What does a quality assurance engineer actually do?

In this feature, we take a look inside the working lives of people whose job titles often warrant the question: 'but what do you actually do?' This week, we speak to Andrea Bainbridge, quality assurance engineer at influencer marketing company Hypetap.

What do you actually do ?

If I was to describe my role in ten seconds, I’d say that I iron out the wrinkles in the tech products we offer our clients as part of our influencer marketing suite to ensure they’re getting a seamless user experience.

In essence, I act as the ‘gatekeeper’ for the products we offer our clients, and my day-to-day work involves making sure that no defects make it into the finished user-facing products.

I spend most of my day analysing our technology products, launching inquiries if anything appears to be missing or falling short, and running tests to ensure that everything performs at optimal standards.

We’re constantly introducing new features into our product offering, so another big part of my role is checking that none of our existing products are affected by new technology. It’s a complex task, but it’s also one of the most interesting parts of the job.

I’m able to run automated tests, which I have programmed that do the work for me, right before my eyes, while I’m working on something else. It’s amazing what technology can do!

As a development team, we also work in ‘sprints’, a set period during which specific work must be completed and ready for review. A typical week kicks off with us all gathering for a sprint planning meeting where we map our goals. We then have a mid-week meeting to check in on progress and address any challenges that pop up, and finish the week with a ‘sprint retrospective’ where we discuss what went well and what can be improved the following week.

What does a good working day look like?

I complete my tasks in order without any interruptions or unforeseen issues. I love getting into the rhythm of my workday: planning out tests, writing up test cases, maintaining the testing suite, and retesting to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible. You’re probably thinking, that’s a lot of tests!

Our users rely on our technology to work as smoothly as possible for their influencer marketing campaigns, so we can never be too careful when checking the quality of our products.

What does a bad working day look like?

Sometimes a nasty production or programming defect rears its ugly head and needs to be ironed out by a specific deadline. The root cause of these issues isn’t always clear at first, which means we have to ‘go down the rabbit hole’ and execute endless tests until it’s sorted out. It requires a lot of on-the-spot problem solving, and it can definitely be tricky! But it’s especially satisfying when we resolve the issue.

What are your KPIs and how do you ensure you meet them?

Unlike many areas of the media and marketing industry, our development team isn’t held to a formalised set of KPIs outside the goals we set for our weekly sprints. The nature of our industry means our goals can change drastically throughout the week due to unforeseen issues arising during the testing process. Our main priority is to ensure the products we send out to the public are always the best quality with no recurring defects.

What’s the most stressful part of your job?

Knowing my team relies on me to confirm the entire platform is functioning correctly, which can be a stressful prospect. But I have learnt to treat every challenge as a valuable opportunity to learn and grow.

Andrea Bainbridge is quality assurance engineer at Hypetap.


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