Michael Larsen is a software tester based out of San Francisco. Including a decade at Cisco in testing, he’s also has an extremely varied rock star career (quite literally…more on that later) touching upon several industries and technologies including virtual machine software and video game development.
Michael is a member of the Board of Directors for the Association for Software Testing and a founding member of the “Americas” Chapter of “Weekend Testing.” He also blogs at TESTHEAD and can be reached on Twitter at @mkltesthead.
In Part I of our two-part Testing the Limits interview, we talk with Michael on the most rewarding parts of his career, and how most testers are unaware of a major “movement” around them.
uTest: This is your first time on Testing the Limits. Could you tell our testers a little bit about your path into testing?
Michael Larsen: My path to testing was pure serendipity. I initially had plans to become a rock star in my younger years. I sang with several San Francisco Bay Area bands during the mid-to-late 80s and early 90s. Not the most financially stable life, to say the least. While I was trying to keep my head above water, I went to a temp agency and asked if they could help me get a more stable “day job.” They sent me to Cisco Systems in 1991, right at the time that they were gearing up to launch for the stratosphere.
I was assigned to the Release Engineering group to help them with whatever I could, and in the process, I learned how to burn EEPROMs, run network cables, wire up and configure machines, and I became a lab administrator for the group. Since I had developed a god rapport with the team, I was hired full-time and worked as their lab administrator. I came to realize that Release Engineering was the software test team for Cisco, and over the next couple of years, they encouraged me to join their testing team. The rest, as they say, is history.