Buglance | 25 thought leaders every software tester needs to know

25 thought leaders every software tester needs to know

25 thought leaders every software tester needs to know
Although the history of software testing ways back to tens of decades, it continues introducing fast-evolving tools for a better testing experience. As a participant in this constantly changing industry, individuals and organizations need to adopt a continuous learning mindset to face the upcoming challenges and stay at the forefront of the market. In this regard, thought leaders in software testing are great sources for testers to advance their skills and for organizations to shape their strategies behind. There are a number of great people who are contributing to building testing methodologies, best practices, and the future of testing. This article is dedicated to highlighting the names of worthwhile thought leaders up in the software testing industry to be followed.
Natella Mammadzade
Natella MammadzadeContent Writer

1. Alan Richardson

The first thought leader on our list is Alan Richardson, an experienced professional in the testing industry. His training and consulting skills do not end in the testing industry though. He has 20 years of experience in Digital Marketing, Business Consulting, and IT as well. Throughout the last decade, he has been working as a testing consultant and head of testing in various companies.

When it comes to the achievements, Alan has tremendous accomplishments and has been awarded “best tutorial” at Eurostar 2012 for "Selenium Clinic". Other than that, he has books published in the testing industry, named “Java For Testers,” “Dear Evil Tester,” etc. When you look through his social media profiles, you can see many positive recommendations coming from CEOs of different companies and corporations. Thus, Alan Richardson is one of the most prominent names out there when you look for bright minds with enough experience out there.

2. Bria Grangard

Bria’s strong academic background in the engineering field was followed by integrated practice in the engineering and research industry. Known as the subject matter expert in software testing, Bria worked in tech, marketing, product departments of different tech and medical organizations. Despite her young age, she has been working as a STEM presenter, speaker for 9 years now, where she shares her experience and growing interest in engineering and also hosts her podcast the Good, the Bad, and the Buggy, where she talks about user experience to help software professionals to decide what really works online. Various episodes of her podcast are related to software testing and the ways to accelerate the test cycle.

3. Cem Kaner

Executive Vice President of Association for Software Testing, Cem Kaner is one of the most prominent software testing industry figures. He started his tech career as a data-driven software engineer, then continued as a software tester, director of software testing departments in different organizations, software salesperson, technical writer, consultant, and Director of the Center for the Software Testing Research at Florida State University. He also earned his Ph.D. in psychology and JD.degree in law.
Cem’s main research areas of software testing are context-driven approaches to testing and software metrics where he found insights from social sciences like psychology and physics and the law of software programming where he addresses the questions about all the parties involved in the software development and their rights. He is an author of books such as Testing Computer Software, Lessons Learned in Software Testing: A Context-Driven Approach and many others. We highly recommend anyone in the software testing field to read his publications and books.

4. Dan Cuellar

We certainly can not go on without mentioning the founder of Appium - an open-source project tool for simplifying automation. His name is Dan Cuellar, and many people in the software testing industry are already familiar with this name. At the moment, he is an engineering manager at Apple. Dan’s tech career has more globally-recognized brands like Microsoft, NASA, Zoosk, Shazam, etc.

With more than 15 years of experience in the IT industry, Dan is definitely one of the most worthy people out there to follow. His product, Appium, is an open-source test automation framework for native, hybrid, and mobile web apps. The main objective of Appium is to automate any app from any language and any test framework.

Also, you can follow Dan’s Twitter, where he publishes informative, useful content alongside other industry giants.

5. Daniel Knott

Mobile tester, trainer, product manager, blogger, Daniel has more than 12 years of experience in the software industry, of which 10 years as a software tester. Throughout his career, he served for numerous leading tech companies like IBM, Accenture, XING. Daniel is the author of books Hands-On Mobile App Testing and Mobile App Testing, and since 2011, he started his own blog where he covers software testing, mobile testing, and related topics. Also, his blogs and speeches are often featured in the testing communities like the Ministry of Testing.

6. Hans Buvalda

The pioneer of keyword-driven testing, Soap Opera Testing, and a supporter of Action-based Testing Hans is one of the most influential people in the software testing industry. He wrote several articles explaining the ways to achieve scalability and maintainability in testing.

He wrote numerous articles on practical guidelines for testing, test designing, automation testing, unit testing, continuous testing that are extremely helpful for the testing community. As an expert in this field, Hans published a book named Integrated Test Design and Automation. We link one of his blogs about keyword-driven testing for our readers.

We recommend testers to follow Hans wherever they see him.

7. Helena Jeret-Mae

Transforming from English specialization to software testing brought Helena a mixture of skills such as mentoring, coaching and leading testing teams. Being around testing professionals as a passionate learner challenges and inspires her to be a better professional and share her knowledge and practices with the testing community as well.

She set learning, practicing habits as an integral part of her job which promoted her new positions in her further career path. The core topics Helen’s blogs deal are professional development as a tester, building and leading a testing team, designing test cases, and improving work quality.

8. James Bach

As an active participant in the testing industry, you have at least heard his name before. James started his career at a very young age as a programmer, continued as a software tester, and then as an independent consultant. He is one of the founding fathers of the context-driven school of software testing and session-based testing, also an advocate of exploratory testing. He wrote several articles over 30 years of experience and a book called What I Learned in Software Testing, which has been featured in scholarly articles many times.

As a passionate tester, his views of technology are towards the humanist side, which is often accepted as controversial. James says the value of testing is assessing people, their understanding, and finally, testing. To him, automation limits non-testers to understand the testing process by approaching it in specific ways. Instead, humans can showcase the testing process, thus making testing look legible to non-testers, the way that clients see and understand the value of testing.

10. Julian Harty

As a speaker and facilitator at various events related to the software testing industry, Julian is the next name on our list. He also has been a speaker at international conferences and workshops. He describes himself as an individual focused on testing, automation, and QA.

He has experience of more than 20 years in the testing industry.In his blog, he has touched on various topics related to app testing. His focus is more on Android apps than the others. Although most of the content on the blog is outdated, there are helpful archives of 11 years.

He says:

I have several goals in my commercial work. I am: To find and apply ways to make technology useful and adapt to users’ needs, rather than expecting people to cope with poorly designed software or technology.

Undoubtedly, this mindset has helped him in his career, and he still has a lot to contribute to the testing industry.

11. Joe Colantonio

Another name that pops up on our list of top testing industry professionals is Joe Colantonio, the founder of TestGuild. Throughout his professional career, he has been working in different big companies as a testing engineer. Overall, he has over 25 years of experience in the industry. Joe’s social activities and contributions speak for themselves and prove that he is one of the most impressive testing professionals. He has over 300 podcast interviews with top companies in the industry to his name. Joe has also been the host of the first and biggest online conference dedicated to automation testing.

Other than all of these mentioned, he also has created a blog for testing. This blog covers topics about security testing, automated testing, AI, Performance testing and many others. For people that are interested in software testing, his blogs could be brilliantly valuable. As a company, if you are looking for a software quality assurance engineer, test automation engineer, or testing consultant, Joe is one of the first people you should reach out to.

11. Jonathon Wright

You may have heard or come across the name Jonathon Wright at least once if you are into the testing industry. He even has a TedTalk you might have seen in the past about cognitive engineering. Jonathan is the co-founder of Digital Assured since 2017.

People who want to build better software should consider contacting Jonathon Wright in the first place because he also offers his services as a podcast host in QA lead. Since 1999, he has been working in more than 25 companies, which include Siemens, Blue Arrow, Xerox, and other significantly popular ones.

When you look at his career and achievements, you can see that he is the president of Vivit Worldwide, which is the largest independent software community with over 70,000 members across 125 countries. Other than all these mentioned, he has written several award-winning books, related to the industry.

12. Katrina Clokie

Katrina is a very active contributor to the international testing community by regularly publishing articles, holding public speeches on various topics in the testing. As an IT professional, she took ranging roles in different organizations’ tech departments as a software developer, solution delivery engineer, QA engineer and engineering manager. She is co-founder of the Ministry of Testing New Zealand and Testing Trapeze magazine and a keynote speaker. Her first book called A Practical Guide to Testing in DevOps is highly appreciated by the international testing community and gained over 6,000 readers. The core topics she covers in her blogs are testing practices, Agile testing, automation testing, DevOps, and coaching testers.

13. Keith Klain

When you analyze some industries, there are some names that you can’t just pass by. And Keith is that person in the testing industry. As you could expect, he also has experience over 20 years in testing. He has positions of Director, Executive Director, and Principal Consultant in his resume.

His specialties are agile software quality, quality management, organizational transformation, process improvement, mentoring, and career coaching. Keith has been director of Global Test Center in Barclays, one of the UK’s most famous companies. And he managed a budget of $50M for the Corporate, Investment Bank, and Wealth Management functional test teams. At the moment, he works as a director in KPMG UK. As the recipient of the 2013 Software Test Professionals Luminary award, he will be on top search results for you when looking for a testing professional or consultant.

14. Kristin Jackvony

After working as a music educator for almost two decades, Kristin discovered her passion for software testing. She worked as sales support, QA engineer, and promoted to QA Manager, and Software Engineer in Test. She specialized in improving legacy software and supporting the new software from the initial stages of products and has experience in automated testing, API testing, UI testing, and manual exploratory testing. She is also sharing her testing practice and advice for the tester community on her blogs. The major topics she covers are API testing, Agile methodologies in testing, and automation testing.

If you have not still decided to be a software tester or not, we link Kristin’s article, How I Discovered My Passion for Software Testing at the Age of 39 here for you.

15. Kwo Ding

Kwo Ding is another test automation consultant with over 13 years of experience in the testing field. He developed the open-source Sonar WebDriver plugin that allows software testers to get rid of basic manual checks and save time, and follow the best practices for writing test cases on WebDriver. He mainly works on the implementation of test automation strategies and designing test infrastructures specializing in web, mobile, and API test automation.

16. Lisa Crispin

Lisa’s writings are a great place to start learning Agile testing, as it leans on her testing experience. She is an Agile testing leader and trainer with 25 years of experience in the testing industry, a co-author of books such as Agile Testing, More Agile Testing and Agile Testing Condensed. She is also picked as the Most Influential Agile Testing Professional by her peers. Lisa is a testing advocate for exploring practices in testing, and actively hosts video conferences to discuss the modern trends of agile testing in this manner.

17. Lynn McKee

The next software testing thought leader on our list is test industry lead, test manager, consultant, and speaker Lynn McKee. With over 25 years of experience in the software development field, she worked in numerous industries including communications, travel, energy, utility, and many other sectors. She is proficient in running small and large scale projects, working with agile and waterfall methodologies, all cycles of SDLC.

As an advocate for software quality, she is consulting businesses to deliver valuable software, on software management, testing, and quality assurance practices. She is well-respected by the testing community and regularly gets invited to testing podcasts, international conferences, forums. She says: “Software quality is more than the testing, tools, metrics, processes, practices, and leadership we implement. Quality is achieved through understanding the context and stakeholder perspectives that ultimately influence a project’s decision to implement. From the initial expectations for the perfect software to the final measure of “good enough”, the road can be long and bumpy.”

In one of her latest blogs, she touched on certain limitations to testing that hinders testers to try and find the best fit. Such limitations are assumptions, biases, previous best practices on different companies and projects that may not be the best fit for your test case. We link the article for our readers to read and make use of Unconscious Limitations to Your Testing.

18. Michael Fritzius

As a Full-stack tester Michael has a solid background in QA testing and engineering, which then led him to serve as an automation consultant and found his automation tool. His major role has always been providing quality software and training testers to do the same. He contributed many articles for a well-known tech magazine, Techbeacon on tips for testers for both manual testing and automation testing. The core subject of his writings is to accentuate the use and importance of test automation and approaching test automation as a tool, not a solution.

For those who think automation is the only future of software testing, we link the test automation advocate’s article to read and think once again, Keep Calm and Carry on- Manual Testing is not Dying.

19. Mike Lyles

Mike Lyles is the next thought leader in the software testing field expert. Over 25 years of experience in the tech field, he served for multiple companies from tech, householding, apparel, marketing industries, including Fortune 50. Throughout his career, he has worked in various roles: product management, QA, software testing, team building, public speaking, coaching of IT and QA professionals. Mike also takes the stage in numerous public events as a keynote speaker; his testing publications are featured in several outstanding magazines. The main areas of his writings are testing environment, functional testing, performance testing, test automation, test data management and software configuration management.

20. Noah Sussman

Noah Sussman considered himself a Web Resilience Engineer; he is a Quality Assurance Engineer specializing in DevOps. He served as a technical coach and testing coach to several organizations on delivering front-end development problems, continuous integration (CI), assessment of the transition to Agile practices, and automated testing. His blogs are mainly about testing and DevOp practices, also contribute to the Ministry of Testing.

21. Richard Bradshaw

Richard is the next reputed software testing professional, an advocate of context-driven testing. Unlike his predecessors, he introduced Automation in Testing term, which is about how the practice of automation has changed its use in testing. As an active contributor to the testing community, he attended over 85 testing conferences, including the Conference for the Association of Software Testing, Selenium Conference, and podcasts mainly about test automation, exploratory testing, artificial intelligence and DevOps.

He says you cannot get the best result with a single approach:

I don't believe there is a single approach to testing software, I believe we need to adapt our approach to the context. To do this, I'm constantly adding new tools to my toolbox, so that I can deal with the diverse and exciting world of software development.

22. Rob Meaney

Robert describes himself as a passionate tester who seeks to find challenging bugs and ensure better quality software. In this regard, he publishes articles, speaks at tech conferences to share his experiments and learning with the testing community. He worked in diverse industries, such as highly regulated safety automation, medical, and entertainment like gaming, communication at global companies like Intel, Ericsson & EMC, and early startups. He has exposure in quality engineering, software engineering, test engineering, testing in production, test coaching and automation architecture.

He believes “Testing is not a goal”, the key in the testing process is to focus on delivering the quality product. What makes his teaching approach standout is the way he maps out the testing process, methodologies, outcomes for better understanding.

23. Rosie Sherry

The founder of the largest testing community, Rosie Sherry is a testing expert with 20 years of experience in software testing. She started testing as a freelance tester and then began gathering a testing community by hosting events. Dedication to testing and educating brought Rosie to found the Software Testing Club which then evolved to the Ministry of Testing, the biggest testing community. Since 2019, she works as a Community Manager for Indie Hackers. Her public talks and blogs cover topics on how to become a better tester and building communities.

We link one of her outstanding articles, 99 Things You Can Do To Become A Better Software Tester, for our readers.

24. Sigurdur Birgisson

When it comes to consulting in the testing industry, Sigurdur is one of the most helpful people out there. When we analyze his career, we can see that he has more than 15 years of experience in Software QA and testing. Sigurdur has worked in the different aspects of software quality assurance. During his 15 years as a software testing expert, he worked as a consultant tester, senior quality engineer, senior quality consultant, quality assurance manager, and system tester.

His participation in the testing industry is not limited to his professional activities in different companies. He has also been involved in social activities regarding the awareness of the sector. From his presentation, named Driving higher quality with DevOps Initiatives, which is available on Youtube, you may watch him touch on various quality assurance topics in technology.

25. Simon Stewart

As a core contributor to open-source Selenium, creator of WebDriver, Simon is one of the most experienced professionals in testing automation. He is regularly invited to public speeches and online discussions for explaining the roadmap of Selenium, exploring new frameworks, the ways to interact with elements, how to use it for fast and scalable testing. Throughout his career, he served for various software companies, including Google as Software Test Engineer, Facebook as a Software Engineer, and currently as a Software Engineer for Apple.

He was mainly responsible for developing web applications, delivering APIs and infrastructure, browser automation, Among the major topics Simon touches on is the past, the present, the future of Selenium.


Software testing is a rapidly changing industry bringing new challenges to software testing and QA. Listening to the practices of thought leaders can ease the work of testers, help to get rid of unnecessary steps, and focus on the core requirements of testing. These were the 25 most influential people in the software testing industry whose views are being widely spread and used by the testing community.