The Story of a Strange Seed – Helena Jeret-Mäe

The Story of a Strange Seed – Helena Jeret-Mäe

Imagine that you know nothing about software testing. Imagine you’ve been studying something completely different (say English language and literature). Now imagine someone asks you to start leading and building a testing team. What would you do?

The phrase “Would you want to build a testing team?” was unassumingly crucial for me. My affirmative answer sowed a strange seed to an unassuming ground. The seed survived, grew and I became passionate about testing. Who knew?

This talk is an experience report about how I came into testing and the lessons I learned while trying to become a professional tester. The talk will address the following:

  • How I connected with the testing community, how it sped up my development as a software tester, and what I did to make this happen
  • How I struggled with the impostor syndrome as a novice tester, how I finally acknowledged, addressed and somewhat overcame it (the battle is not over yet)
  • How I found ways to make use of my different background and apply my knowledge and skills from “earlier life” to software testing (for example, making use of skills for literary criticism)


Key takeaways:

  • Ideas for testers who haven’t engaged with the community very much, so they can become active and discover new opportunities for self-development as testers
  • Insights about how to support, mentor and coach novice testers from different walks of life who want to become testers
  • Examples of the power of reflection and introspection that help to make sense of one’s growth as a professional


About Helena

To her own great surprise, Helena Jeret-Mäe has become passionate about software testing after stumbling into it via technical writing. She has worked at testing medical practice management software, and has built and lead a testing team. She is currently Head of Testing at Nortal where she tries to figure out how to help testers do their best possible job. Helena loves to be part of the testing community because of the countless learning opportunities, so she can be found discussing testing in a pub with some testers, at testing conferences, or reading about testing in the corner of a café. Helena tweets as @HelenaJ_M and blogs at

Many thanks to Tellurium for enabling us to share these videos through their sponsorship.