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Who I Am and Where I Am January 2018

As of January 2018 I resigned my position as "Senior Member of the Technical Staff, Quality Assurance" at I have more than twenty years experience in testing user interfaces and APIs across a wide variety of platforms. If you would like to contact me, my DMs on Twitter are open or by email at christopher dot mcmahon at gmail. I do not use Facebook, LinkedIn, or Skype.

I have been working remotely for more than ten years. I enjoy telecommuting, it suits me nicely. In the past decade I have lived all over the western United States, including some time in Hawaii.

Here are some points from my career that help tell the story of how I came to be here today:

In 1997 I started testing 911 telecom location services, life-critical software for police/fire/ambulance dispatching for most of the USA. I tested these systems through Y2K and beyond. We saved the world. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

In 2004 I was, as far as anyone knows, the first person ever to point the open source browser test automation tool Watir at a production system. Because of this, Watir was the first ever automation tool, proprietary or open source, to support the automation of iframes and frames. Although it is radically different than it was in 2004, I still use Watir today, it has been my mainstay for the last six years.

Also in 2004 I published my first professional article for Better Software magazine. I would go on to publish many dozens of other professional articles about software development, testing, and methodology for a number of media vendors.

In 2005 I gave my first conference presentations, at PNSQC (large PDF) and at STARWest . My PNSQC presentation became official documentation for FreeBSD. I was an early adopter of open source software and the Wiki Way, my presentation at PNSQC was a real-time installation and configuration of the Twiki wiki on FreeBSD that attendees could edit immediately.

Also in 2005 I joined Thoughtworks , where I worked with Bret Pettichord and met Jason Huggins, who was working on the project that would become Selenium. Even before Thoughtworks I had been an early adopter of agile methods. I gave talks at the Agile2006, Agile2009, and Agile2013 conferences.

After thirteen months at Thoughtworks I began working remotely. An early highlight of my remote career was working at Socialtext, an Enterprise wiki company. Many of my colleagues at Socialtext have become influential in their later pursuits.

I created and hosted the Writing About Testing conference in 2009, and repeated it in 2010. I think that WAT has had a positive influence on discourse in the field of software testing in the time since.

In 2012, as a direct result of my having met Jeff "Cheezy" Morgan  at a peer conference, Ċ½eljko Filipin and I founded the QA/testing and browser test automation practice at the Wikimedia Foundation, testing the software that powers Wikipedia. The end of my tenure at WMF came at a difficult time.

In 2015 I founded the QA/testing and browser test automation practice at what was then the Salesforce Foundation and is today called I wrote my first Ruby gem  in the service of this project, a wrapper for the Salesforce API that uses metaprogramming to to handle API calls for "objects" and "fields" that may or may not have arbitrary "namespace" values in the target Salesforce environment.

From time to time I find it helpful to write these "Who I Am and Where I Am" pieces. I hope my story has been of interest.