  • Gain greater and deeper understanding of tools and platforms of the Platform and Architecture team — I want to be the spokesperson and expert who can really walk the talk
  • Support both DevOps Girls and TConf in sustainable and helpful ways, including more public speaking opportunities and workshops (likely running at Seek next)

Here’s to calmness, sustainability, and personal and career happiness in 2019!




QA Practice Lead | Dev Advocate 🥑. Who loves #lean #agility #devops #QAOPS #devrel. Speaker. Writer. @devopsgirls. “Mature” ice hockey player. INTJ.

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Theresa Neate

Theresa Neate

QA Practice Lead | Dev Advocate 🥑. Who loves #lean #agility #devops #QAOPS #devrel. Speaker. Writer. @devopsgirls. “Mature” ice hockey player. INTJ.

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