Interview with Patrick: Software tester with a thirst for discovery
Hi Patrick. You have already been working at Soloplan for 8 years–first as an apprentice and since 2016 in the quality assurance department. What exactly are your areas of responsibility there?
In the quality assurance department, we are responsible for the functionality and user-friendliness of our software CarLo. As soon as new CarLo versions are available for testing, we test them with our standard tests, among others. I am also responsible for assigning these standard tests to my colleagues.
What does your typical everyday work look like in the quality assurance department?
Normally, my day starts by testing OPs. OPs are so-called “open points” in which colleagues from the service or project management department, for example, describe special requirements of a customer. This includes general new functions in CarLo, but also customer-specific extensions such as interfaces.
I test the implemented requirements from the OP within our CarLo software and document them in the CarLo index of changes and the manual–for customer-specific extensions, I also write individual customer documentations. We have divided the areas in our team: My main focus is on the CarLo modules inSTORE, inSCAN, inAIR&SEA and general CarLo functions. Additionally, I also take care of the index of changes for our customers, in which all changes of the new version are listed.
How many OPs do you work on in a day?
That always depends on how large the OP to be tested is and how much I need to document. Some OP tests take a couple of hours, others several days. Our CarLo software is continuously growing and the extent of every OP varies extremely for that reason.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Contrary to popular opinion, the tasks are not monotonous at all. I think when some people hear the term “quality assurance”, they only think of a fixed list that is repeatedly worked through on the computer, which is, of course, decidedly not the case.
The OP tests range from smaller text adjustments that have been added/revised to large interfaces and completely new programme areas. Accordingly, you then need to familiarise yourself with new logics and functions that did not exist before. Doing that, you always learn something new–especially with customer-specific OPs as all customers have different requirements regarding the programme. I am always happy about successfully testing an OP and knowing that customers will be working with the OP soon.
During your apprenticeship for management assistant in IT systems, you have worked in various departments at Soloplan. Which ones did you work in? And why did you choose to work in the quality assurance department?
At the time, I worked in the service, administration, IT and quality assurance departments. That allowed me to get a clear picture of my interests and skills. I particularly liked the quality assurance, as I wanted to do something that is very diverse, and working independently was very important for me.
In your opinion, what qualities does a QA employee need to bring to the table?
A certain amount of natural curiosity and being able to think outside the box are good qualities to have. You should be able to familiarise yourself with new functions and logics and to clearly distinguish between wanted and unwanted behaviour. Good communication skills and some patience are also required so that you are able to clarify unwanted behaviour until it is fully corrected in our development department. Good language skills are also important–especially for creating documentations and error reports in German and English.
What is your team spirit like in the QA department?
My colleagues are fantastic. We all really support each other–be it in terms of open questions regarding CarLo or any other area. All of my colleagues have gained their own experience in different programme areas through their testing and, therefore, I often have a contact person in case of any uncertainties. Furthermore, every two weeks we have a team meeting where we discuss various topics–what is currently going on, what is coming up soon and what needs to be clarified. Thus, you never feel like you are completely on your own.
What are your goals for the next years? Do you see your future at Soloplan?
I would like to take part in special further trainings to gather even more knowledge in the field of quality assurance. In that regard, Soloplan offers its employees great opportunities. Generally, I am very happy with my job and I definitely want to keep working at Soloplan.
One last question: Why should young people start a career in the IT industry?
The IT industry is very future-proof, as IT meanwhile keeps the whole world running. The sectors in which IT is used are so huge and different, which means that everyone can find the right one for them–for example, the logistics software here at Soloplan. Additionally, many young people are very interested in IT in their spare time. In that case, it is even more fun to work in that area.
You also want to become part of Soloplan?
Then take a look at our open positions–we look forward to receiving your application!