While working at SinnerSchrader I have learned a lot of things. I have also learned to start journaling about my learning achievements and later a blog youintechnology.com helping people to switch their career to tech. I have been working as a QA Engineer and Product Owner Assistant. If you are interested in what you too can learn when working at SinnerSchrader then read on ...
1) What have I learned as a QA Engineer
This has been the first time in my life working in a bigger, truly agile flat team. I have a legal background enhanced with construction project management and a couple of my own unsuccessful businesses. I worked for a small startup that ran out of money before as well.
So yeah, I still have a hard time getting used to the idea that there is no big boss to be scared of and that everybody on the team is on the same level. However, being on the same level means that everybody is responsible for their job and other team members can rely on them.
It is funny how life sometimes can be cruel. I felt too constrained in law and yearned for more working freedom, so I started a business. Then I felt too overwhelmed by having my own business and yearned to work in a more structured and predictable environment. Working as a QA engineer on an agile team at SinnerSchrader allows for the best of both worlds. I have enough freedom to work independently while having the security of a job.
I can come up with new ideas on how to improve my work and I feel fully supported. I can choose courses when I want to improve my knowledge and the company pays for them. Thanks to that, I started to learn cypress more as I used it in my past job as well. The developers on my team are super helpful when I have any questions. They take time to explain everything in detail. On the other hand, I do not want to annoy them too much so I got into a habit to write down everything I could need in the future again and it is paying off :-).
Since there are multiple teams at my job, there are also multiple QAs to learn from. We have regular meetings to share knowledge. I still do more listening than sharing but I believe the time will come when I can be more on the sharing side as well.
And what have I learned so far?
What a testing plan is good for, how to write it, and whether you really need it in an agile project.
What is a test analysis and how to apply it to my project.
How to write test cases and test scenarios in a way to be able to reuse them for manual as well as automated testing.
How to write good and on-point cypress tests.
How AWS s3 and its buckets work (sort of :-).
How to be able to test in different integrators and how to configure these integrators myself.
How to use testing on localhost.
How to validate bugs more efficiently, meaning checking if the bugs client is sending are really bugs on our side or rather bugs caused by the client's wrong configuration.
How to communicate with developers to get stuff done and more :-)
Being on an agile team has also its downsides. Since there is no boss, the team members have to figure out how to work with each other on the personal/human level. That can sometimes be hard. Open communication can solve most of these problems, I am still getting better at it myself.
2) What have I learned as an aspiring PO
I like understanding the project from the technical point of view, the business side, as well as the user side. I feel like I am more of a generalizing specialist and a bigger picture person. That is why I decided not to pursue programming as such, after trying it out. It felt too tedious. I believe that everybody needs to assess their strengths and choose their job/calling accordingly. I did not manage on the first and couple successive tries, but I learned a lot about myself in the process. Now I know where I am going at least. Working at SinnerSchrader can offer opportunities to get there.
First of all, when I started working here I was paired with a development coach (I have never experienced it anywhere else). She helped me to decide where I want to go with my career and how to get there. Since being a big picture person, I naturally felt like I want to go towards product ownership/management after I understand testing well. Funny enough, 3 weeks into my new job, the product owner on our team left unexpectedly. I was given an opportunity to step up into his position temporarily. It was quite hard but rewarding. It offered knowledge on how to deal with the stakeholders, how to write tickets in Jira, and how to organize the backlog. I also got the opportunity to understand the business side of the project on top of the technical side and learning how to communicate with people of opposing ideas and opinions.
When the new PO started, I kept helping him in his position and my QA position became wider which I have enjoyed. I have been slowly learning PO's day-to-day duties without a big pressure while still improving myself as a QA. It's a win-win situation.
On top of it, I asked my dev coach if she can find me a mentor for my future PO position and she did. So I also got the opportunity to get better at understanding the entire magic of product ownership/management on a theoretical and practical level at the same time. Our discussions with my mentor have been highly stimulating, bringing out my creativity. I never had a mentor in any of my past jobs or life. I believe if I had a mentor before, I would have discovered my calling earlier and my path would have been more straightforward. Could have, would have, should have...at least I am on the right path now :-).
3) What have I learned as a human being
As mentioned above, SinnerSchrader works in true agile. It has forced me to become:
a) well organized while giving me the freedom to do it my way (I am thankful for the trust),
b) reliable and dependable in my own way like I was running my own business ( I am grateful for the freedom), and
c) a better communicator (which I think I needed anyways).
I am quite a driven person but only in a supportive environment and I feel like SinnerSchrader has been providing me with such support. I have felt listened to and heard which is very important to me as a human being. I have not felt like a number but a cared-for person. My dev coach, my mentor, and my coworkers want me to succeed and achieve my dreams which I truly appreciate. On top of it, the company pays well. If remote work will be allowed even after the pandemic is over, this job will truly become the dream job ;-).