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A day in the life of a QA lead

Valerie Mann
By Valerie Mann — September 17, 2019 -

Welcome to our ‘A Day in the Life’ series. Each month, we’ll chat with a Mention Me employee to find out more about their role and what it entails, (as well as potentially unearth a fun fact or two!).

This month's interviewee is Catherine, a member of the QA team.

Can you tell us about your typical day?

I normally get to the office a little earlier than my teammates and have a coffee while going through my emails and open pull requests.

We have two stand-up meetings each day. The first is the QA team discussing each of our responsibilities and actions; the second is with the wider Engineering team discussing what we tested yesterday, what we’re testing today, and anything blocking us.

I rarely have a day without meetings, but the rest of the time I have my head down carrying out tests against new features. They change all the time, so every day is different. One day I could be testing a new part of our referrer flow (testing our journey in all the different possible browsers), while another day I could be testing a backend change and running commands on the command line.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I’d say the variety of work I get to test. It’s never boring!

What I enjoy the most is the quality of work that the engineers produce - it’s a great pleasure to work alongside them.

In addition, working in a startup means you really get to shape and mould the product that goes out to customers. I feel invested in what we’re delivering and genuinely care about the things I test. It keeps me motivated.

What skills are needed to do your job effectively?

On one hand, it’s the technical skills, like knowing how databases and the internet work. But perhaps even more important is the ability to question what I’m being given. It’s very important to be an independent thinker.

On the other hand, it’s communication skills. A QA Engineer needs to be able to describe things in a constructive way and be sensitive about how they provide feedback.

Which teams do you work closely with?

I work most closely with the Engineering and Product teams, although I also handle ad hoc inbound requests from the Client Success and Onboarding teams. I’ve worked with all the teams across the business at some point.

How do you measure success in your job?

Our team prides itself on never having releases with major issues. As QA, it would be our worst nightmare to let a bug slip through and cause people issues on the live platform.

What sort of company is Mention Me to work for?

Mention Me is a very interesting place to work, but it’s difficult to put it into words! We’re always having company away days and we know how to have fun while also getting work done.

What were you doing before you joined Mention Me?

I started my career out of uni working in operations but found I had a natural nose for sniffing out bugs and issues so progressed towards a career in QA. I’ve always worked in startups like Mention Me.

What’s your most memorable moment at Mention Me?

There’s been so many moments over the years that it’s difficult to think of a specific example!

One of my favourite moments was last year’s Christmas party; each house had to prepare a video and we all watched them in a real life cinema while wearing glow in the dark sunglasses. It was amazing to see how creative everyone is.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

That’s a tough one. I think I probably spend too much time on Giphy trying to find funny images to go on the Engineer’s pull requests when they’re ready to merge. I don’t think it pleases anyone apart from me!


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