“Sparta’s training prepares you for the unpredictable”

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After swapping a background in politics for a career in technology, Jo Richards threw herself into any and every opportunity to challenge herself. Moving to Birmingham for our Academy training and to London for her first role in industry, Jo has excelled in her role as a QA Consultant in a busy Government department at the Ministry of Justice. 
 

How did you first discover Sparta Global?

I came across Sparta Global online after searching for Graduate/Junior roles in Business Analysis. I had spent three years studying at Sheffield Hallam University, graduating in 2016 after studying Politics and Sociology and gaining a first-class degree in Applied Social Science.

I chose to join the Business stream at Sparta Global because it suited my academic background, experience and career interests - all in one! I jumped at the opportunity to join the Birmingham Academy and graduated in September 2018 with knowledge of business consulting, business analysis, manual software testing, PRINCE2 and agile!

 

How did you find your training?

I most enjoyed meeting and making friends with other candidates on the course. I found it refreshing to be around others who shared similar career interests to me and a desire for learning. I also enjoyed the process of learning as a group so we could share ideas, collaborate on projects and support each other.

But more than anything - learning new skills on the course and having to adapt to a new city really pushed me out of my comfort zone. It was a huge character-building experience - enjoyable and extremely rewarding!

 

Now assigned to a Sparta Global client Ministry of Justice, what does an average day look like for you?

I’ve been working as a Junior QA Consultant at the Ministry of Justice in London for a year now. 

My day-to-day tasks involve taking responsibility for testing certain software functionality - which is constantly being developed - and ensuring a high level of quality is maintained. I work closely with BAs, Developers, UX designers and Product Owners to ensure what is being created is meeting the criteria and overall requirements requested by the business. I perform a variety of checks - testing various scenarios - from the perspective of an end user and think how a user would navigate and interact with the system. As part of working in an agile environment I am also involved in scrum ceremonies such as: daily stand ups, sprint planning and sprint retrospectives. I am constantly collaborating and communicating with people within and outside of my team to share information and work towards the common goal of creating a quality product.

 

Have you worked on a particular project or solution?  

I recently joined a project where we are creating an application for the public to appeal a benefit decision online. This service is currently heavily paper-based and means it takes a long time for appeals to be processed. Our goal is to create a new case management system that digitalises the majority of the business processes and makes it easier for Government staff to manage the entire appeal journey from end-to-end. Our solution helps to address critical pain points of the business such as reducing time, cost and making the appeal process more transparent to the public.

 

How has your work directly impacted the department you work with?

As a QA it is my responsibility to make sure quality is always met throughout the entire software development process and in every feature that is developed. If I notice something that doesn’t meet the specification or I observe something that I believe may be confusing for an end user, I can highlight this to the BA who will then review it and ensure it is fixed.

Another example is when I report software bugs and they are fixed; it prevents that issue from being released into the end product. When I discover a bug it usually helps to identify other underlying issues that may have otherwise gone undetected and potentially caused future issues.

 

Do you enjoy your work at the Ministry of Justice?

Yes, I love it! I feel mentally challenged and can utilise my strengths in analysis, problem solving and logical thinking within my day-to-day role. Working on a project where there are constantly new features being developed brings spontaneity and makes work interesting. No two days are the same! Another aspect I enjoy is the balance of working independently as well as within a team. As I am naturally a social person, I enjoy working within a collaborative team environment as I feel involved, valued and able to learn a lot from more experienced team members. Most importantly there is a great work-life balance meaning although the workload can sometimes get intense (especially during feature releases), I still have time to pursue other interests outside of work and enjoy what London has to offer.

 

Would you recommend Sparta Global to other graduates?

Yes - I would highly recommend Sparta Global if you are looking to pursue a career in technology. Even if you are not focussed on a career in Software Testing, it exposes you to many other careers within tech that you may not have been aware of. The placement gives you first-hand experience in the industry and provides an opportunity to work for a blue-chip company which you otherwise may have struggled to get into (especially with limited experience). The Academy training, although intense, prepares you for the many unpredictable situations you could face on client site. It gives you the confidence and maturity you need to handle whatever is thrown at you!