Women in testing

 

 

During preparations for Belgrade Test Conference 2017 we had a chance to work with great QA professionals. Considering women are still a minority in IT, we wanted to tell a story of our women speakers and motivate future ones :)

 

  1. Why did you become a tester?

 

Minja – QA Lead @Catena media

I become a tester by accident. I finished Faculty of Electrical Engineering and started my carreer in one telecommunication company. I couldn’t find myself there, so I started to search new job opportunity. During the time I saw that one outsource company in Belgrade looking for the junior QA. I didn’t know anything about this role, so I started to ask my friends and to inform more on the internet. I had basic Linux knowledge, I was curious and had good troubleshoot understanding. I went to the interview and I got the job :).

 

Andrea – QA Engineer @Codeplicity

When, few years ago, I was still working as a journalist, at some point I have realized that I’ve been running in circles for some time. At that time, journalism as I know it started to get very unappreciated and you were not able to live from it. So, I was determined to change something in my life and not to settle down, waiting for sunny days. I decided to get my own sunlight and I have enrolled new college, with module: Information Technology. In that moment I still did not know that testing existed in IT world. However, when I got an offer to start as QA in one IT company, I started investigating more and more each day about this profession, realizing that this is what I want to do. Of course that this job has its material perks, but it is much more about place where you can develope yourself, learn, investigate, meet various people, share knowledge and get appreciated for the things you know and do.

 

Kamila – Quality Engineer @Objectivity

When I first became a tester I didn’t even know it was a real job. I was testing my favourite game – World of Warcraft – without any benefits. But when the time came to choose my first job I decided to follow my passion not my education (I have a degree in civil engineering and geology). Now I can tell that I became tester to do what I love and what I am good at.

 

Jyothi – Test Manager @AstraZeneca

I joined LG, Bangalore as a software tester in 2005. I started testing and asking questions that were not asked earlier.
The feedback that I received from programmers, clients, colleagues during the initial 2 years of testing (and later too), helped me realize that I have made the right career choice.

 

Milica – Head of QA for Development and Operations @Prodyna

I find QA something like a link between programming and management.  Having a wide range of interest, this is the perfect place that connects so many different aspects (eye for details, responsibility, persistence, languages, creative writing, logical thinking etc.)

 

Julia – Manager of Testing Area @Software Labs of Indra

By chance! I am from a small town called Badajoz, near the border with Portugal. In 2005 I worked as a developer in Madrid, but Indra, my current company, offered me a job in Badajoz as a tester. Why not?! I began to read many articles and information about testing, everything I found, from Lisa Crispin, Dorothy Graham. And I fell in love with Testing!

 

  1. How do you see QA community and its growth in your country? 

 

Minja – QA Lead @Catena media

When I started as a QA, our community wasn’t so strong and spread. I had feeling that small number of people is working as a QA. During the time things changed, and community is spreading rapidly. We have Test RS Club which gathers all QAs from Serbia, and from time the time we have some events related to testing. Also four years ago we didn’t have our own testing conference in Belgrade, and now we have :)

 

Kamila – Quality Engineer @Objectivity

Just take a look at this map of QA communities in Poland prepared by Marta Firlej (below). We have very strong community with many activists and many specialists in their fields. We may be very young and not that experienced compared to the communities in the world, but we are passionate and very active. Right now we struggle between two topics – helping new people become testers and helping experienced testers grow stronger and better.

 

 

 

Jyothi – Test Manager @AstraZeneca

The local community in India needs growth, traditional testing groups are rampant around me.
I would like for thinking tester community to grow in leaps and bounds.
We need more testers to look out for learning opportunities and come be a part of the testing community.
We need sponsors / companies who do not ask ‘what’s in it for me’ but instead create a space for learning (for themselves and others).

 

Milica – Head of QA for Development and Operations @Prodyna

I feel that the QA community just exploded in the past two years and that there are more and more job offerings but our country is lacking in education in this field. A a lot of people are doing this job as a necessity and salary, without real affection and this can be a problem for these people later on because the technology is expanding each day and our knowledge has to grow with it simultaneously. You need to have a bit of passion for this in order to keep increasing quality of your work as well as the quality of the software that you are working on. Especially in the IT field, you cannot stay in one place.

 

  1. Why do you think women are still a minority in QA and IT in general? 

 

Andrea – QA Engineer @Codeplicity

In global, I think that whole IT profession is still “male” field in Serbia. Why? Well, young girls are often drawn away from computers from early ages. Most of the parents often use excuses like “computers are for boys and dancing is for girls” when they are deciding what their child shall be doing in free time. Don’t get me wrong. I am not all into that children should spend all their spare time in front of the computers. However, if you introduce these machines and their possibilities to young girls, maybe you will see that you child have much more skills towards IT than you have imagined? Give your children opportunity to see what is behind the monitor. It is not only boys toy. Girls can be extraordinary IT professionals as well.
As for older, grown up women that are doubting themselves… I encourage them to take a leap of faith. Until I did not set in front of the computer and started investigating IT world, I did not know if it is for me, if I can swim with IT sharks, and conquer them… It is not easy but it is exciting and beautiful when you discover a whole new world. By getting more courage and stop thinking that this is only boys playground, girls themselves will make a breakthrough in this field…

 

Kamila – Quality Engineer @Objectivity

Well, I do not think that. At least not in our country in the QA field. From experience I can say that QA field have even the majority of women. You can see that during our local meetings. We even have a group Girls Who Tests – check them out!

Yet of course women may be the minority in the IT in general. I think this may be caused that by gender women may be less brave and more honest. This causes a lot of problems during recrutation. Some women I know do not even go for recitations because they do not feel “fit for a job”.

 

Jyothi – Test Manager @AstraZeneca

This, I owe the credit to those powerful by title (both men and women) who do not encourage the women but instead curb their growth for reasons such as ‘My growth is all that I care for’. Or their narrow mindedness like ‘If I let her/them grow then I may lose something’.
Need more broad minded people focused on learning and not those who just play by the rules. But break them to carve a path for themselves before they advice others to follow some standards set by others. I mean how cliched it is.

 

Julia – Manager of Testing Area @Software Labs of Indra

I really do not know, maybe information is missing. IT in general, and QA in particular, offer really good conditions to work, great opportunities to develop your professional career. I know there are awesome initiatives to report on all these benefits, and we all have to work to make this reality changes.

 

 

  1. Has this gender imbalance caused any challenges in your career?

 

Minja – QA Lead @Catena media

No, at all. Think that is cause I went to Electrotechnical School and also after that on Electrotechnical University where I was surrounded by men mostly, and in my career I didn’t have any problems or challenges.
In my current company I’m only women in the team, and it is so great to work with such gentlemen and wonderful people.

 

Andrea – QA Engineer @Codeplicity

As for me, I had that luck that I always had great colleagues who did not see me as a girl but as IT professional. Only challenges that I had were those in my head. I had to overcome the fact that I am not a 20 years old girl, freshly enrolled/finished college, and that I still have strength to learn in this ages and to roll the dice one more time. I had to embrace new world, new habits, new way of thinking. It is not gender issue that might cause you to fail in here. It is all about wanting and not giving up. IT world is the place where you will be always learning and I advice those, who are not prepared for this,  to either change their habits or to find another place to grow their careers.

 

Jyothi – Test Manager @AstraZeneca

Several, I am unhappy with how women are ill-treated by other women in power. It’s a shame. The men do not care, all the growth opportunities go to the other men because.. (I don’t know the why yet?). There may be some good leaders out there, but am yet to find them around me. I am happy though to have found mentors many, who care but unfortunately I have not worked directly with them.

I am doing my bit to encourage women to be bold and courageous and not to be subservient to anyone.
Focus on your creative work and stay away from all the office politics which you definitely do not need to be involved in.
Look for opportunities of growth without being hand held by anyone, a little help means someone would ask for a favor in return which may not be always ethical and can hurt your integrity.

 

Julia – Manager of Testing Area @Software Labs of Indra

Of course, a lot! Maybe it was what attracted me to IT. There was a lot of work to be done to improve the situation. There is still today.

 

  1. Your message to future women testers and speakers :)

 

Minja – QA Lead @Catena media

Testing is really great profession, which allows people to develop lot of skills and to explore new technologies and things. My recommendation for all women in tech is to try, cause you’ll never know how interesting can be :)

 

Andrea – QA Engineer @Codeplicity

Be prepared to learn constantly. Be prepared to sometimes cry and wish to break that ugly-face machine that you have to look at every day. Be prepared to be happy every time you find a bug and every time it is fixed on time. Be prepared to fall, be prepared to get up on your feet again. Be prepared. If you are not, someone else will be. This can be your dream job or your nightmare and what will it be, it is totally up to you. One thing to keep in mind, if you step into this world prepared, courageous, curious, I bet that you will find that it is for girls just as much as dancing…

 

Kamila – Quality Engineer @Objectivity

Be kind and be brave! IT world needs more women like You.

 

Jyothi – Test Manager @AstraZeneca

Expand your knowledge sources.
Bring out the best in you by focusing on your strengths.
Take other women with you on this learning journey.
Try to be as far away from all the negativity around you.
There are several awesome testers around you, network with them. They don’t bite :)

 

Milica – Head of QA for Development and Operations @Prodyna

Every fear is conquered by knowledge. You have to fight for yourself because no one will fight your battles. Please give initiatives through gatherings, knowledge workshops etc. If you want to learn something new everyday and always move forward, then this is a job for you. You are in charge of the quality and there is no better satisfaction knowing that you are asserting quality to a product, which is going to be used by hundreds of thousands of people :)

 

Julia – Manager of Testing Area @Software Labs of Indra

IT and all women that work in IT need you! Come with us to make a better future for all :)

 

 

 

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