What’s life like as a professional tester at Avocado Consulting? Find out from our Test Consultant, David Shields, who started in our graduate program more than a decade ago.
What do you value the most about working at Avocado?
At Avocado you get the best of both worlds of being a IT consultant but having a ‘home’ to come back to. As a professional tester the reality of the role is that there is a lot of movement between different client sites. This is exciting because you work on many interesting projects; however, typically it can be isolating. At Avocado, working within a practice, I have the safety net of a small, close-knit group which has allowed great friendships to be built around the office. Always having this group of friends makes working at Avocado very enjoyable. It is great to create these strong relations with my colleagues, because despite the constant movement we often run into people we know down the track.
One of the ways Avocado shapes this togetherness is through the regular Avocado events. Avocado fosters a great social environment, where we can catch up with old friends and network with new clients.
What made you choose the testing career path?
After Uni I was unsure what career path to take, however the advertisement from Avocado really caught my eye. I was curious to find out more about a testing career. After my interview I was really impressed with what Avocado had to offer. Starting as a graduate at Avocado I was warmly welcomed into the Avocado family, they really made me feel right at home. I’m now a test lead and love working with a fantastic group of people.
Tell us about your time as a professional tester at Avocado?
I have really enjoyed my time at avocado so far. What makes Avocado a great place to be, is the group of people I’m working with – they are so friendly and kind. Even when I am working from home, there is still a sense of connection and friendship between everyone on our online Zoom calls and other activities that keep us connected.
What does Avocado’s brand promise ‘deliver with certainty’ mean to you and your approach to clients?
For me as a professional tester, ‘deliver with certainty’ means we are trusted to deliver high quality testing and not take short cuts. We promise to consistently provide service excellence because we care about our clients. In practice, this means if we think there is an error, it’s going to be raised and documented. There’s no chance that we will let something slide because we think no one’s going to care or notice.
Which of Avocado’s ‘BRAVO’ values speaks to you the most? Why?
Being Valient is crucial as a tester, because you need to be able to speak the truth to people that are often in high stress positions. It takes a lot of courage to tell someone that their work is flawed or incorrect, as they sometimes take it personally.
Has your expectation of what the tech world is like matched the reality? How?
I never expected the tech world to be an environment that held the opportunity to build so many friendships and relations with people. I was really surprised when joining Avocado how family-orientated they are. It’s made being a tester a lot more enjoyable when you have a good group of people to work with and it’s one of the many benefits of working within a testing practice.
What does a typical day look like as a professional tester?
Being a tester that’s part of the management team, my first call of duty is to check on my team and make sure everything is running smoothly and there are no blocking issues so we can all proceed with our assignments. I need to then make sure we are meeting daily targets and completing short-term goals, to stay on track to ultimately reach the long-term objectives. We make sure to track the progress in all projects, to ensure that we are on the right path to ‘deliver with certainty.’
What skills are required for a professional tester and how does Avocado support this?
Attention to detail is one of the most crucial skills as a tester, as it’s our job to see things others don’t. This is a huge asset when trying to break things or see problems that developers may have overlooked.
As a graduate I received lots of support to develop and enhance my skills as a tester. My test lead at the time was a great mentor – guiding and teaching me in day-to-day work. Alongside this, my test manager also assisted in my progress.
At Avocado there is a big focus on making you the best tester you can be. They are committed to teaching a diverse range of skills instead of developing only the skills needed for the current job. These skills can be used across many projects and with different types of people. It makes me more rounded in my career and a better consultant for my clients.
What are the biggest changes you have seen in testing?
In the past, testing was just a group of unknown faces, where you would be given a piece of software to test. Production was fragmented and different teams did not work together. However, in recent times the interactions with the developer are so much more important and personal. There is more of an opportunity to build a friendship with the developer as they’re much more receptive to the issues that you raise. There is more willingness to work collaboratively and accept feedback to fix a problem.
In the past there was no sense of friendship or relation between the tester and the developer, so when raising defects, it was very one sided and often hard for them to accept that there was an error in their work. These days you can now also converse online over zoom calls to discuss issues, which makes the delivery a lot faster and efficient.