Meet the Test Team… or maybe they should be called the Tech’ Detectives!
Software testing is sorely misunderstood. But we’re on a mission to change that. Sometimes all it takes is a dash of Sherlockian curiosity and some serious analytical tendencies to help make Razor products the best they can be – for the people who need them!
Sounds good, right? But you’re probably still wondering, what does that actually mean?
Let’s ask the Test Team themselves. Or more specifically, our latest recruit Gareth, who came into software testing as an ex-accountant…
Hello Gareth! Let’s dive straight in – what do you do?
I'm a software tester.
And what did you get up to in your previous career?
I studied Accounting and Finance at Sheffield. During the four years I did a one year placement at the Metropolitan Police down in London and then joined a company who produce digital games after I graduated. That’s really when I got my first glimpse into tech and testing. I started to learn Java and I went to lots of these events where you could come in and just play the games to see how well they worked.
So, was that it for you then? The tech world was the place to be?
Pretty much. I was interested in software development, so whilst I was still working as an accountant, I decided to put some feelers out there – to see what I need to do to get into a junior developer position. That’s when I came across testing: I read the job spec and thought I’d just email to find out what would qualify for that position. They invited me for an interview and here I am now, 3 months into testing!
That’s awesome! How would you describe what you do as a software tester?
I like to think we’re the Sherlock Holmes of the tech world: every project is different and you test each one from a different perspective, a different angle. But the trick is always keeping the end user in mind, because you could create an absolutely brilliant product which actually doesn’t meet all of your customers’ needs. It doesn’t matter how amazing the product is, if it doesn’t do what the customer wants it to!
Couldn’t have put it better ourselves. Obviously an affinity with tech is part of the job description, but which non-tech skills have helped you during your pivot into the industry?
When I worked in finance I had to do a lot of investigating! For example, if I was checking actual spending against a department’s budget, and they’d gone over, it was up to me to work out why. And then look at ways to stop it from happening again.
Strong communication is a really big thing for me as well – when I’m testing things I’m mindful of relating any necessary changes and fixes to a developer in a constructive way… The product is their baby after all, and if you go over and tell them it’s ugly, well, they’re not going to like it.
Got it – diplomacy is key. What do you like most about working at Razor?
I love the innovation within the company and the cool solutions that they always come up with. It’s exciting to follow the journey right through to the end product. This is the one place where I’ve found the level of passion from everybody is just unreal. The fact that they're so into what they do I think is pretty cool.
Okay, imagine this: your friend is at a career crossroads… What would you say to persuade them to consider tech?
You're always working on something new and helping other people. You’ll find so many people who are really passionate about what they do. It’s a fun, fast paced industry to work in and you never do the same thing. And to be honest, I made the change and I think it's fantastic. I'd never go back!
Got any words of advice for newcomers?
One of the things that always put me off when I was trying to apply is information overload! I kept Googling ‘What do I need? What qualifications should I have?’ and there’d be a hundred different opinions telling me a hundred different things! Most people would say you need a computer science degree — which is obviously quite off putting for a lot of people.
To be honest, I think the best place to start is by going straight to the employer who’s in your field of interest. Ask for advice and tell them what you’re thinking – ‘I’ve not got the experience right now, but I’m willing and enthusiastic about learning more.’ You might not have a job by the end of it, but at the very least you’ll come away knowing what you need to work towards.
What does innovation mean to you?
Out of the box thinking. Making people's lives easier. It doesn’t have to be the coolest tech, it's more about what it does and whether it solves the problem in hand!
Any last words?
Don't be afraid to fail. Don't be scared to ask questions or to just try.
Learn, try, fail, learn again.