QA City

Vinay Chandra

Vinay Chandra
Vertical
Service
Leader -
Testing
Services,Cognizant
The Journey : Early Days to How I Got Here

I scaled up my career ladder by joining Wipro as a Software Developer - Telecom Systems in the year 1999 straight out of my Engineering Campus. I also had a chance to handle client facing role in Ottawa, Canada where I had barely 6 months of experience. As with the times, I wanted to work in a tech start-up and joined Sonim Communications in 2001. Worked on various roles there, mainly in development capacity but coordinated well with the testing team.

I left Sonim to pursue full time MBA from Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode. I joined Wipro back after my MBA straight out of campus. As a Business Analyst joined BI/DW group, worked on several interesting projects one of which includes directly interfacing with the business over at Best Buy. Then moved to Testing as a Test Manager in 2006 and handled small testing project with San Antonio based grocery chain and another critical project at Nike. Then I got an offer from Cognizant in 2008 as a Vertical Service Leader for Communications, Information Services, Media and Entertainment (CIME) vertical. In 2012, the Cognizant trusted me to lead Healthcare Testing practice and it's a challenge that I relish for now. Furthermore, as a part of Cognizant's testing leadership team, I look forward to helping out on various challenging assignments.

Decisions That Mattered
  • First Important Career Decision is to write CAT - the entrance examination for MBA in India.
  • Rejoining Wipro after MBA though I had many other offers
  • Decision to move on to Testing
  • Recruiting the right people and building a very good and scalable delivery team
The Turning Points
  • Getting through the campus interview and landing my first job at Wipro - Used to be very difficult those days
  • Getting through and Joining MBA at IIM Kozhikode
  • Taking up a Practice Manager role in the testing practice and being very successful there
  • My first big win at Cognizant - Large multi-million $ testing deal which we continue to deliver very successfully
Work and Role: Then and Now

In my current job, I have full responsibility to deliver, recruit and consult on various QA solutions to our clients. The degree of autonomy is very high and so is the support I receive to ensure that our clients are successful and so are we in the process. In my previous job, I had sales accountability but I had to put in extra efforts to ensure that clients bought what they paid for.

Two Years Down the Line

Move the needle on quality further along for our clients and experience the quality transformation which is taking place in the industry.

What I Learnt Along the Way
  • Being accountable to oneself, clients and other key colleagues to deliver what you've promised
  • Honesty and transparency all the time
  • Reward performance rather than people who spend their time pleasing their bosses and
  • Always think of how we can make our clients successful
Changing Days: Lessons Learnt

Honestly, not a lot. The scale has changed and so has technology. But the challenges remain the same. With scale, we cannot be very choosy about the type of people we recruit. It's important to provide the right kind of environment to help them succeed.

Trends to Watch Out For

Mobility, Cloud, Agile, Legacy modernization are some of the key trends. It's important to be aware of the applicability to various industries and ensure that we can implement them successfully for our clients.

My Advice If You are Starting Out

QA has become very technical. One cannot afford to be only a web-tester anymore. It's important to be aware of technology and other aspects of software development in order to be more valuable

Must Focus Areas For the Future

Automation - Not just UI based but web-services and automating components of applications. Also looking at opportunities to implement end to end automation
  • Test Virtualization
  • Cloud based testing
  • Quality Engineering
  • Performance Engineering
Do We Need Certifications?

I believe that certifications add a degree of credibility to qualifications. It's up to the individual to make the most of it. There are several QA certification courses from ISTQB and other institutes. All of them are very valuable. I also strongly recommend being certified in Project Management (PMP) as one goes along the career and BULATS (Business Language Testing). Good command on written and spoken English is a key to success.

Books/ Websites I Recommend

I would go through various blogs from people who thrive on QA for a living. One can get a good perspective on where the industry is headed and approach to real life problems. One such blog is http://everydaytesting.blogspot.com/

Don't miss
 
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Director, AmitySoft Technologies
Founder and CEO, Infostrech
Vice President (Testing Services), Global IT Business, Wipro
CEO - Chief Executive Officer, Prakat Solutions
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