Women In Tech: Interview with QA team lead Natalia Demianenko
Who is a quality assurance tester and what is QA about?
QA is a process of detecting errors in software systems in order to improve software development process and prevent the same errors happening again. QA tester is a person behind that process and the main responsibility here is to ensure the development team is moving in the right direction.
Natalia Demianenko is the QA Team lead for Devhouse and essentially she tests features and updates in order to identify bugs in the product before it's released. She makes sure everything goes according to plan and works as it should. Natalia has a very impressive tech background and is genuinely interested in the field.
Let's see what she has to say about her experience inQA.
What is your background?
I’m a radio engineer and I used to develop algorithms for radio and sonar systems. However, even back then I was drawn to the IT industry and after 1.5 years I finally decided to get additional education and switch to IT completely. I started my career in my hometown and got my first experience there. In two years I was moving to Stavropol and by a happy coincidence landed a job in Devhouse as a QA Tester, only to find out it was exactly what I wanted to do.
Is it true that software testers are mostly women?
I don’t think so. It’s a case in Devhouse, but I wouldn’t say it’s a standard situation. I know a few companies where the picture is exactly the opposite. I honestly think that now gender paradigms are shifting especially in the IT industry, you can easily spot it by taking a closer look at job search platforms.
I honestly think that now gender paradigms are shifting
What skills do you need to become a QA tester?
When it comes to soft skills just like in any other IT job you have to be flexible towards changes and have a certain drive for constant improvement and acquiring new knowledge. QA testers should be sociable, diligent, have an eye for detail, and be able to think critically. When it comes to hard skills, of course, basic comprehension of the testing theory is key. For my work at Devhouse I’d point out the importance of understanding how browser and mobile applications work. The basics of client-server architecture and databases, and principles of software development are also crucial.
QA testers should be sociable, diligent, have an eye for detail, and be able to think critically.
What helps you in your job?
First and foremost, my technical background and genuine interest in technologies. It helps me to look into the tasks deeper and to navigate through the project easier. I try to automate routine manual processes and act not only as a QA tester but as a full-scale QA engineer and take responsibility for every stage of development. I don’t really see myself isolated from society, communication is very important for me. It helps with arranging processes within the team. Finally, having an eye for detail and critical thinking are the skills that lie in the very core of my job, and I’m glad I have those in the core of my personality too.
How did you land in Devhouse? Tell us a bit about its culture.
Almost 4 years ago I had to move from my hometown and look for a new job. Back then I didn’t know about Devhouse and only by a happy coincidence my friend pointed out they were looking for a QA tester. Since then the company grew exponentially, however, friendliness and open-mindedness remained in our culture. We are still rooting for the best quality products and growing together.
What is your responsibility zone?
At this point apart from testing I’m a QA team lead. I take over the development of QA testing in Devhouse. I act as a mentor, find new ways to develop the necessary skills within the team, and onboard new team members. We have big plans to work in this direction to improve and simplify testing processes on all our projects. So far, I think we’re on the right track.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Multitasking is probably the most challenging and the most exciting part of the job. Sometimes I find it hard to switch from one project to another, but it’s also something that drives me.
Multitasking is probably the most challenging and the most exciting part of the job.
Do I want to become a QA tester? Or is it not for everyone?
There is an opinion that QA testing is a simple starting point in the IT industry, I don’t think that’s entirely true. As I mentioned earlier, QA testers should have a certain set of skills which aren’t always easy to develop later in life. You can try signing up for professional courses or reading special literature to get the idea about the job. However, to become a qualified specialist, you may want to get some sort of technical education first. Then, if you are not afraid of hard work and ready to explore the world of constantly changing technologies, go for it!