Heather Carter

Communication and coordination are important aspects of being a test engineer, according to Heather Carter from global tech consultancy, Saggezza.

While studying Software Engineering at University, I came to realise my passions lay in software testing, unlike most of my fellow students who were planning on becoming developers. Often, people in the industry are unaware there is a career to be had in testing, but being a test engineer is incredibly rewarding.

What is software testing?

Software testing is the act of evaluating and understanding a software product to ensure it is working the way it’s supposed to. There are a number of different approaches to testing the behaviour of products and applications, but the most common methods we use at Saggezza are end-to-end testing, exploratory testing, integration testing, user acceptance testing and pair testing.

  • End to End (E2E) testing involves testing the functionality and performance of an application using a real user scenario from start to finish.
  • Integration testing is where all the individual components of the software are combined and tested together to check the integration between units.
  • Exploratory testing is a type of testing that involves minimum planning and maximum test execution, which allows users to think outside the box.
  • User Acceptance testing is when you test software to make sure it can do what it originally set out to in real-world situations.
  • Pair testing is when two people test the same scenario together, sharing best practice with one another.

What does a typical day look like for a test engineer?

Like a lot of job roles, I begin my day checking emails and messages which usually dictates how I will map out my day in terms of tasks.

At Saggezza, we have a stand up call each morning, which involves my team discussing the work that was completed the day before and what we will work on that day. It’s a great chance to catch up with people working on the same project to discuss any bugs that may have been found in a software product or application, and it also gives us the chance to ask any questions before we start the day.

Once we’re all caught up, my day mostly consists of testing applications the team are building. We’ll also have meetings throughout the week to discuss projects and plan work for the next sprint.

The great thing about being a test engineer is that every day is different.

What skills do you need to be a test engineer?

As a test engineer, two of the most important aspects are communication and coordination.

You need to be able to collaborate with developers in order to understand how each other works and show them how you test, allowing for you both to manage workloads efficiently and seamlessly. And don’t be afraid to ask questions, there’s no such thing as a silly question when you’re a test engineer.

You will also have to juggle multiple tasks at once, so you need to be able to coordinate your day effectively and communicate with your team, especially when working on larger tasks such as setting up an automation framework.

What can we do to inspire more women to explore careers in tech?  

For me, I want to try and get more women into tech by doing talks in colleges and universities. There needs to be more women in tech and in order to do that we need to get more people passionate about it by starting at primary school level, not just university level.

Technology is still very much a male dominated industry, however, the number of women choosing to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects is on the rise and many organisations like Saggezza are working to address this imbalance.

As the industry continues to develop with more female role models, I think young girls will be able to see themselves working in the industry and have a better understanding of what they can achieve. Testing is an amazing career and one that I hope more young women continue to consider.