I’m pleased to run the 13th interview in our #testerstory series with our guest Leonardo Corrales from Uruguay. He will tell us about his experience being a Software Tester from scratch, the magic progress he made in his career from an accountant to Tester in different position including being a teacher, a community leader to a Chief Operating Officer.
It will definitly inspire lots of you and give you lots of great insights useful in your career as a tester.
Part 1: Introduction
- Tell us about your experience, background?
Well, I’ve been working in this area since 2007 and I have participated in so many roles, such as Junior, Semi Senior, Senior, Team Leader, Consultant, Teacher, and now as COO. I’ve worked in different companies, both government and private, such as Social Security Cover for uruguayans, Livestock Traceability and banks.
I was always lucky enough to work in big projects, which allowed me to learn a lot. Having the possibility to interact with many different roles is very important to our growth. What is most striking is probably the fact that I’m not a Software Engineer, but I have trained 100% in Software Quality.
- Sounds like you have a different background, which is really great for the testing industry. The more we have diversity the more we are more creative while pairing together as testers. Can you tell us how you joined the world of software testing?
In 2005, I started my studies as an Accountant at university and that year I started working in a finance company too. I worked there for two years, until 2007, when a friend told me about a software company that was in need of people with accounting knowledge. It marked a turning point in my life, the idea of becoming an Accounting professional was slowly disappearing from my mind to begin the journey to the person I am today.
In that job interview I discovered the existence of something called “Software Testing”. To be honest, I had never heard anyone talk about that before. The interviewers were interested in my profile and they asked me to take a SQL test (what was that? I had no idea). YouTube wasn’t a source to study at that time, so I got a 200-page book and started reading and making queries on a sheet of paper. In summary, I began working as a Software Tester.
It was a tough start for me, I was working on a huge project which had a strong impact on the economy of my country. I was one of the people responsible to test business calculations. Numbers were the only thing I could understand; everything else was very new to me (Regression, release, merge, coverage, etc.). It was a hard but rewarding learning process. The willingness to learn is above everything else.
Nowadays, after so many years working in this industry, I have learned that, if you want to be good at this role you’ll need a magical mix: Technological Knowledge + Business Knowledge + Testing Knowledge + Critical Spirit.
Our profile is really interesting and I think that’s what I like most. Thanks to the different variety of backgrounds, I can say that our area is unique and it’s an inexhaustible source of synergy.
- Making such change requires huge courage to overcome the fear of new beginnings in a completely different career path.
How did you get that courage ?
I consider myself a very restless person who likes to be constantly on the move. Since a long time ago I have only focused on Software Testing and all my tasks revolve around this. I’ve learned that if we want to keep growing, in any area, we should never stop challenging ourselves. Step outside the comfort zone and face our own fears are an important part of that growth.
There is no learning or growth if we spend years of our lives doing the same thing over and over. So, getting into the IT industry wasn’t an easy decision. Taking the first step is always the hardest part.
Part 2: First Experience as a Tester
- Tell us more about your first challenge as a tester ? and how you felt about your career choice ?
Since I was new and had no previous experience in the field, I was a simple Test Case Executor. There were Test Analysts who designed test cases which then were assigned to me. My desk used to be full of functional requirements, pencils and calculators. Since I joined the team until the start of production, everything was so intense; I had to work overtime, even on Saturdays. I was really aware of the impact that this development would have in my country and how much it would affect people’s out-of-pocket costs. I just felt that I was a part of something really important so I tried to do my best. At that moment, my accounting studies were useful.
- What are the things you got from your previous experience as an administrator in a finance company that helped you in your testing career?
Well, actually it didn’t really provide me tools to be better at testing itself, but it helped me to understand the importance of teamwork, organization, and concentration, which I consider a cornerstone in carrying out any task successfully.
- What are the steps or skills that you think are mandatory to be a tester?
In my opinion, the soft skills play a fundamental role here. Is it important to have technical knowledge? Of course! But what matters most, I think, is to find a special person who has skills that just aren’t taught at universities or courses.
In 2014, I gave a talk during an event entitled “Can anyone be a tester?”.
There I mentioned four crucial soft skills to be a tester:
∙ Lateral and creative thinking
Part 3: Software Testing Teacher
- Such an inspiring move to coaching you made ! Tell us what’s inspired you the most ?
During the global COVID-19 pandemic, many work opportunities arrived to me, including the chance to have my first real experience as a Testing teacher. Being at home all day was a real eye-opener and it allowed me to look towards new horizons. As I said earlier, I am a restless person.
Honestly, I had never imagined it would be so interesting and intellectually challenging, it is a role where you are exposed and need to be constantly learning. It forces you to study so much more and you can also learn every time a student asks a question. I truly recommend.
- Being a testing teacher, did you change your vision toward testing ?
Without a doubt. We need more and better trainers. I don’t know the reality in many countries, but I find it unbelievable that there’s such a short time dedicated to something as important as Software Testing in a Software Engineering Degree.
- How do you evaluate your students ? and the fact that someone can be a good future tester?
At the end of each unit, my students have the possibility to approach both individual and group activities.
At the beginning of the lessons I always ask everyone to turn their webcams on, not because I want to see if they are good-looking or bleary-eyed, but because I want to see their reactions to what I am teaching!
I have to be honest. From my point of view, not just because you are studying testing it means that you’re going to be good at it. Not all students have the conditions that I think they should have to be good testers. I believe that it’s fundamental to be proactive, ask lots of questions all the time, and I really appreciate if they want to talk with me outside of class because I feel like they are interested and care about the topics.
Part 4: Get Out of your Comfort Zone
- Another magic move, being a company leader tell us more about it
Yes, it was something that happened gradually. Nothing happens by chance. When you plant a tree, you cannot see the results the next day. You need to take care of it during its first few years if you want it to grow strong and healthy. You need to be constant and the results show up when you least expect it.
All my work was recognized bit by bit and it attracted the attention of some people who offered me to be part of Quassure, a Software Testing Company which was founded in 2013. Currently, I am the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and I’m very happy with the challenge that this represents.
- But this is not the only thing. You were the founder of the latin America community “Under Test”
That’s true. It was a crazy idea that exceeded my expectations. Under Test is a community with Latin people from all over the world (Latin America, Spain, England, China and Australia). We are here to help all the people who are beginning a Testing career as well as those who are already working on this.
Currently, we are present on Slack (https://bit.ly/under-test-slack), Telegram (https://t.me/Under_Test) and we are evaluating other ways to continue to grow. Under Test has been growing steadily at an average of 20 per cent a month. At the moment, there are 1500 members and rising!
- What are the things that you would have done differently in your career if you had the choice ?
Looking back on time, I would have liked to be more proactive. When I first started my career, I used to consider Testing as a full time job only. Today it’s a key part of my life and I invest much more time on this than 8 hours.
Part 5: Conclusion
- What advice can you give for testers or non testers who want to choose which career path is the most suitable for them ?
Choose a path that allows you to follow your passion, don’t go for a career just because it makes money. Remember, you will have to work on that for 8 hours (or even more) and for many, many years.
- Anything else you want to share with the testing community ?
We can and we must keep growing. Softwares need us!
Thank you so much Leonardo for being part of this #testerstory and for sharing your magical journey being a software tester from a different background and the progress you made to become a COO and a software testing teacher…
Also for the useful tips you got from the mixture of different domains with testing. Indeed the trend today to be a T-shaped tester with adaptable and creative mindset to live in this fast changing world.
I encourage you to continue your brillant journey, wish you all the best in your career.
Thank you for reading this new #testerstory ! Get inspired by previous series you can find them via this link
You also ? Do you have a ‘testing story’ that you want to share via an interview in this blog format ?