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Stay curious and keep on learning

Technology constantly evolves, so it’s important to keep on top of new technologies and approaches through continual learning and certification. I’ve worked in test automation for almost seven years, the past four with Sogeti Belgium, and learning has been a constant feature of my life. It’s how we continue to bring expertise to our clients as a partner they value.

During my career I’ve worked with various technologies, such as Ruby, Java, JavaScript, trying to automate as much as possible from the service layer to the UI level. Today, I’m engaged in the banking sector where, as well working in test automation and bringing in all the best practices for this, I am also delivering training sessions around API testing and Behavior Driven Development (BDD), which my banking client uses for creating our scenarios.

Expanding test automation expertise

I am also a co-driver of the Test Automation Guild for Sogeti Belgium, which gathers test enthusiasts from Sogeti and Capgemini every month to discuss current topics of interest. As part of this we’re now organizing ‘Automation Battles’ where teams compete to design solutions for a specific scope, e.g., API testing, UI testing, mocking solutions which builds their expertise in a fun format.

One of my career ambitions is to be a testing coach and I have always liked the fact that here at Sogeti I am not only a test automation consultant for our clients, but I am also able to help other testers expand their interest in testing. This began within weeks of me joining Sogeti Belgium, and I have since grown this side of my activities from teaching on various tools for API testing to giving evening sessions around BDD. I’ve created content for API testing training sessions, I take part in technical interviews and I help create testing resources for young professionals wanting to expand their knowledge.

I like sharing my knowledge and I’ve appreciated the opportunity Sogeti has given me to explore this. It means that I’m not only helping Sogeti grow in terms of my fee-earning capacity but by expanding the test automation knowledge base of our consultants.

Ongoing certification

Of course, I have had to continue building my own skills and certification has been part of this. I began with the ISTQB Foundation because I believe it’s one certification every tester should have in their portfolio. It’s a good starting point for beginning to understand the basic testing principles and the difference between testing and coding.

Then I continued my learning mostly with more technical certifications, such as Tosca Level 1 — Tosca Tricentis is one of our partners, so I wanted to get to know their tool. Last year I took the Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification because the IT world it’s moving more and more towards cloud services and I wanted to extend my knowledge of DevOps concepts and how testing can play a role in it. I’m also interested in various programming languages, so am currently following courses around Java Script, React and Cypress.io. Before I began my current engagement with the banking client, I also followed a one-month online course to gain certification in Ruby and Ruby on Rails. So, it really is a case of continual learning and building my knowledge of test automation and best practices around testing.

Teaching and learning what’s new

Beyond my own learning, I am currently working in a transversal team whose role is to help other teams increase their automation maturity or resolve their technical impediments. For this I need to know the best practices of applying different tools/scripts in testing and test automation, such as Ruby, which is why my earlier certification is so important.

One of my goals within the team is to help with innovation and we’re constantly looking at what’s new on the market. For example, we are experimenting with Cypress as a possible automation framework based on Java Script. I was involved in a Proof of Concept to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of Cypress compared to the current solutions. Also, I am actively involved in creating new ways or solutions to improve the test data we use for our tests or to integrate test automation results with Application Lifecycle Management tools like ALM Octane.

Curiosity, motivation, and a willingness to ask questions

My advice to anyone coming into the field of testing and test automation is to be curious. Don’t be afraid to ask questions because you will always find someone to help or who can steer you in the right direction. Curiosity and an interest in new tech and what’s new in the market is so important, not just for personal development but because our clients are looking to us as people who can grow their own expertise. We can’t do that unless we are motivated to keep on learning and gaining certification in areas of interest to us and useful for our clients.

Cristina Velican
Cristina Velican
Test Automation Consultant, Sogeti Belgium
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