STARWEST 2020 Concurrent Session : Feeling the Fuzzies - The Liberal Arts in Testing


Thursday, October 8, 2020 - 2:15pm to 3:15pm

Feeling the Fuzzies - The Liberal Arts in Testing

In the 2016-17 academic year, the most common degree conferred to graduating students in the US fell under the category of “Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities.” These 389,000 new graduates, affectionately called “fuzzies” in some circles, have ventured into the job market, many of them into the technology industry. And like their skeptical relatives during the holidays, they are finding similar questions when applying for employment: What are your “technical” qualifications? What skills does a liberal arts major bring to the table in tech? Humanities - that means you're a good writer, right? In this talk Alissa Lydon, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Sauce Labs, and recipient of two Humanities degrees, shares her own experience navigating her journey as a fuzzy in the testing industry. She will explore the unique abilities fuzzies possess, common myths about their shortcomings, and how they add value to technical teams. She will also bring in real data pointing to worldwide education trends, how they are threatening the existence of the liberal arts, and why that is problematic for the tech industry as a whole. Finally, Alissa will conclude with practical advice from her own experiences on how fuzzies and techies alike can work together to ensure that diversity of thought is preserved in an increasingly automated world.

Alissa Lydon
Sauce Labs

Alissa Lydon is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Sauce Labs. With 6 years in the testing industry, she has worked with companies of all sizes in their journey to automation and continuous testing. From educating people about the benefits of test automation, to organizing educational events for QA and development teams to learn more about industry best practices, her goal is to use her experiences to spread the word about how others can succeed with testing. Outside of work, you can find her reading all kinds of books, traveling to faraway lands with her family, or catching a baseball game (Go A’s!).