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More Than Software Quality, More Than a Conference

Philip Lew

I received this letter the other day from a teacher with the local high school’s robotics team in Portland, Oregon. It was rewarding to receive these kind words knowing that PNSQC is making an impact in the local community above and beyond our conference and extending into the future.


“I would like to thank you and PNSQC committee for accepting Portland high school robotics team paper submissions in the past. It gave students a great opportunity to showcase their accomplishments in software quality excellence. In addition, students were also able to connect with professionals at the conference and learn from everyone in this area.  


In addition, I want to let you know that earlier high students from the robotics team already graduated and started their college studies or career in STEM (Science Technology Engineering, and Math). The experience in PNSQC is always a highlight in their lives and motivates them to propel forward in their study and career.      


This year we are planning to submit another paper abstract to present how the robotics team took advantage of the AI/ML, CI/CD, etc to bring the software quality to the next level. The team ranked #4 among ~200 teams from the US and other countries overseas in the World FIRST Technology Challenge (FTC) Championship and is the role model team in the world. We will be very excited to present the outstanding work in this space if we are allowed to do that.” 


Going beyond software quality and our conference has always been a goal of ours. When I received this letter, I was pumped and it made me think of some of our larger objectives beyond sharing software quality knowledge.

Diversity and Inclusion Means More Than You Think

Increasing diversity in the software quality community and the local Portland area community is one of our top priorities. We’ve been working in all areas of diversity and inclusion. Normally, people think of race and gender, but our thoughts on diversity include age, experience, geography, subject matter, and much more. We are constantly trying to get younger engineers and managers from all walks of life involved in the conference and the software quality community. To further our geographic and age group diversity, we encourage those in high schools and colleges to submit paper proposals and participate in the conference as authors as well as volunteers. 


Even though we hold our conference each year in Portland, Oregon, our keynotes are from all over the world. Additionally, our invited speakers include winners from the past year’s technical papers. So, they are usually not experienced professional speakers who speak at a dozen conferences a year. Rather, they are hands-on professionals passionate about their work, but not out to make a buck or be famous on the speaking circuit. We’re also working on increasing the diversity and breadth of the meaning of software quality itself. That means not just for ISVs (independent software developers) whose main product involves creating software for end users, but also for those enterprises that must buy and use software from others and have it modified. This large group of software advocates that are involved in using software and highly concerned about its quality are often left to learn about quality on their own or through management-type organizations such as PMI and others.


As part of our diversity efforts, PNSQC has given scholarships to organizations such as Future ADA, Black in Technology PDX, and LatinX Tech PDX.  Learn more about this program on our Scholarship page.


We also hold monthly meetups as a way to engage with the local Portland community and spread the word about our organization as well as provide an engaging platform for exchanging knowledge in software quality. All are welcome and there is no charge. Usually, we even provide free food with the help of sponsors. How can you beat that? Learning, getting some free food, and meeting new friends?