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Performance testing from a woman’s perspective

SilviaS ‎03-08-2013 11:09 AM - edited ‎09-24-2015 01:48 PM

For all dear women: Happy International Women’s day!

Today is a special day for all women! It is the Women’s international day celebrated across the globe! It is YOUR day!


Guys, please take the time to acknowledge all women that are part of your life today!  This includes your wife, girlfriend, your co-workers, sisters and friends. I am sure they will appreciate the acknowledgement.


To celebrate the day I want you to “meet” a great performance engineer; who inspires other women that are currently working in this area or are planning to become a performance engineer.


I would like to introduce Megan Shelton. She has a deep passion for performance testing and performance management, and has been working as a Performance Engineer for 10 years.  


She has presented at HP Discover and two days ago she delivered a great webinar with her co-workers. Feel free to watch her webinar here. She understands the ins and outs of performance testing and is always looking to share her experience with others!


She really has a passion for her job and strives to keep her team up to date with new technologies and new ways to be successful on their projects.  


She spends most of her spare time with her husband, Gary, their two sons and two step-daughters.  They love competition and spend lots of time playing/watching sports, enjoying the outdoors and playing video games.  

I interviewed her and would like to share it with you today:  


How did you get started in the performance testing area?  What are the topic activities that you enjoy doing within performance testing?
I have a CIS degree and graduated with honnors from DeVry University.  I anticipated becoming a programmer however, seeing the team dynamic during an interview with a Performance Engineering team I accepted their offer and immediately was hooked.  After 10 years of working with the same team, I can honestly say I love my job!  Being a Performance Engineer presents new challenges on a daily basis.  Whether it is a new piece of infrastructure or a new application, there is always something you need to figure out.  My favorite way to explain what I do is that it’s like solving a puzzle, there are different ways to get the solution; finding the most efficient way to get all the pieces to fit together is the challenge.

I Totally agree with you Megan, being a performance engineer you need to have an eye to details and in the same time understanding all moving parts around the application.


What was your favorite project and why?
I have many favorites, most of them were brand new applications.  I enjoy going through the start-up process: working with the teams to define their business transactions, pointing out which transactions are going to be more costly and designing the scripts to be realistic of a day in the life of an application.  I find challenge in developing the scripts, being able to manipulate them to execute the application code as a real user while pushing the application to realistic limits.  I like deep diving into issues, using tools to breakdown and see where the limitations may lie.  You could say I love it when things break, at least under test, because it means the application will be stronger in production.


What would you recommend to a woman that is planning to take steps to grow in this area?
This field is technical, in order to be successful at scripting, you have to be able to read and understand the application code as it comes across the screen.  You have to decipher whether or not you are successfully completing the business transaction.  In order to be successful analyzing a test you need to be able to read logs and use your application knowledge to help lead you to the problem if there is one. There is a lot of trial and error, don’t let it get to you if your script does not work the first time.  Like many other IT fields, women seem to be the minority in the Performance Engineering space. In order to be successful you need to be able to embrace this diversity and promote the qualities you bring to the team.


Could you please leave a key tip for performance engineers?
In order to be successful at Performance Engineering, the Performance Test Scenarios you create must be as realistic as possible and accurately execute the application.  Taking the time to ensure scripts are functioning properly ensures you are publishing valid test results.  Scripting takes a lot more than record and playback, learn how to correlate properly.


Megan, I enjoyed learning more about your experience! Thanks for sharing it with us today.


Feel free to post a question to Megan in the comments area.


Happy International Women’s day everyone!

the best for you!

Silvia Siqueira and Megan Shelton








About the Author


WW Sr Product Marketing Manager for Performance testing solutions

on ‎03-08-2013 01:04 PM

Hi I don't see the webinar anywhere after followiing that link. But I'd like to watch it.

on ‎03-10-2013 11:15 AM

Great analogy of performance testing like solving a puzzle - thanks for sharing, celebrating, and representing women engineers.

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