Speaker Spotlight: USAA, Bryan Osterkamp and Chris Nelson
Test and Monitor | Posted October 02, 2018

In this edition of SmartBear Connect Speaker Spotlight, we talked to Bryan Osterkamp and Chris Nelson from USAA, who will be presenting, “Eliminate Tool Limitations With the ‘Test Infrastructure as a Freeway’ Approach.” In this session, they will explain how to ensure both end-users and infrastructure support teams feel valued in the legacy development environment and the Continuous Delivery and containerized pipeline environment using the implementation of ReadyAPI as an example.

In this interview, Bryan and Chris discussed the different mentalities that developers and testers have when approaching the SDLC, how to synergize these approaches, and they even threw in some fun facts, with hobbies including Spartan races and hockey.

Read on for the full interview.

Without repeating your bio, what’s something you want attendees know about each of you?

Bryan: I’m very passionate about software testing. I started out as a developer straight out of college and ever since then I’ve seen the value of testing and making sure your application behaves as expected. I always thought it was a failure on my part as a developer if a tester found a bug that I should have found myself. That’s why it’s so important to me to make sure that I test my software before handing it off to somebody else.

Chris: Along those same lines, I started out as a mainframe developer, but testing wasn’t always at the front of my mind. Then I spent some time in the performance testing space, which really opened my eyes to how powerful testing can be and how important it is. I’ve absolutely become a convert since working in the testing space.

What would be your advice for testers in regard to working with other members of the development cycle?

Chris: Our team is trying to introduce testing more so to the developers and we’re trying to avoid isolating the testing teams. This means getting more of these awesome tools like ReadyAPI in the hands of the developers so that they can begin to shift left. I don’t think we always need to have a clear line between testers and developers.

Bryan: Having done both developing and testing, I’ve learned that both roles have strengths and abilities that the other needs. Regardless of what role you’re playing, learn to have empathy and understanding for the others. If you’re a tester, understand the mindset of a developer, and what their goals are. If you’re a developer, glean the knowledge of how a tester thinks and how they try to break and challenge things. A developer often thinks, “how do I build something?” while on the other hand, a tester thinks “how do I break it down?” I think these are both valuable perspectives to understand.

What’s something that people would be surprised to learn about you?

Bryan: I love doing obstacle races – specifically Spartan races. I enjoy training, working out, jumping walls, throwing spears, and lifting heavy things. That’s what I do for fun: getting muddy, sweaty, and bloody.

Chris: I’m from Minnesota, and I’ve never stopped following and playing hockey. I’m based in Texas now, and the sport isn’t as popular [here] as it is in Minnesota.

What is each of your SmartBear stories? How long have you been using the SmartBear tools?

Chris: I used SoapUI when developing one of the first mainframe CICS webservices years ago. When I came onboard with my current team, I oversaw the implementation of the ReadyAPI suite, so it’s been an evolution from being a casual user of SoapUI to deep diving into the whole ReadyAPI suite.

Bryan: My experience with SmartBear started many years ago – we used Code Collaborator (now known as Collaborator) to manage code. I also used SoapUI for many years and most recently we were looking for a tool where we could do security testing, performance testing, and functional testing all in one. If you’re doing functional testing in one tool but then rescripting in another to do performance testing, that’s not very efficient and you’re also facing security issues. My current story with SmartBear includes enabling teams to be efficient with their testing and to avoid managing a disparate set of tools for API testing.

What is something that you’re excited to share during your session?

Chris: I’m doing the demo portion of the session, and I’m really excited to share how we’ve integrated ReadyAPI into our CI/CD pipeline, as well as how we’ve implemented SoapUI Pro, LoadUI Pro, and Secure. I’m looking forward to showing off our work and what we’ve accomplished to help others in their own organizations.

Bryan: What I’m excited about is enabling individuals to get past some challenges that they’ve run into in the past. Say there’s a tool that they’ve wanted to use but haven’t found a way to convince/motivate others to adopt. My goal is to help them think outside the box so that they can implement it, as well as help teams streamline their workflow because they’re spending so much time learning new tools that they can’t help others. Some of the lessons we have learned may help others become more empowered testing individuals.

What are each of you most looking forward to about SmartBear Connect?

Chris: I’ve never been to Boston, so I’m excited for that!

Bryan: I really enjoy talking to other practitioners that have used the tool. Often times you’ll hear about innovative things other companies are doing and make connections that go beyond the conference by being able to talk to them even afterwards.


If you’re attending SmartBear Connect this October 29th & 30th in Boston, Bryan and Chris are looking forward to speaking to fellow attendees! Chris is eager to learn about how others have implemented performance testing in a CI/CD pipeline as widely adopted industry standards have not yet been wholly established. If you happen to run into Bryan, he’s interested in chatting about machine learning, specifically which aspects are real and which just hype. Don’t be afraid to talk to them on any of these topics.

Don’t have tickets to SmartBear Connect yet? Not a problem! We’re currently running an exclusive promo, Connect Four: buy three tickets and get the fourth free.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Buy three tickets to SmartBear Connect
  2. Send the three attendee names to customers@smartbear.com with the subject line, Connect Four Discount
  3. We’ll send you a discount code for a free ticket

Hope to see you in October – and if you’ll be there, be sure to say hello to Bryan and Chris!