Alistair B.

QA Automation Engineer
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Alistair B.
Mathematics and Computer Science
United Kingdom

My employment

QA Automation Engineer
Mind Candy
United Kingdom

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A day in the life of a QA Automation Engineer in the United Kingdom

What I do

I work in 2-week agile sprints, in which I take a piece of functionality, decide the steps that will be followed to execute it, then work to write the code that will execute these steps, as well as capturing information from the system for it to use in diagnosing that the system state is as it should be at each of these steps.

Skills I use and how I developed them

While the subject of my degree was valuable, as well as the institution at which I studied, the most valued part of my degree was the industrial placement, and the kickstart it gave me in experience. I was able to use this to get a good grounding to carry into my first job, which gave me the skills and knowledge I need to excel in this one. On top of this, the variety of topics I studied gave me a grounding I have used to build a deep interest in many open source projects that I was able to talk about at interview, helping me secure the job in the first place.

Degree skills:
The most valuable skill I learned during my studies, was that of independent learning. By using this outside of an academic environment I have been able to build greatly on my skillset. This and the start that my studies gave me in algorithmic thinking and object oriented design have allowed me to take on many interesting technical challenges, all of which I have learnt from.

What I like most

I am given the freedom to approach these tasks as I see fit, and to manage my own workload. This means that I can ensure that I'm constantly challenged and never short of something to do - if I finish a feature before the end of a sprint I can always pull in more work. On top of this I work with some really great people.

How I found out about the job

Recruitment event

The recruitment process

I first met this company at a Silicon Milkroundabout event, and applied through their website later. I was then brought in to interview for a QA Engineer role, however a few weeks into my new role, I was given the opportunity to switch to a test automation role.

My career history

I design and write automated tests for a highly dynamic massively multiplayer online Flash game for children (Moshi Monsters.

Courses taken since graduation

ISEB Intermediate Certification in Software Testing

My advice to students considering work

Work on at least one spare time project during your studies, whether it's a game, a website, a blog, or contributing to an open source project. Take part in Ludum Dare contests and the like, and generally do anything you can to challenge and stretch yourself. Do all of this and you will make contacts that could be useful later on, you will have a portfolio to show potential employers, and you will have many opportunities to pick up skills that others will only pick up during further study, or years into their career. Most of all it will prove your drive and your passion in attempting to get the career you want.

My advice about working in my industry

Work your rear end off on projects that will show off your passion and ability. In the end my employers would look a lot more favourably on a graduate with a lower class of degree but a proven track record than they would at a student with first class honours who had done nothing else. At the same time, make the most of your time at university - you have more time than you will ever have again to dedicate to sports and hobbies, and to building friendships that will last you the rest of your life.

Next steps...

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