Meerkat your Career - My journey from Senior SDET to Engineering Manager in Compare the Market, London

My journey from Senior SDET to Engineering Manager in Compare the Market, London

Yep, the meerkats stole my heart and it was impossible to say no to those cute little eyes ❤

The funny thing in software engineering is that in every software company we go, even when we have the same role name, it varies a lot regarding the day-to-day activities!

As a SSDET in ComparetheMarket, I had a more consultant role where I was responsible for setting directions, best practices and coaching colleagues on how to test event driven platforms, which I love!

Eventually I was also leading sessions on topics we would like for our team to learn like contract tests or behaviour driven development.

I guess we can blame my previous experience as a university professor for that.

To be a tester (QA, SDET, Automation, …) requires from us to interact with many people from different levels and expertise daily.

That is usually tricky particularly because we often are bearer of not great news (I guess no one really likes to be criticised anyway!?).

So, to be able to communicate problems in an effective manner, suggest corrections and ways of preventing disasters is highly valued on testers.

All that in a graceful manner so people don’t want to shoot the messenger.

However, testers do way more than that!

We work across the entire software development lifecycle. We contribute on requirements, review code, processes, documentation and we also develop amazing automated test cases.

I saw once someone talking about us as “Jack of all trades” and I guess that is a cool way to say that. But we can’t afford to be “master of none”.

We must master many many areas! Software Architecture? yes. Processes? yes. People YES. And the list goes on and on.

So, being a tester, makes us humble, because most people think we are testers because we cannot program, which is mistaken for automated testing is programming.

It helps us to improve our systemic view, for it doesn’t really matter if you deliver one service perfectly working while it cannot communicate well with the front end or it saves horrible data. Everything must work well together so we can have happy users.

It also creates in us the resilience of navigating between different programming languages, cloud providers and systems.

In other words, being a tester its awesome! I enjoyed every second of the 12 years I worked with testing. Independently on how the role was named.

That said, another big part of me is that I always liked helping people to develop themselves.

I kind of hinted that to you some phrases above when I told you I used to be a professor.

So even loving to be a heavily technical tester, I always valued to spend some time with people, devising career plans and seeing them succeeding on their dreams.

On the software engineering world, we know the junction of tech and people skills as Tech Leads, Lead, Senior, Engineering Manager (again many names).

When we are thinking about our careers and life, its nice to examine what is really important to us and what makes us happy.

Technical things.

Helping people to develop themselves.

Delivering amazing software to millions of customers.

All these characteristics I found as expected from an Engineering Manager in Compare the Market.

So, I decided to run for the role, and I made it!!!

I really wanted to thank ComparetheMarket for this great opportunity!

It does make a lot of difference to be in a company with a great culture and that make changes like this possible to us.

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