STARWEST 2024 Concurrent Session : The QA Unicorn


Thursday, October 5, 2023 - 9:45am to 10:45am

The QA Unicorn

As a QA Manager, Stephanie McSwain has been on the lookout several times for automation engineers with a strong background in manual testing. But as it turns out, finding someone who fits that description is pretty difficult. There are plenty of people with coding skills, and that is awesome! However, manual software testing is like an art, and someone who is great at it is an incredibly valuable asset to any team. Even though manual testing requires a very different state of mind and skillset than writing automation code, manual testers are incredibly smart—and most of them are happy to learn coding. As a leader, one of the best things you can do for your company and your direct reports is to enable them, coach them, and lead them to develop new skills. It’s also one of the most rewarding things you can do in your own career! In this sessions, Stephanie will cover how to spot a good manual tester, searching for and hiring unicorns, and how you can cultivate a culture of learning and skill building on your QA team.


Stephanie McSwain got her start fresh out of college in manual testing at IBM. In her several years at IBM, she was encouraged to gain coding skills and learned Java and Javascript. This propelled Stephanie into a few backend developer positions, but she eventually madehery way back into testing by working as a QA Automation Engineer, building frameworks and writing test scripts. Stephanie finally found her true calling and moved into a QA manager role.