Diagram's Kevin Apgar shares about Quality Assurance at WSOL and give some insight for prospective QA job applicants.
As of Tuesday, August 14, 2018, I have been working in Quality Assurance (QA) with Diagram for one year. I really hope my enjoyment of this job has shone through in my blog posts because we are now looking for another new member of our family! Both the Diagram family and our own little QA Crew subfamily.
What would you do?
Per our job description listing:
During the development phase of projects, you’ll be accountable for verifying that the requirements have been met and ensuring that our work maintains its integrity across a wide landscape of browsers and devices. You’ll be testing custom functionality, making sure the back-end experience is as friendly as can be, and eagerly pointing out issues to the team when they’re found.
Your other core responsibility will be working with our clients, doing a bit of teaching and a bit of handholding as they make the transition from their legacy website to the new system we’re building for them.
What does all this mean? You're in charge of making sure things look good and that our clients know how to use it. You need to be savvy with all different web browsers and operating systems; .NET content management systems (CMS) particularly Episerver and Ektron; bug tracking software, specifically Jira; and able to write instruction manuals tailored to our clients' needs.
Wanna hear it from the rest of the QA Crew?
"I do a lot of requirement verification, answering client questions, reviewing our processes to see what can be improved, preparing for training, among a lot of other things," said Lead QA Engineer, Kendall Smith.
As for me, I do a lot of the same as Kendall. I check webpages and applications for accuracy as compared to specs, hi-fi's and functional requirements. I QC checklists that Kendall and I have made, keep up on known browser rendering issues and update more checklists. I also make sure to take note of processes involved in building pages and elements in order to make it easier to create step-by-step manuals for clients. Completely unrelated, I also write blog posts in which I share what I do in order to help all of you.
An interesting element of my job that I hadn't expected was working to build our QC Device Lab. We now have a pretty solid selection of devices in place and I plan to add more as the need arises.
What Skills Do You Need?
Education is a must, but only insofar that you can prove that you're sufficiently educated. Don't let this be a hindrance to you applying. If you know your stuff, prove it to us!
You should also have knowledge of the variety of web browsers that users, er, use and know what makes them uniquely different from one another. A familiarity with different operating systems and web browsing devices is a plus. As well as a knowledge of bug tracking software like Jira.
In addition, teamwork and patience are a must as you will be working with developers, designers, and clients on a daily basis. You will be dealing with a variety of personalities and must be flexible enough to do so.
Oh yeah, and writing! You must be able to convey ideas and instructions to your coworkers and clients. That could be instructions, emails, blog posts, or even just quick notes in Slack. Knowing how to express yourself effectively, while also being empathetic to those on the receiving end of your message, is key.
How Did We Get Here?
Kendall's arrival at Diagram six years ago marked a change in how the company had performed QC checks. She introduced everyone here to Jira and set about implementing strict guidelines for its efficient and effective use. The rationale behind this change was to ensure that all members of our development team were on the same page as a project progresses towards completion. This makes it easier to know exactly what's going on and hold the proper parties accountable for their work.
At her previous job, Kendall tested Ektron sites and managed a content migration team. She has always had a very strong attention to detail and familiarity with a variety of content management systems. She also knows the stages of the quality assurance process and who plays a part in each stage of the process.
I guess you could say she was tailor-made for Diagram.
Additionally, she helped develop the company's first dedicated quality assurance team. As I've argued in the past, no one knows their code better than a developer. But, being that close to a project can also mean that you may be more likely to overlook an issue that crops up. That's why it is important to have someone who did not write the code, but works closely with those developers to check it for accuracy and reliability. Diagram was quickly growing and our number of clients made it readily apparent that the QA Team needed to grow.
This is where I came in.
I joined Diagram with 17 years of experience in writing and troubleshooting HTML and CSS. I have strong writing and proofreading skills that I've honed in both the higher education and government arenas. I also served as a point person for my previous employer's migration from Ektron to Episerver... a migration that was done by Diagram, so I already knew several of the people working here and was very certain these were the types of people with whom I wanted to work. They have not managed to change my mind on that assessment.
Are You Our Next Teammate?
Do we sound like the sort of people with whom you'd like to work? Check out the job posting and, if you think you're a good fit, apply!
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