Beyond DevOps Borders: QSConf’s Journey from Uruguay to Chile with Federico Toledo

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Federico Toledo TestGuild DevOps Toolchain

About this DevOps Toolchain Episode:

Welcome to a special episode of the DevOps Toolchain podcast! We are thrilled to announce the upcoming Quality Sense Conference in Chile in today's show. This annual event brings together the testing and quality software community in Latin America for two days of inspiring talks by top international leaders. What sets this conference apart is its focus on functional automation, performance, and other DevOps-related topics essential for creating robust and reliable software.

Federico Toledo, the co-founder of Abstracta, a company dedicated to simplifying software testing tasks and providing test services, is joining us on the show. With his extensive experience and background in computer science, Federico is an expert in functional automation and performance testing. He is also the co-founder of Abstracta Academy and a key contributor to the Newhall Project, a nonprofit organization for social inclusion through education and software testing.

Federico will be sharing all the details about the Quality Sense Conference, including its history, the incredible lineup of speakers, and why it's such a unique and valuable event for the Latin American testing community. He'll also discuss Latin America's growing potential and untapped talent and how Agile methodologies have significantly influenced its growth.

This episode is a must-listen if you want to learn more about DevOps, performance testing, and the exciting Quality Sense Conference. So, buckle up and prepare for an enlightening conversation with Federico Toledo. Let's dive in!

Register for the Quality Sense Conference now:

https://links.testguild.com/qreg

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About Federico Toledo

Federico Toledo

In 2008, Federico co-founded Abstracta (www.abstracta.us), a company that is dedicated to providing testing services and creating development tools that help simplify software testing tasks.

Federico holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the School of Computer UCLM, in Spain, and he completed his undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering at the University of the Republic in Uruguay.

Since he started testing in 2005, he has participated in functional, automated and performance testing projects as an analyst, tester and project leader. He co-founded Abstracta Academy and Apptim (formerly, Monkop).

In 2014, he published the first testing book entirely in Spanish called “Introduction to Information Systems Testing”. He co-founded and collaborates in the Nahual project (www.nahual.uy), a non-profit organization for social inclusion through an education in software testing, and TestingUY (www.testinguy.org), the biggest testing conference in Latin America.

In 2019 he moved to California, USA, with his wife who is a researcher at UC Berkeley.

In 2021 Federico graduated from the Stanford + LBAN SLEI, a 10-week program dedicated to Latino Entrepreneurs focused on how to scale their business.

In 2022 he moved back to Uruguay and started in a new position as a Chief Quality Officer.

Connect with Federico Toledo

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[00:00:01] Get ready to discover some of the most actionable DevOps techniques and tooling, including performance and reliability for some of the world's smartest engineers. Hey, I'm Joe Colantonio, host of the DevOps Toolchain podcast. And my goal is to help you create DevOps toolchain awesomeness.

[00:00:19] Joe Colantonio Hey, it's Joe, and welcome to another episode of the Test Guild DevOps Toolchain Podcast. Today, we'll be talking with Federico Toledo all about The Upcoming Quality Sense Conference taking place on November 9th to the 10th that will be taking place in Chile. And I think there's a virtual part as well. That's what we're going to learn about. It's an annual event for testing in the quality software community in Latam to continually grow in feature talks by top-tier international leaders. I really love this event, one because I think it features more than just functional automation, but they covers performance and another type of DevOps type of talk, so you don't find that other a lot of other conferences and I'm really excited about that. And I'm really excited that Federico is going to be here to join us. He's the co-founder of Abstracta, a company that is dedicated to providing test services and creating development tools that help simplify software testing tasks. He also has a Ph.D. in computer science, a really smart guy, and has a lot of experience. He started testing, I think, in 2005, and he's participated in functional automation and performance testing projects as an endless tester and project lead. He also, as I mentioned, is the co-founder of Abstracta Academy and Apptim formerly Monkop. He has a lot of experience. He's been publishing things since 2014 and he has a book in Spanish called Introduction to Information System Testing. He also co-founded in Collaborated in the Newhall Project, a nonprofit organization for social inclusion through education and software testing and testing UI, the biggest testing conference in Latin America. So really excited to have him on the show. You don't want to miss it. Check it out.

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[00:02:52] Joe Colantonio Hey, Federico. Welcome back to the Guild.

[00:02:56] Federico Toledo Thank you, Joe. Excited to be here.

[00:02:58] Joe Colantonio Awesome to have you. So I thought before we dive in, is it in your bio that I missed or botched up that you want the guild to know more? A lot of times I messed up the intro, so anything that I missed?

[00:03:08] Federico Toledo No, not much. I spent some years I am from Uruguay, South America, I spent some years in Spain where I did my Ph.D. and also recently I spent some years in California. I had a great time over there and I had the chance to go to different conferences where, for example, I met you recently.

[00:03:30] Joe Colantonio Yeah, that was awesome. It was great to finally meet you in person. That was great. Great time.

[00:03:34] Federico Toledo Yeah, Finally.

[00:03:36] Joe Colantonio Cool. I always want to go to this event, but it always happens during a time that I'm always busy, so I've really missed out. This event happens every year. So maybe give a little background maybe of what quality sense conference is all about and where you really shine and why it's different maybe from other events people may have heard about or attended.

[00:03:56] Federico Toledo Yeah, sure. Well, this is going to be the second edition. The first time we did this event was last year and the main motivation to understand the history of the event. It's because we wanted to host the WOPR, the Workshop on Performance and Reliability that probably you heard about it, which is I think 2003 or something like that. And last year was the first time that we hosted the event in Latin America. So we wanted to bring professionals in the SRE and performance and DevOps to Uruguay to share their knowledge and everything. But the workshop is only for 20 people, so having Eric Proegler, Mark Tomlinson, and Almudena Vivanco. I don't know, Señor Performo, Leandro Melendez. So many great minds here in Uruguay only to speak in a group of 20 people was too little for that opportunity so we wanted to do in the same week another event which is open and free, accessible for everyone. And that was a way to take the chance to take the opportunity of having those people here and share their knowledge to the local community. Also, we just need to do events virtually, and this year we are doing something different. We are having one day with a fully virtual event. That's November 9th and another day only in person. The talks are going to be recorded, but it's only in-person and it's going to be in Santiago, Chile.

[00:05:39] Joe Colantonio Nice. Now, why is Santiago, Chile because it's different from where you had it last year or are you just moving around just to get exposure to different communities?

[00:05:48] Federico Toledo Yeah, exactly. Because one of the main motivations now is not only to bring people from other places of the world to share their knowledge here but also to showcase the talent and the experience and expertise that we have in Latin America to other countries and generate a sense of community around testing and quality in other countries. So our plan is this year in Chile, next year in Colombia, and probably in the following years going to be in Mexico and in the future maybe in the United States as well. Why not?

[00:06:25] Joe Colantonio Nice. Absolutely. So it's also an underserved community, I would think. Latin America, you have all this talent, but people may not be aware of it, so maybe can you talk about how big is the community and maybe is it underserved or is it underutilized, you think? There's a probably untapped potential that maybe companies listening may not be aware of.

[00:06:43] Federico Toledo Yeah, it's a growing community, of course. Our own software in general. Last week I was in Argentina for a conference, also a very popular conference, which is Nerdearla is a name. They are free. It's like an open-source community if you will. And they have 45,000 registered people, registered for the online event. That's a lot. And I think that talks about the size of the community. And the community is growing year after year. In our case, last year, it was the first time and it's only focused on quality. And we have more than 2000 attendees and we are hoping this year to have at least a double. Yeah, something particular about Latin American community, I think. Why is it growing? I think my vision is that it's related to the adoption of agile methodologies in the U.S, where it's the most important market and where most companies are right? Now, in the last 20 years, we value more live communication like to be at same time working with all the team together. This is why Latin America has a timezone which is beneficial to this type of collaboration. And this is why I believe it's growing more and more.

[00:08:11] Joe Colantonio Well, it's a great point a lot of people look to when they're working with testers. Maybe outside of the US it's on the other side of the world and then you have which is fine, but you get these communication things but you look you have an untapped almost resource of technical folks that are almost on the same time zone that it works out perfectly. Like I said, especially with Agile. That's a great point. So do you need to know Spanish though, to attend this event, or are the presentations done in Spanish? Is it done in both? How does that work out?

[00:08:41] Federico Toledo That's a great question. Actually, this is one of the things that we try to put a lot of focus on since the beginning as we are going to have speakers from North America, from United States, from Europe, from India, and also from Latam. It's important to have simultaneous translation for both languages. So if you don't speak Spanish, you will be able to listen to all the talks and enjoy them. So this is not a limitation for sure. Yeah.

[00:09:12] Joe Colantonio Very cool. So now you talk about WOPR a little bit, and that's what caught my attention originally. It's the performance aspect I think is missing from some events. So is that still going on? And you're going to have like a WOPR before and then. Or will it be performance DevOps type of sessions sprinkled in throughout the virtual and the on-site event?

[00:09:34] Federico Toledo The answer is yes to both questions because we are going to have a WOPR. But this year is going to be the first WOPR Latam, which is going to be only in Spanish. This workshop for 20 people is going to be the first time that is happening only in Spanish. And in the same week, we have the Quality Sense Conf. which also will have some talks about performance, DevOps, observability, and sort of related to other nonfunctional aspects like accessibility. There are a couple of talks about that topic, which is really important also.

[00:10:11] Joe Colantonio Awesome. Can you I guess highlight some of the speakers and maybe some things are sessions that they might be talking about?

[00:10:16] Federico Toledo Yeah, sure. I have the draft of the agenda here, for instance, from North America. Charlie Wells from Datadog is coming for the in-person event, he will be talking about the relationship between observability and quality, which I believe that especially now with a lot of applications using LLMs or artificial intelligence for testers, it's getting harder and harder to understand how to test a software in a black box approach. So observability can help us to understand more of what's happening right inside the application. So that's one of the topics. We will have also Diego Molina from the Selenium community showing how to leverage the power of AI in Selenium to improve the way we test and automate and learn about the applications we are testing. We will have Kristel Kruustuk from Testlio. She will talk about the purpose behind testing, Why we test? How to find purpose in our activities? We have Leandro Melendez again, talking about how to accelerate QA. He will be participating in the online event because it's the same week he's getting married.

[00:11:39] Joe Colantonio That's what I was going to just say. Well, boys, the marriage off? Because I saw his name listed like. I thought he said he wasn't talking, but his wife's already going to be upset with him. That's awesome.

[00:11:47] Federico Toledo Yeah. Lisandra Armas she will be talking about, she is one of the most important voices in Latin America, talking about accessibility. And she will be talking about how to shift left accessibility in our processes. Pato Miner is a very famous tester in the Latin community. He is known as The Free Range tester. He will be sharing a lot of his experience in testing ETR systems. Using Python in particular. Then we have different talks of different new voices as well because that's important also to open the door to new speakers. And we have other people with tons of experience. For example, Mark Tomlinson. He will be sharing his experience about performance, but in particular more related to what he calls Performacology or something like that, which is how to take into consideration the sustainability of the systems we develop, the resources, they use, the energy they consume, and how we can improve that by analyzing the performance. Andrew Knight, Automation Panda is also participating in the online event with his talk about open testing, how we can open source testing. Plus, Darrel Ferris, he will be talking about Mabl and test automation and artificial intelligence around that. There is another Uruguayan colleague sharing an open-source tool that he's preparing called TestCraft. He is Damian Pereira. He will be talking about how to create this type of software using ChatGPT under the hood in order to assist software testers in the generation of test ideas and test data. And we also have Brijesh Deb participating in a panel discussing how to navigate your first job as a tester and how to mentor testers. So there are very different topics. I really like to have this diversity of speakers and diversity in the topics we cover in order to try to pay attention to the different needs of the different people in their learning path.

[00:14:18] Joe Colantonio Excellent. What are your thoughts on testing and DevOps? This is the DevOps podcast that a lot of people don't realize Continuous testing is such a big part of DevOps and a lot of these topics sound like they would apply to anywhere in your toolchain, especially the performance you have some on observability, AI. Any thoughts on that?

[00:14:37] Federico Toledo Yeah, sure. I really believe that testing is an enabler of DevOps as a culture, right? Not DevOps as the engineers working on the pipeline to automate things. But DevOps as the culture which you want the different teams to be more connected and collaborate in a better way. So through testing, we start asking different questions in order to optimize the collaboration between the teams. And this is why we talk about shifting testing to the left performance, security, accessibility, everything. To start asking these types of questions earlier in the process. And also to their right and paying attention and getting feedback from the users. This is how we start talking about observability and all of that stuff. I even consider that the Canary releases are a way of doing testing because you deploy to a few users, friends, and family probably and you learn from them. But actually, this is your test and you analyze the result of these tests and according to the results, according to the verdict, you decide to promote the application to more and more users. And this is a way to learn about the quality of your product and make a decision about the product. And this is the definition of testing.

[00:16:07] Joe Colantonio Absolutely. I love that. A lot of people like to kind of tone equate the two, but I love how you put it. It's like an enabler. It's almost like agile. It's like a mindset that helps the team in general. So I love that. So you said that the on-site is free, so someone just flew over. They could just walk right on in and join the event.

[00:16:27] Federico Toledo Exactly. And this is also the most important part for us about helping to build communities. To make this space available for everyone. You just need to register in qualitysenseconf.com and the event is free if you want to watch it online or if you want to attend in person, the in-person event there are going to be 250 seats, so don't let the time pass. Right. But yeah, it's free.

[00:17:04] Joe Colantonio You did this last year as well as anything that you're improving on based on what you learned from last year that people that may have attended last year like, hey, you can expect this based on your feedback, we're going to be doing this or that.

[00:17:17] Federico Toledo Yeah, according to the feedback, we decided to include similar topics that were left last year, for example, accessibility,is one of them. But so we decided to divide the conference in two different days. Last year we did only one day with online transmission, and this year we are dividing the event into two days. One is only virtual, so we have the full experience for the people attending the event online and one day in person. So we focus on the experience in the site.

[00:17:56] Joe Colantonio How is Abstracta involved then? Are they the sponsor of the do you have speakers or how much are you all involved with the event?

[00:18:05] Federico Toledo We started with the event, we have some speakers, but again, for us, it's really important not to be a conference only from Abstracta where all the speakers or most of the speakers are from our team. This is why our speakers also participating in the conference speakers, they have to apply and we evaluated the proposals. So that's one important aspect is that like a conference that we organized, we tried to have sponsors in order to make it sustainable. But I think this is an investment that we do in time, effort, and money to help the community grow, help the people grow, and also showcase, as I said before, the talent we have in Latin America that can collaborate with the companies in Europe, in the States or all parts of the world. So this is our main involvement, like organizing the space for the community.

[00:19:06] Joe Colantonio Absolutely. So speaking of community, as any type of like community building activities and networking opportunities, if someone's going to fly it, like what can they expect to maybe get the most out of the event?

[00:19:17] Federico Toledo Yeah, for sure. There's going to be a welcome dinner for the speakers. There's going to be an after-party as well on the same day, Friday, November 10th. But also I really believe that these conferences are really good for not only for watching the talks. But also to take advantage during the coffee breaks to interact with the speakers or with other members of the community. And there are going to be different spaces for that I really believe that generation in these spaces is a good way to make the community grow. It's not only about what you provide. It's also about generating the space for them to connect, to know each other, to build synergies.

[00:20:03] Joe Colantonio Love it. Absolutely. So if someone is listening, they're like, I want to expand my reach into Latin America. Do you have any tips or things that maybe they may avoid, maybe like a dumb American may do, some that may or may not fly in Latin America? Or are there any ways to approach a test in Latin America to get the most out of the relationship? Both ways that's beneficial.

[00:20:26] Federico Toledo That's a really interesting question. I believe that communication is key and also the alignment in culture. So getting to know the people, if you can know the country a little bit, if you are focusing on Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, we are all different countries. We speak slightly different versions of Spanish. Brazil, they speak Portuguese, right? But in the rest of the countries, we speak Spanish, but it's not the same. My Spanish is very different from the Spanish from Spain, from Mexico, or from Peru. Learning a little bit of the particularities of that country will have to build a connection for us. Connecting with our coworkers is a really important part of our life. We don't divide like work and life like this with a wall in the middle. We try to make everything an integral part of our life. So that type of connection, paying attention to that type of connection will help in the motivation of the person. And if the person is really motivated, we'll be more engaged with the purpose of the company and with the rest of the team and will be more productive. If you want to focus on that aspect.

[00:21:49] Joe Colantonio Yeah. I didn't know about the dialect. I know with Italian. My mother, Southern Italy. I have a friend whose family grew up in Rome and they couldn't really understand each other when they spoke Italian because the dialects were so different. So I know that was the same with Spanish. I thought it was universal. That's good to know.

[00:22:04] Federico Toledo We have influences from different mixtures and actually in this region, Uruguay, when I say this, we have a lot of influence from the Italians who came here 100 years ago. So our Spanish has the same tone of an Italian person, right?

[00:22:23] Joe Colantonio I told you earlier that my grandfather emigrated to Brazil and they have like an Italian community there. And then they came to America and that was like around the turn of the century because they were really old. But yeah, that's why I want to visit so bad because I think that would be so cool. So if someone's listening and they're like, Oh, I want to support this event, I want to be a speaker at future events, what can they do to get involved maybe? But next year, do you have a plan for next year? Is it too soon to plan that far out?

[00:22:52] Federico Toledo We are really working in the next year's event with Mercedes Quintero, which is another speaker from Colombia. So we are organizing in Colombia the next event, the next edition. We don't have a date or anything in particular, but probably is going to be in November, October, or November, more or less. So if you want to be part of that event, pay attention to our social media or register to this event so we can send you information when we have more things to prepare if you want to participate also in the WOPR, that's a great opportunity to interact with other thought leaders, particular in the DevOps, SRE, Performance side of things in Latin America. This year we are focusing the theme of the WOPR this year is the State of the Practice of Performance Testing in Latin America, which is important because we typically consume mainly information about what people are doing in other parts of the world. I would like to show or share with the participants what we are doing here in the companies that are established in this region. But yeah, for sure, pay attention to Abstracta, Twitter LinkedIn and we typically share details of the conference and everything over there.

[00:24:22] Joe Colantonio Nice. If someone wants to attend this year's event what's the best way for them to get on board because it's happening soon as someone has taken advantage of it, where do they register for maybe online, and then how do they get involved if they want to visit and go to the on-site event?

[00:24:36] Federico Toledo Qualitysenseconf.com you can register there for both events for the online event you will receive the link to connect during the day and for the in-person event. You should book a hotel also in Santiago, Chile, and spend a few days in that beautiful city as well. So the important part is to be registered. Then it's free. You can attend, and you can enjoy the event.

[00:25:10] Joe Colantonio Awesome. We'll have all these links here in the show notes as well on how to attend and how to register for sure. Okay, Federico, before we go, is there one piece of actual advice you can give to someone to help them, maybe with their DevOps performance type automation testing efforts, and what's the best way to find or contact you directly?

[00:25:30] Federico Toledo Yeah, sure. I really appreciate all your support, Joe, for the conference. I think my piece of advice today is related to this. We can be learning, attending conferences watching videos on YouTube or doing bootcamps, but for personal and professional growth, in my experience in my career, what contributed the most was attending conferences and building connections. This is a perfect opportunity. Even more conferences, if it's more workshops are even better because you interact with a few people, but during more time, so you build a stronger connection. So attending to this type of event, there are many that are free or very cheap. Try to find those in person because they have a special addition of getting to know other people even better. And yeah, to contact me try to look is searching LinkedIn. I'm typically sharing content over there, Federico Toledo. You can find more information about our company Abstracta.us. We really like to organize this type of event to share what we learn in our journey, and I'm really hoping to connect with people. I love to continue the conversation about the event or about any DevOps or performance testing topic.

[00:27:06] For links of everything of value we covered in this DevOps Toolchain Show. Head in over to Testguild.com/p131. And while you're there make sure to click on the Smart Bear link and learn all about SmartBear's awesome solutions to give you the visibility you need to do the great software that's Smartbear.com. That's it for this episode of the DevOps toolchain show. I'm Joe, my mission is to help you succeed in creating an end-to-end full-stack DevOps toolchain awesomeness. As always, test everything and keep the good. Cheers.

[00:27:33] Hey, thanks again for listening. If you're not already part of our awesome community of 27,000 of the smartest testers, DevOps, and automation professionals in the world, we'd love to have you join the FAM at Testguild.com and if you're in the DevOps automation software testing space or you're a test tool provider and want to offer real-world value that can improve the skills or solve a problem for the Guild community. I love to hear from you head on over to testguild.info And let's make it happen.

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