Interview with Motty: My journey from QA Engineer to Software Developer

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Motty ( Far Left) with some Titaners in our overseas office!

Motty joined Titansoft as a Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer in our QA department and has since moved on to our software development team. We sit down with him to have a chat about his journey and insights!

Firstly, Congrats on your new promotion! How do you feel about it?
Great! This is the 2nd time I am applying through the PD self-promotion process. I did pass the technical component but did not manage to clear the second interview due to other reasons. However, I was not demotivated but was instead encouraged to learn more and try harder to improve based on feedback. The PD promotion criteria provided is just a guideline that helps you to assess how you are doing. My department manager and team mates also created opportunities for me and it was on my own part to accept these challenges to grow. 

Due to Scrum adoption a couple of years ago, most QAs were transferred to our software development teams, can you share your transition journey with us?
During the initial phase we were given the option to remain in a compliance team or move to the development department. I knew it would be a challenge in the first few months but I still wanted to try. Previously I worked in an environment where my job involved collecting requirements and talking with the customers which I enjoyed aside from just doing testing.

I feel that every challenge was an opportunity to learn something new so I was happy to take it on.

It took me 5-6months to fully assimilate into the development department. My previous department consisted of 9 members. When I transferred to the development department it was much larger at 40-members and I was aware that the dynamics would be very different.I also needed to be familiar with working culture not only within team but also within the department.

What about the different skill set requirements?
There was a different requirement of skill sets, even though I already had programming knowledge but it was probably not in-depth for a normal developer at that time, I just needed to enhance those skills to help the team to deliver the product. To do this I used to spend some time after hours in office to learn some tutorials which I got from teams and department managers.

Wow, that takes a lot of discipline, what interests you to do all this?
The IT industry is very competitive so you can’t just stick to the knowledge you started out with. I asked myself, if everyone can do this what makes me different from others? I try to expand my own skill set and explore the areas I am passionate about in a more in-depth manner.

Speaking of- What’s your passion?
The success or accomplishment that I feel starts from collecting requirements for a particular project till the product delivery. Throughout the process, whatever I can do I do it with passion thereby providing an end-to-end service.

What are some challenges faced?

  • Gaining a deeper understanding of legacy code
  • Understanding the needs of the team
  • Production Support

 To overcome these, I can check with the senior PDS  if some topics are difficult to understand, not only when it comes to programming or software development processes but for other things as well

What has been helpful and supportive for you?
To be honest, when I joined the team I had doubts about whether they would accept me and understand my working style. They already understood my limitations as coming from a previous testing role but knew I could do basic programming. They accepted the fact and helped me to understand what I didn’t know. Day by day it got easier to interact and the transition was smooth thanks to support of the team. 

What highlights did you have during this transition period?
When I joined the development department there was a big project and members from the Taiwan office came down and I got to know them and their working culture. It was pleasantly surprising for me as we were worried there would be a communication language barrier but in the end it was no problem and a learning experience. Teamwork was the most joyful thing when working with the members from other offices.

Most recently you won the best suggestion idea for improvements to our product.I also understand from others that you often give a lot of suggestions to improve the product quality. What enables you to do all this?
The passion towards the product I am working on.  I give suggestions due to interest or thoughts, sometimes what I learnt during self learning also came into play. 

You’ve been in the company for more than 2 years, where do you expect to see yourself in the next 2 years?
I hope to be able to continue to do what I am doing now in terms of helping the team in product development as well as to share testing related knowledge to other teams. If there is an opportunity and need in the future I may even like to join the Product Owner team.

What influence would you like to bring to your team?
Help team members with testing knowledge. In turn I would like to enhance my own programming skills to be able to contribute much more.

What has been your greatest learning in this journey?
Being able to experience many things like being part of a Self Managing Team, engaging in  Product Thinking, utilizing technical practices like TDD, Refactoring, Clean Code, Test Automation, SBE etc  which have all helped us to deliver the products faster with good quality. I also appreciate the ability to be involved with the initial stages of development from collecting requirements all the way to delivery.

Lastly, are there any words you would like to share to your fellow colleagues that experienced the transition of QA to programmer?
If you are facing difficulties don’t be afraid to ask team members or even participate in a Community of Practice group.  Whenever you get any challenges, try your best to accept them and turn that situation into an opportunity- just see challenges as an opportunity to grow!

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