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Life as a Tester: My tech role models

Part two of our Testing series focuses on Jacob’s experience as a Test Automation Engineer at a professional services firm. This blog outlines the requirements of Jacob’s role and the support he receives from his professional role models. Read below to find out more…  

DW: And now you’ve spent a year as a Test Automation Engineer at a professional services firm, writing API and UI tests, has that perception changed? Do you now see yourself embracing Test Automation for the long-term? And how long did that shift take?

JS: Not long at all! A month or so into my client assignment, when I understood what the job involved, I started to see that it’s a viable career path. I was meeting people who’d made great careers of it, who were hugely supportive, and made it clear there are loads of pathways to a career within quality and test.

DW: Do you have role models in testing around you at your client? Are there people in roles that ultimately, you’d like to be in?  

JS: Yes! At my client you become part of a guild, and I’ve met loads of people who are great role models.

DW: One thing I’ve seen commonly is a heavy emphasis on automation, and a move away from manual testing. I used to subscribe to that mindset for quite a while, but less so now. Where do you stand on that mix of manual versus automation? How much time do you spend thinking and exploring versus coding?

JS: It’s 50/50 for me. I learn through doing, so I’ll read through a ticket a couple of times, then I’ll pull up the journey in the test environment, and cross reference that with the ticket so I can start to understand it. I do a fair amount of manual exploratory testing to understand the work, and then I can automate it a lot more easily.

DW: What do you enjoy about automating testing? What satisfaction do you get from it?

JS: It’s rewarding when you do it well and it works! I get a lot of enjoyment from writing clean, modular code, so when you’re writing loads of test cases and the code you’ve written is reusable, it’s just really satisfying!

DW: I get that! How often do your automated tests find issues?

JS: Every release without fail! Recently it’s become more stable, but with every release we find issues. It’s rarely major problems – although those happen, the tests give us peace of mind! If you run 5,000 tests and they’re all passing, clearly something’s working!

DW: Somebody I hugely respect recently said to me ‘The reason I like being in testing is I like to be the smartest person in the room!’. Personally, I do quite like that I’m the person to find the problem, so I agree with him to some extent. How do you feel about that statement?

JS: I don’t think I’ve ever felt like the smartest person in the room – you should always try not to be! But it can feel quite good to be the person to find the issue!

Click here to find out more about Sparta's Test Engineering roles.

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