What It’s Like Being A QA Engineer At WorkTango
The fourth employee in our employee spotlight series is Quality Assurance (QA) engineer, Swathi Suresh.
Swathi joined the WorkTango team in the fourth quarter of 2020. She discusses the details of her journey, day-to-day tasks, shares her favorite project to date, and a fun fact about her at the end of the interview.
Keep reading to see all the deets!
What sparked your interest and made you want a job in QA?
Swathi found a role in QA by chance. After finishing her higher education in India, she landed a job at an enterprise information technology company along with 500 other individuals who all began training at the same time. She happened to be selected for the QA group and loved the five-year professional journey it has taken her on. Swathi has remained in the information technology sector testing software throughout her various roles in QA.
Although Swathi landed in QA by chance, her journey to get to WorkTango was not a roll of the dice. Swathi wanted to leave India to explore other options for work and education. So, she took a leap of faith, decided to hop on a flight, and moved to Canada. Swathi enjoyed her previous QA role at a large enterprise back home, so when she moved to Canada, she was motivated to get a job in her field. After a few months, she discovered WorkTango had an open QA position, reviewed the job description, liked the challenges described, and applied.
“The technology stack listed in their job description excited me because they were the latest technologies being put to use.”
Swathi was pleased to see what WorkTango had to offer in terms of technology and culture. After a few interviews, she accepted the role and joined the team as the first QA engineer.
What does a typical week at WorkTango look like for you?
The main goal of a QA engineer is to reduce the number of bugs in the software by analyzing test results and use-cases to find errors in the code. Swathi spends a few days a week conducting in-depth regression testing to make sure all areas of the platform are working as needed, and that newly published updates do not affect current functionality. She also spends time automating this process to significantly reduce the time needed to do manual regression testing (which can take up to two days). Whenever Swathi comes across a handful of bugs (say 10) they’re raised with the development team for correction, and Swathi follows it up with verification and more regression testing to ensure each fix is successful.
“We need to make sure new features don’t affect the existing code. After performing regression testing in the Staging Environment and once there’s a code release on Production, we do a smoke test on Production where we test the important features alone. We test for mobile, cross-browser, and much more.”
In addition to regression testing, Swathi looks after migrating clients over to the newest version of the WorkTango platform (a major project now in the works). Moving client data from one version to another, while keeping all of it intact, is no small task. Once this transition is complete she will focus on continuing to build automation scripts for testing new features, investing time in maintaining the script, and continuing to flush out any bugs to make the platform stronger and more robust than the original.
What do you like most about your job and why?
What Swathi likes about her position is the ability and flexibility to do many different things. The one task she enjoys the most is migration testing – to her surprise.
“I have opportunities to learn, grow, and experience different kinds of work. I would have never thought of doing migration testing and it’s slowly becoming my favorite thing to do.”
Swathi gets a sense of satisfaction when a client launches a new survey on the latest version of the platform, “because it means things are working as expected and as they should“. But migration testing is not the only part of the job she enjoys.
She also really appreciates the culture at WorkTango: being able to learn and participate in new initiatives. Her past experiences in service-oriented companies has been that you can get hired for a single project and rarely get the opportunity to explore and find yourself in different projects. But not so at WorkTango. In Swathi’s experience, you get to take ownership of your tasks and are heavily involved in the decision-making and direction of your project, and how it will fit into the wider goals of the organization. Having a work culture focused on the employees is something Swathi cherishes.
What are some of the difficulties?
Swathi has also encountered some difficulties in her position. As a QA engineer, a large part of the job is to test the same things repeatedly. New features must be tested with existing ones with every new release to ensure no bugs exist. When a feature from a previous release becomes old, it must be tested with the latest updates. And on and on it goes. Nonetheless, Swathi sees the value her role brings to WorkTango and takes pleasure in the challenges that come at her day-to-day.
One of those challenges highlighted by Swathi is the difficulty communicating with a remote team.
“Everyone has their own schedules so it’s more difficult to see and work together remotely.”
Reoccurring meetings are helping the QA, Development, and Product teams stay aligned, know what each other is working on, and communicate any foreseeable roadblocks and issues. “The culture at WorkTango is fast-paced and the deliverables are constantly being adjusted to produce better outcomes for our customers,” Swathi says, “and that might mean there are some redundant code updates or changes required.” But as WorkTango’s QA pioneer notes,
“That is the role at the end of the day. Changes are necessary when you’re innovating.”
How does this job (WorkTango) differ from your previous ones?
WorkTango is a more product-focused company rather than service. Although our service is still a focus (and top-notch!), at the end of the day the survey platform is the core of our offering. For Swathi, this is a big change in mindset from her previous jobs at service-oriented companies, particularly her first employer with a workforce in excess of 250,000! Focusing on a product rather than a service is a change Swathi has successfully navigated.
“It’s quite a change, I have more responsibility and am accountable for the quality of the entire product.”
Another difference Swathi realized when she joined WorkTango was the cultural shift. Here she noticed, the teams are tightly knit and there is no blame culture. In larger organizations, Swathi found that the culture was not conducive to employee learning and development. At WorkTango, it’s a part of day-to-day life. Whether that be through official training sessions or from a colleague, the environment is far more favorable to continuous learning and development.
“If something happens, instead of blaming who did it we instead brainstorm a solution and move on.”
We strive to create a culture of continuous learning and listening here at WorkTango, and creating a constructive environment is an important piece of that culture.
What has been your favorite project to work on and why?
Swathi’s most enjoyable project to date has been migration testing. Getting clients’ data from the legacy version of the platform to the new and improved version. It’s something she has never done in her career as a QA engineer, so it’s given her the opportunity to learn and explore new skills.
While migration testing ranks tops, Swathi also enjoys finding bugs in the code. Her expertise lies in being able to think outside the box; to find and think of different scenarios in which people may want to leverage our technology. In this way, Swathi can test for those use-cases and make sure the technology can handle any and all situations thrown at it. Even those no one yet knows may exist. At the end of the day…
“It’s better for us to find bugs than the customer.”
What is a fun fact about you that people may not know?
Swathi used to write in some of her free time, and she’s quite good! Back home in India, she had three of her short stories published in a children’s magazine. A friend of hers told Swathi the publication was accepting stories from writers, so she sent a few in and they got accepted!
One story covers the tale of a big fat king who got too greedy. Another covers the journey of three children who had a cricket ball signed by a pro but, jealously gets the best of one of them. The last tale is of a mother who leaves a trail of riddles for her daughter which lead to a gift.
When she’s not writing short stories, you can find Swathi curled up on the could catching the latest thriller, suspense, or mystery movie.
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