Welcome to our weekly “What I Do Wednesday” series where we highlight people in real jobs making real impact. If you’re thinking about changing careers, this could be a great way to learn if a field is for you! Enjoy!
Tell me a bit about your job/company:
I’m a Quality Engineer (QE) at PROS. At PROS, we create cutting edge modern commerce solutions making it possible for companies to price and sell their products and services with speed, precision, consistency and personalization! As a QE, I’m part of a software development team writing my own code to test the developers code. My code verifies that our software works as expected and doesn’t break existing features. I’m responsible for release management which means that I make sure our software passes all of our quality checks and is made available for our customers. At the same time, I’m responsible for release and quality process innovation and working with the software developers and the rest of the team to make sure we are all following quality best practices.
How did you get there?
While in engineering school, I had my first taste of coding in my engineering classes. At first, I was intimidated, but I really enjoyed learning to code, building programs for class, and thinking about all the possible applications of my work. I also loved problem solving and creating solutions to make life more organized and efficient. I graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering and started my career in a technology Leadership Development Program at PNC Financial Services. After a year in that program, I landed a role as the first Quality Engineer on a team that was starting to do in-house software development. After building confidence in this role, I started to wonder what it would be like to work for a company where software is their core business. That curiosity, paired with a move to Texas, led me to PROS, the largest publicly traded software company in Houston.
What do you love about your job/industry?
To be honest, time flies when I’m coding. I especially love creating useful tools that make my job easier. I also love collaborating with my team members and working together to improve how we do things as a team. QE has been a good fit for me because I get to incorporate both of these things.
What’s kind of hard?
Today, software is developed and made available for customers with increasing frequency (in some cases, its even pushed to customers automatically). There is a bit of a feeling of continuously starting over. My team combats this by taking time to celebrate our accomplishments with a team lunch or outing.
Are there any preconceived notions you’d like to debunk?
You don’t have to have a strong technical background to get a job at a tech company. We have a lot of people who came over to our company from industries we target and are great fits for customer facing roles like implementations or product management. You don’t necessarily need a computer science degree to be a developer. I know some great developers at my company who learned to code in programming boot camps.
Also, every tech companies has a ping-pong table! My sample size is small, but so far that fact holds true.
What advice would you give someone who is looking to get into your industry/job?
If you think you might be interested in the tech industry, a good start is joining the tech community. Go to a tech conference (like the Grace Hopper Conference), show up to a local hackathon and join a team and contribute in any way you can think of, make a personal website, or join GitHub and start publishing your own projects and collaborating with others.
Anything else fun our readers should know about you or your career?
I’m an avid runner training for my first marathon!