QA analysts are testers and problem-solvers, and a critical part of any software development process. Here we sit down with Inviqa’s Dalia Valaskeviciene to learn more about the role and life at Inviqa.
How did you come to be a QA analyst?
After I graduated I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue studying chemistry, so I spent around 10 years in admin positions instead. I was keen to make the shift from those roles to a more technical position, and I’m really happy I made the move to quality assurance (QA). It really helped that having a formal education in the field was not a must-have!
Why QA? And why Inviqa?
My admin roles weren’t providing the kind of analytical tasks I was craving and didn’t give me the flexibility I needed as a parent, so I decided to look at web development which seemed like a good fit for my needs.
A QA analyst position is a very good place to start when you’re not exactly sure which path to take in web development. So I jumped at the opportunity when my employer Inviqa opened-up a QA trainee position just as I was returning from maternity leave.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
My daily responsibilities can vary quite a bit. It all depends on the type of project I’m working on and which phase we’re in during a project.
You might assume that testing is tedious work, but no two projects are alike! As soon as something gets repetitive, we find tools to make life easier.
When I’m working on a Scrum or Lean Kanban project some of my time is spent attending daily and weekly ceremonies to understand the product. Then I spend time test planning and making sure that I understand what needs to be tested to gain confidence in the feature/product.
When a product feature is released, I spend time running tests, talking to the team and the client about additional information that always comes up in this stage, reporting test results, and feeding back any suggestions for improvement. Keeping an eye on the market and making sure we have relevant devices is also key to my role and to making sure our testing provides adequate market coverage.
What have you found most challenging?
Being a complete novice in web development in my thirties!
It’s never easy leaving your comfort zone. But two years after starting a brand-new career (with a lot of help and patience from colleagues), I was leading the QA process across my projects.
I’ve been really lucky to work at a company with a great learning culture that’s helping people to gain new skills and stay ahead in their professions.
The other challenging thing was learning to talk in a way that makes people listen and understand. I now know much more about communication and how to raise bugs effectively so that they’re picked up quickly. Simply stating that a piece of software does not work is not enough! There are a lot of visual communication methods we need to use to help our teams to manage and fix bugs.
A lot of the feedback I raise could be perceived as criticism, so it’s really important to maintain healthy relationships with your colleagues and never get personal. When we make mistakes in web development, most of the time it’s because of something we didn’t know until we discovered a bug.
Where does the QA analyst role fit in the wider dev team?
From the outset we try to help development teams accept quality assurance as an integral part of development. Ideally, the QA process needs to be implemented before development work starts. Because, to make a feature or product testable, we need data and for the system to be built in a certain way.
There’s upfront work associated with this and it’s important that it’s done on time. We also need the team to be part of test feedback and the process for that needs to be set early and then guided until it’s fully adopted by the team.
What career paths are open to you as a QA analyst?
There are several paths you can take after reaching certain skill levels in software testing.
When I started, I was thinking about becoming a business analyst (BA) next because QA analysts and business analysts get to work closely on a project.
However, now that I know web development better, and know myself better, I’ve decided to grow my skills in the QA space, and potentially test automation in the future.
What's your best advice for someone looking to become a QA analyst?
Get hands-on experience as soon as you can! Just like writing code, testing cannot be learned from a book or watching a tutorial, and experience is more valuable than anything else on your CV.
What's your favourite thing about life at Inviqa?
The people and the learning culture! We have a welcoming and warm community that feels like family. The company supports and invests in my professional growth, and there’s time and budget allocated for training and attending relevant conferences.
My colleagues are always ready to help out and advise whenever I need it.
What inspires you?
Brilliant, creative people (and I’m surrounded by them at Inviqa!). My biggest inspirations have been the women around me: my mum and my grandmother, my close friends, and my colleagues.
What are your interests outside work?
My spare time goes to my family (I am lucky to have a big one!) and friends. I’m equally happy enjoying cosy evening at home with good food or explore the wonderful sights and shows of London with family.