My thanks to my interviewer today for a QA job for helping me get some ducks in a row about this…
Both my Missus and I have worked for several years now in QA. We have tested different products and worked for different companies but occassionally in the same buildings.
I stumbled into QA from GIS after testing some validation software my employer created for 3rd Party Geo-data suppliers. I discovered that I enjoyed the methodological, structured work and the challenge of ensuring that the customer/ end-user gets a stable, quality product that answers their original need. I think it all stems from being the little kid who stole his Dad’s toolbox and tried to figure out why appliances didn’t work properly by disassembling them.
However, QA is not without its own challenges; from the constant challenge of that one developer who cannot reproduce your bugs in a Dev environment, schedules that end up shortening due to prior commitments, delayed builds arriving late at night to test and so on.
Note please, I said challenges. Why? Because these are not negatives. These are things that as you progress you learn the best way to deal with for the particular company you are working at.
Each company has its own particular culture. This may be defined by the product, or new cutting edge technology, the need to be first to market or the amount of cash available. The work culture is also defined by the people. The employees have a huge part in how the work envinronment is and the nature of work between QA and R&D can be a challenge in its own right.
I have been lucky enough to be faced with these challenges and benefitted from some great bosses, leaders in their fields who have influenced me in many ways.
Some of the most fruitful days I have spent as a QA Manager have been hands-on testing, working with a Developer and gradually together finding the best way for us to work.
I have blogged several times previously about collaboration (tools and methods) and how only shared information is power (in fact empowering).
A QA Manager has to wear many hats sometimes you feel like a hostage negotiator but with all the satisfaction to be found in the management side nothing will replace the hands-on testing and work opposite Developers. Not just because its fun to work with smart people.