Journey to QA Engineer


As I sit on the train on the first working day of 2016 I begin to think about my first nine months at Salecycle and my role as a QA Engineer. I think about the fact I was never hired as a QA Engineer and that the job description that was advertised was actually for a Test Manager.  So what is the difference and when did it change? An interesting question and I suppose I am both, depending on the system that is being worked on in the sprint.  Let me explain further….

When I joined I was the the only tester/QA Engineer and there were two systems in production, one approaching five years old and the other relatively new. The older was the company’s bread and butter and the other was an up-to-date, incomplete, but more scalable solution to serve a more real-time world. Then, on the day I joined I was also joined by a new Chief Technology Officer who wanted to reduce maintenance overhead on these two systems by slowly decommissioning the 1st and 2nd systems, piece by piece until it becomes the one scalable, testable, and more performant system in the cloud.

So what does this mean for me and my role? The first, older system is difficult to automate without a substantial automation framework in place. It is still being built on and as I said previously, it is our bread and butter and so requires constant testing. The second system is much easier to automate our testing but because it was never tested previously means I need to react to problems and production issues (that are highlighted by users, clients and our Operations team). I would say at the end of 2015 these two systems took up a larger portion of my time and I am a tester for these two systems as the manual testing outweighs the automated.

But what of the third system and the future? Because this platform is being built in the cloud and from the beginning, I can be proactive, I can write automated tests up front, I can assist developers with Test Driven Development, and I would say I am a QA ENGINEER for this system and will be going forward into 2016.

By David Costello, Lead QA Engineer, SaleCycledavid costello2

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