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Michelle L. Crane

Michelle's Biography

I am currently working at IBM as a software developer with a heavy emphasis on automation and continuous delivery. I came to IBM upon completion of my MSc and PhD in Computer Science at Queen’s University. My graduate work focused on lightweight formal methods – I had an awesome and inspiring supervisor but decided that research was not my passion. My undergraduate degree is a B Commerce (MIS) from the University of Ottawa and I spent the time between undergrad and grad school as an officer in the Canadian Air Force, where my specialty was Logistics, specifically fourth-line air/sea movement control.

DevOps Transformation & Enablement, IBM, Ottawa

I am part of the DevOps Transformation and Enablement team. Our purpose is to enable our product (Collaborative Lifecycle Management) to develop faster and better. My main focus is the UI tests in continuous delivery pipeline (e.g., are the test scenarios running? did we have an infrastructure problem? if so, how can we fix it or work around it? what needs be done to improve things?). I also work with our Selenium-based framework, which enables the web-based UI testing our product.

We train the next generation of IT workers and researchers.

I currently have the best job I’ve ever had. I saw a need and carved myself a niche to fill that need. I have a boss who knows exactly how to get the best out of me, I have the freedom to prioritize my own work, I have a great team to work with, and I find the work satisfying. Not only that, but I’m able to work on my own terms with respect to hours, dress, location, etc. Some days I can’t believe they’re paying me!

The best advice I’ve ever received was in the military, and I find it applies even more to the civilian world. Specifically, “you are your own career manager”. Do not expect some magic fairy to swoop into your life and put you in the exact right job or career. Do not assume that your current supervisor knows what you want. Learn what you want, and need, out of your work and look for ways to get it. You can manoeuvre yourself into the perfect place for you. Second best advice? “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”

When I graduated high school, ‘smart’ girls went into the hard sciences (e.g., Chemistry) or Business. I didn’t like Chemistry, so I took the hardest Business option I could find. I’m the first person in my family to go to university and my high school guidance counsellor was stuck in a previous century (an aptitude test said I would make a good boiler maker), so I didn’t know any better. If I were to start again, I might have gone into an Engineering discipline. That said, I have no complaints about the path I did take, since it got me to where I am today.



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