QA Specialist, what do you do?

An exclusive sneak peek in the life of a Valtech tester.

december 20, 2019

‘A day in the life of…’ is a blog, video, picture or a page out of the journal of a co-worker at Valtech. This time we introduce Arjan van Daalen, QA Specialist. He will take us through a day in the life of a QA Specialist. Arjan is working at our office in Utrecht.

09:00 h A dramatic and dripping wet entrance

With my vision obscured by countless drops of rain on my glasses, I let the door close behind me. I remind myself that the suffering I have just endured is part of typical Dutch weather and that it is all my own fault for not bringing an umbrella. I greet the reception and several widely grinning co-workers I run into on my way to the coffee machine. With a fresh brew of hot relief, I make my way to my desk, at which point I notice the sloshing sound I keep hearing are my own rain-filled shoes.

 “A bit wet?”, one of my co-workers asks me with that same grin I’ve seen a few times on the faces of others. It’s the kind of perception that has made Valtech great. That attention to detail, that immaculate sharpness and the ability to act on it without hesitation. I stick out my tongue as any professional would, hang up my coat and put off my shoes. I admit, I like walking around on my Street Fighter themed socks, it makes me feel comfortable. Especially when compared to stomping around in two miniature swimming pools.

After the daily standup I plot my tasks in my Outlook calendar and go over anything else that I have to do. A varied day today: need to perform a bit of manual testing, script a load test and have a call regarding the national testing strategy that we’re standardizing. I like these kinds of days: Not too many meetings, but also not completely devoid of interruptions. I am not a person who can work on the same task an entire day, it would drive me nuts.

As the morning progresses, I try to break the code so lovingly put together by my teammates, get tea, receive comments on not wearing shoes (again, that Valtech perception) and occasionally get interrupted by questions for other projects.

11:42 h The much-needed salvation

As I am finalizing my last bug report, my eye catches the number on my laptop’s clock: 11:42. The sacred number! The answer to everything! And also, the time for… “LUNCH!” I shout around the room with a passion akin to an opera singer. One of the developers visibly startles and replies with a few obscenities. I put on my shoes again as you never know what you find on the floor of the canteen and scurry after my teammates who are forming the start of the line already. The sacred number will not be tarnished.

Lunch proceeds as it always does with stories of misdemeanor, jokes not quite suited when attempting to enjoy food and light-hearted topics such as politics, religion and philosophy. No one talks about work during this time, on pain of a stern gaze from those around them.

After lunch I pass by the project manager and salute her. “Captain.” She returns the gesture and replies “Sergeant.”

The team decides against our usual after-lunch walk as it is still pouring outside, so I grab some more coffee and get to work scripting the load test. I put on my headphones to shut my dear co-workers off from my perception so I can focus on putting the fear of God into the cloud service dutifully hosting one of our websites. 

15:00 h Call & football

Half-way through the afternoon I call into the test strategy meeting as it is being hosted by the ever-cheerful QA specialists of the Amsterdam office. I am not sure what the city of Amsterdam puts into its tap water, but not once in the past 6 years that I’ve worked for Valtech have the QA specialists of that office ever been moody.

The meeting is fruitful and finishes in time, in large part due to the host’s ability to curb everyone’s enthusiastic jives when it matters and keep everyone focused.

Afterwards I have a bit of the after-meeting-blues where I want to vent my energy of sitting still, listening and talking through a headphone, so I go and play with the office football for a bit and start to bugger my co-workers with jokes I cannot put to paper.

17:30 h Started with rain, finished with sun (sun salutation, at least)

When my restlessness disappears, I continue working on the load test until I suddenly notice the time in the bottom right corner. 17:30. Stress instantly soars. My yoga class!
I toss my laptop in my backpack, grab my cups and bring them to the dish washer. When I get there, I am greeted by a scene of usual disarray as all the cups are everywhere except in the dish washer. I do as any sane man in a hurry does in a chaotic situation: Add more chaos. I jam my cups where I see a bit of space, pray nothing drops off, swing my backpack on my shoulder and rush to the door, getting flashbacks to my early years of high school. I quickly express socially required wishes of pleasant evenings to whoever is near and run out.

I conclude it at least it stopped raining as I stress to be on time to relax.

I do as any sane man in a hurry does in a chaotic situation: Add more chaos.

Got excited about walking around in Street Fighter socks? Or was it the office football that convinced you? We’re still looking for QA Specialists in Eindhoven and Utrecht. 

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