How I write code that tests code at Hadrian
Jovana Jerkov took an unconventional path into tech. Starting with a Masters in French Language and Literature, Jovana was trained by her first firm specifically to work with Parisian clients. The creativity involved in being a QA won her over and she quickly became interested in learning more about code and automated testing. Read on to learn more about Jovana, her transition into tech, and what it means to write the code that tests code.
You have Masters in French Language and Literature so switching into tech must have been an interesting journey. What caused you to transition?
I got the opportunity to work in an IT company that specializes in finances and insurance and who were looking for people who specifically spoke French. They wanted to train them to become QAs and do testing for a specific client based in Paris. I was really drawn to the opportunity because IT is such a new and exciting field to be in. When I started working I immediately loved the creativity that came with the position and the opportunity to make real contributions to the products being developed. And of course I got to speak French which I loved.
What was the learning curve transitioning into a field where you didn’t have strong background knowledge?
When I first started I was mainly doing manual testing so I didn’t need a big technical background. I learned everything I needed to do within the first few months. However, I was increasingly interested in the technical side of the job and so I began to take courses like Introduction to Programming, to learn how to run automated tests.
Is automated testing currently a large part of your role at Hadrian?
My role is divided into many things right now. I’m working as SCRUM master for two teams half the time and then the other half of the time I’m a QA. I do both manual and automated testing but the automation is definitely one of the most interesting projects I’m working on.
Automation testing is more about being drawn to what the developers are working on. You are essentially writing code that tests their code so you have to be able to understand what they’re doing in order to develop effective tests.
I love automated testing because there’s so much to learn. It’s not the same level of programming as what the developers do but for someone who doesn’t have a lot of technical background there is so much to learn and explore. It gives me a great sense of progress and accomplishment.
Recently we’re started using a tool called Cypress to run automated tests. Cypress is a newer generation tool that is widely used in automation testing. It has a great community using it and wonderful documentation which makes writing tests easier and quicker. It’s also an exciting tool to be working with because it keeps growing and developing. There are always new features to accommodate tester’s needs.
You’ve noted how interesting you find the work of the developers. Have there been opportunities to collaborate with them?
They’re always very accommodating when I need their help. We’ve been able to work on problems together such as integrating the automated testing into the project. It was a more complicated process than we thought it would be and it is still in the early stages, but whenever I got stuck we worked together to figure out the solution.
As a start-up Hadrian is still in the early stages of development. How has that changed your approach to testing?
There are both advantages and disadvantages to working on a project in the early stages of development. The testing practices are not yet set up but that can be an advantage. There’s a lot of room for ownership and creativity because you can look at the project and set up your own strategy that will adapt as the project grows. There are some disadvantages that you have to adapt to. The whole project is not set up yet so you have to be aware of what stage you’re in and what tests you can run and at which point you can run them.
And finally, what drew you towards working at Hadrian?
A QAs job is always to think about security and working for a digital security company is just taking security to another level. It was a domain that I didn’t know about but just like that first switch from French to becoming a QA, I was really excited about how relevant digital security was becoming in the world.
As well, working with the hackers is amazing as it’s a whole new perspective on how to approach software and programming which really aligns with my mindset when it comes to the testing I do as a QA. While I don’t run the same kinds of tests hackers do we both need to have a mindset that’s very critical. I’m always thinking about how to break a program or project. We both try things that aren’t supposed to work to see what it will reveal. My job is to make sure that if a customer misuses the product it still works properly and hackers also have that ‘break something’ mindset.