The Journey : Early Days to How I Got Here
I started my carrier as Software engineer in small scale industry- Indtech Instruments where I got a chance to work in core embedded technology projects. I got exposure towards to work on Assembly & C languages and also on hardware for - PC-based & microprocessor based analytical equipments. Almost for 6 years I was associated with this company then I moved to Patni Computers.
First 3 years I worked with Japanese client - Hitachi. While working with them I learnt the best QA processes & gained the knowledge on various aspects of QA. Thereafter, I moved into Patni's Product Engineering service group where I started working as a QA leader for one of the leader in Storage product manufacturing & was responsible for managing end to end product QA processes.
I developed all the skills - domain knowledge, product knowledge, automation, QA strategy planning which are required to take ownership of end to end product testing. We started this project with a team size of 7 with limited focus on regression testing only. We developed our skills and fetched additional work of providing QA services for new features, complex functionality. The team size was grown to 50+ in 2 years.
During this period I enhanced the Storage domain knowledge, learned about various products, latest trends in market & also latest tools and techniques (automation & manual testing) are required to do product testing.
Currently, I'm managing multiple projects in Patni's PES Storage sub vertical as QA Manager.
Decisions That Mattered
When I started my career in Patni, I worked on multiple projects - Development, enhancement, porting and testing. I decided to take product QA testing as my career path and got transfer to Product Engineering Services (PES) group of Patni. In this group, I got to work on most challenging projects & this experience helped me to take up higher roles and responsibilities. Choosing embedded product system QA as a career path has proved to be the most important & correct decision.
The Turning Points
Joining service industry, working with Japanese clients who are extremely cautious about the quality of the product, this taught me all the aspects of QA & managing high customer expectation.
Work and Role: Then and Now
In my earlier job I was more into development & coding and in the current job I own QA responsibilities for various projects.
Two Years Down the Line
I will be leading product QA practice group in Product Engineering Services group in current organization.
What I Learnt Along the Way
• There is no short cut for hard work
• One cannot climb the ladder of success without having support from subordinates
• To excel in any role you have to excel in your duties and also execute some part of your superiors duty
• There is no word "Politics" in professional life. You will definitely move ahead if you are dedicated & focused to achieve your goals.
Changing Days: Lessons Learnt
Like everyone else even I started my career as a software engineer. At that time, the only goal used to be - completing the tasks which were allocated by the seniors. Now, I'm responsible for managing overall account & executing various QA projects as QA manager and responsible for my team members work & also for the timely delivery of project. Apart from this I also work on new proposals, pre-sales activities & winning new business.
Trends to Watch Out For
From past few years, I'm working in Storage product QA domain. The latest technology trends seen here are increased Ethernet speeds - from 1 gig to 10 gig, IPV6 implementation, data de duplication and space optimization, parallel clustered file systems etc.
With those technology trends there will be new products introduced, lot of enhancements in existing products, changes impacting the product development methodology & testing methodology, various new tools designed & developed for testing new products which in turn will fetch new QA opportunities, new QA practices and QA methodologies.
My Advice If You are Starting Out
Sky is the limit for a person working in storage domain. There are various lines of career in this domain as - development, QA, support, training etc.
To succeed in this domain, the only way is to understand & keep update yourself about the new technologies, study various products, do competitive study of similar products of different vendors & be passionate about the work /assignment you're doing. As there are so many complex hardware setups are involved in this domain which are difficult to understand. This requires in-depth understanding of networking & server /storage technologies. If a person is dedicated & passionate about the work then only one can excel in this domain.
Must Focus Areas For the Future
In QA there are 2 broad lines of specialization - Automation QA & Manual QA. Automation QA engineer needs more knowledge about various automation tools and scripting where as manual QA engineer needs in-depth knowledge of product & domain.
With current trend in industry, the product QA engineer will need to possess automation as well as manual testing skills.
The products to be tested are going to be more & more complex and manufacturers will be launching the products which will be competitive in performance / speed with the similar products which are launched in market. This is going to create huge opportunity for performance or benchmarking test engineers. Performance testing always needs usage of performance testing tools / scripts etc. Nowadays to find a person having good exposure to product performance testing is very difficult. This specific profile will be very much in demand in future.
Do We Need Certifications?
I have not done any certifications as such. But the in-house training programs & on the job training has helped me in my professional life. People, who desire to take up QA as career, should certainly go for certification in automation tools like UI automation, load test automation (Load testing - Rational Robot) etc.
Books/ Websites I Recommend
The art of Software Testing by Glenford Myers
I would also suggest you to register for various QA forums & participate actively.