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Community, Career, and Influence: Why You Should Become an SDS2 Beta Tester

Being an SDS2 beta tester means being at the forefront of innovation, actively shaping the future of SDS2 products before they hit the market. Beta testers are pivotal in spotting bugs, providing feedback, and refining the software, ultimately helping to create a better end product.  

“While it undoubtedly aids SDS2 in refining their products, the primary advantage is for the customers themselves,” said Stephanie Haith, SDS2’s Director of Product Development. “In essence, beta testing results in customers receiving a better tool to accomplish their work, helping them complete tasks more efficiently and ultimately boosting their financial gains.” 

In this article, we'll explore all the reasons why you should apply to the SDS2 beta testing program and delve into the numerous benefits it brings.  


Who makes a great beta tester?  

Before we dive into the perks, let’s talk about who makes for a good beta tester. The short answer is: pretty much anyone with a desire to enhance the work they do with SDS2.

The SDS2 Beta Testing community welcomes participants from all walks of professional life, whether you’re running a single-user operation or working for a large firm, or whether you’re relatively new to the business or have been in it for decades. 

When evaluating applicants, Haith said, “It’s not just about how many seats you have. Are you a detailer? Are you working commercial or industrial? Are you working for a fabricator, because they’re going to need something slightly different than what a detailer could look at. We want different perspectives.”  

This inclusivity ensures a wide range of viewpoints, from newcomers to seasoned users. What truly matters is your dedication, interest in the product, and the unique perspectives you bring. Ideal candidates are those who use SDS2 and have a desire to improve it for the benefit of all users. Regardless of your field of expertise, we want you involved.  


Beta Testing Benefits 


Early Access to New Features

Beta testers enjoy the privilege of trying out cutting-edge features before they hit the mainstream market. On the one hand, this grants you the chance to offer feedback on these features, report any issues encountered, and suggest improvements, ultimately ensuring a better end product. But it also gives a head start in learning and mastering new features and tools, such as critical integrations to CNC machines and fabrication management software, automated detailing tools, and more to accelerate your efficiency from project to project. 

For Cary Grant of the Cives Steel Company, early access is one of the key reasons for participating as a beta tester. “For me, it's about getting early exposure to new features and understanding how they work, which helps in training others. The sooner we complete beta testing, the faster we can get the General Release into the hands of our employees, which is crucial for our workflow efficiency.” Beta testing with SDS2 is a win-win, benefiting both the individual testers and the entire community of users. 


Immediate Influence on Product Development 

The feedback provided by beta testers directly impacts product development—and your feedback can be put into action almost immediately. “Responses to identified issues are addressed almost immediately, sometimes within minutes,” Grant said.  

Of course, SDS2 takes feedback and suggestions from any and all users at any time. But general users won’t get their chance to test new features until the release is already public. Getting real-world feedback during the beta phase allows SDS2’s development team to make active changes much sooner, improving customer’s experience with the product.  

We listen to our user base—users that are actually using our workflows in real life situations, real projects,” Haith said.  


Enhance Your Resume 

In addition to the product- and productivity-related perks, the beta testing experience can also be a noteworthy addition to your individual resume. It signals to potential employers or supervisors that you're proactive and experienced in working with emerging technologies. As steel construction becomes more and more dependent on technology and automation from the detailing office to the shop floor, placing yourself at the forefront of innovation as a beta tester will be a huge boon to your career growth.  


Networking Opportunities 

Beta testing is about more than just evaluating software. It's a doorway to a dynamic network of tech enthusiasts. Beta testing connects you with fellow innovators in our field, offering a platform to build valuable relationships. SDS2 beta testers have access to a portal, giving them a complete picture of product development, as well as a private forum where they can communicate with other members of the beta community and direct email access to relevant members of the SDS2 development team.  

In addition to building relationships, engaging with the beta community is also a great way to learn. SDS2 developers aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit from the diverse backgrounds in our beta community—you can too. Veteran users can gain fresh insights from new detailers, and vice versa. Subcontract detailers can learn what their counterparts in a fabrication shop are concerned about. It's not just about software; it's a collaborative adventure with like-minded professionals, driving innovation for the industry, the software, and each other. 

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Beta testers are invaluable teammates in SDS2’s development process, bringing a real-world perspective to our troubleshooting, performance optimization, and real-world applicability. 

“Why would customers take time out of their real-world job that gets paid to help us?” Haith said. “Because in the end, it helps them.” 

It not only guarantees a higher quality product that addresses real customer needs across the entire SDS2 userbase—it’s also a valuable opportunity to advance your career, improve your company’s performance, learn, and engage.