Let’s welcome Pearl Christie our guest from Richmond, Texas, USA. She will tell us about her journey as a Software Quality Assurance Engineer with a focus on enabling customer success and improving business outcomes through better software experiences.
Hope it will inspire a lot of you who are looking for inspiration during your career journey. I hope this reminds you to know your career is full of opportunities to learn, adapt and grow. Go and embrace that !
Part 1: Role Introduction
Tell us about your experience, background?
Growing up I was not like most of my other schoolmates who knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. However, during my youth, I enjoyed looking for ways to improve the digital experience for customers on my very first computer. Years later, I graduated with my computer science degree in hand and was ready to tackle the corporate world head on. At the start of my career, I was not aware of the testing profession.
In fact, my first job was as a software support analyst for an oil and gas application. In that role, I was taking in new customer feature requests or communicating software bugs for the software development team to fix. I knew after that job, I wanted to help catch these bugs to create a better customer experience. That was the role of a tester. I had my first QA Engineer job at Halliburton where I focused on just that. Now, I still love the profession more than ever and have 8 years total in it.
How do you cope / deal with with the product ?
I ask a lot of questions! I love to go on the hunt to identify what that product achieves for the company, and how it helps the customers. I think it is critical to understand the business domain and it’s customer usage to better understand a product offering. Another key skill is the ability to work effectively among the team so that you can learn from each other to create a better product experience.
Do you get the chance to work with technical/functional teams? How was the experience ?
All the time! I often love to understand how the application or product works technically to bridge my understanding on how to effectively test. I also interact with business stakeholders to identify intended application use that could help mitigate risk during my testing efforts.
What’s your take on Agile Software Delivery?
In my second role at HSF Affiliates, we practiced agile in 2 week sprints. Working in an agile fashion, team members develop working software iteratively. Agile is a mindset, and the whole team is responsible for the quality of the product. The beauty of this allows us to work closely with customers to demo workable software early and adjust our product vision/course in a flexible manner.
Part 2: Leading with the customer first mindset
What’s your approach in your role?
I consider myself as a customer advocate. Although, I work directly within a technical team I identify ways to incorporate client feedback into my testing efforts. When I test, I consider the user experience for each stakeholder who would use the product and test it accordingly to identify risks and issues early. I also ask myself as I test, is this helpful to the customer? Is it intuitive? Working closely with customers and the business product owner, it enables the team to gain greater insight into this information.
What are the required skills to consider in adopting a customer first mindset ?
Customer empathy is number one. At the end of the day, the product is for the customers. Understanding how we can test the working product with that focus in mind enables us to deliver value. Second, Curiosity is a key skill. The ability to ask questions and seek answers enable testers to gain domain knowledge. The third, is the ability to adapt and to continue learning. Learning never ends.
Do you have experience working with a Difficult Customer ? if yes, How Did You Resolve the Situation? and what you learnt from this experience ?
Yes! You just can’t avoid that when working in a IT support environment. My first job was in customer support. I remember we had just 3 days in training before we were needed to answer calls. You need to stay calm and professional when working with difficult customers.Understand that the customer needs to know that their issue will be resolved and that they can trust you. First, understand the actual problem by gathering information from the customer. Second, communicate that you will help them resolve the problem and when you would follow up with them if there is no immediate answer. Difficult customers need to know that they can trust you.
Part 3: Keep yourself motivated
How Do You Keep Yourself Motivated adding always value to your role?
I collaborate with the team to understand how I could best help them. In this way, I am always learning and helping others. In addition, I evolve by learning about new perspectives from others and taking courses to evolve myself in this practice.
Tell us about your experience with Salesforce technology?
I was part of HSF Affiliates first Salesforce adoption project. The company wanted to transition into using this technology and I played a key role in supporting the data migration test efforts. As part of the project, I kept myself up to speed with Trailhead, Salesforce’s learning platform. I became addicted with the ease of use and badges awarded after each trail, aka lesson completion. Salesforce is an awesome customer relationship management tool that integrates key business processes in order to help drive better efficiency for an organization and its customers. And, I am loving the learning journey! I actively hold 2 Salesforce certifications!
Part 4: conclusion
What advice do you give for both junior testers who want to apply in such role without having direct experience with customers?
If you love the idea of helping businesses create quality software, then testing is a great profession to be a part of. Never stop learning. You will find that even experienced testers keep up to stay on the latest trends and to continuously learn from one another.
How do you see your career growth ?
That’s an interesting question that I have thought about for a while. I would love to see myself advancing the profession by teaching agile testing to teams in a lead/coaching role. Currently, I am embarking on a mission to become a well rounded tester and I am learning coding & test automation skills with the hopes of contributing to it in my next job as well!!
How are you being supported?
I have loving parents, an awesome sister, an amazing husband and a beautiful daughter ( just 2 ½ years old) that remind me to keep going and push forward with my dreams.
Anything else you want to share with the testing community ?
Never stop believing in yourself. Life is an adventure. Have fun!
Thank you so much Pearl for taking part of this interview, I’m really pleased to welcome you.
I’m sure it will inspire lots of testers who work from end user side.
- Interview #1: Being a Freelancer from Tester Perspective
- Interview #2: Driving quality forward with a customer first mindset