The first few months of working as a test consultant come with many new experiences. What can you expect? It’s to answer this question and to give some insights into what working at spriteCloud looks like, that we met with Facundo Paolini who moved from Argentina to the Netherlands to join our team in February 2022.
We were curious to find out how his first project at a client unfolded and how he adapted to working in the Netherlands as he decided to move here from Argentina. Facundo is 28 years old and started working in manual testing in 2017. He shifted to test automation the following year and if you are curious to learn more about that we recommend you listen to this interview, but for now stay with us as we dive into Facundo’s first months working as a tester in the Netherlands.
Working in a consultancy as a tester
Hi Facundo, thank you for meeting with us to discuss your start at spriteCloud. You have been working with us as a senior test automation engineer since February. Is that your first experience working in a consultancy?
I had the opportunity to work as a consultant twice in Argentina and I didn’t like it at all, because consultants were expected to say yes to everything. Our managers would agree to things that did not make sense and the QA teams and the developers had to make it work somehow afterwards. Which usually involved working late at night or maybe even overnight to fix things before the next release.
That’s why I actually told myself I would never work in a consultancy again. And surprise… here I am, but there’s a notable difference: here I found that I have freedom and the opportunity to say no.
For the first time in my professional life, I actually stopped a release because the product was not ready. I found a bug in the system of the client and stopped the release so that it could be fixed first. That’s not something that would have been possible in the consultancies I worked before. They would have probably said that we were going to fix this later and release it anyway.
It’s great to hear that you are trusted to take these decisions and got to see working as a consultant from a more positive perspective. Regarding the work culture, have you noticed some differences compared to Argentina?
Hmm, I would say there’s more freedom for employees here. I have been told that employees enjoy greater protection when it comes to laws about working conditions in The Netherlands compared to Argentina. That’s also the case regarding working overtime, for example.
This actually reminds me of an interesting example, I was working after 18.00 and two managers reached out to me and told me to stop and enjoy my time off. That’s not something that would have happened in the previous companies I worked for. You had your start time but it was not clear at what time you would end, so I was very surprised. That says quite something about the work-life balance at spriteCloud.
Let’s do some time travelling, how was it to start working as a test consultant in the Netherlands, a country that was completely new for you?
I was informed about my first client one month before I started at spriteCloud. I was super scared as I wasn’t sure how all these changes would go. What I mean by that is, that I am from Argentina and before moving to the Netherlands I had never worked in another country. In Argentina, I already know the people, their knowledge, how they behave and how they work.
And there I was, about to work in a different country, in a different language and in a different work environment. Besides that, I knew my first client would be German, so that meant a double change: working from a new country, the Netherlands, with another country, Germany.
However, within two or three months, I found myself being pretty comfortable. The work culture ended up being similar to Argentina and I knew most of the technologies being used. I realised that the only thing that changes are the languages. I’m using plural here because the colleagues from the company I work for usually speak in their mother tongue together and switch to English whenever someone joins the conversation doesn’t speak their mother tongue.
First project: building a test framework from scratch
Thanks for sharing the things that were going to your mind before starting. Can you tell us a bit more about your first project at spriteCloud and your role at the client?
I’m working for a client that rents appliances instead of selling them. Their objective is to lower electrical waste. Once a customer doesn’t want to rent an appliance anymore they refurbish and reuse them.
My role is to be a quality assurance/automation person and the goal is to set up an automation framework starting from scratch. As I am the only QA here at the moment, I am basically the one army QA. I’m trying to oversee the quality of the whole project. That sounds challenging but my coworkers are also willing to help. I never met developers who are so interested in having QA automation. They gave me a hand in making the framework and they are also interested to learn how to use it. I have to admit that never happened to me before (laughs)!
That’s interesting because we have heard from another colleague that his first project required them to set up everything from scratch. Is that something common when you work as a test consultant?
Yes, because a company hires a consultant when they don’t know how to do it. Maybe they have an idea, but they don’t have the manpower or the knowledge. That is why they bring in an outsider. For me, it was the first time I had to do something like that and as I said, I was pretty stressed before starting but everything turned out well.
That sounds like a challenging, but exciting project! Is there something you particularly enjoy about it?
Yes definitely! It’s the freedom I have. I am not forced to choose a particular solution. They give me their point of view, but leave room for me to find the solution that fits the project best.
I can also rely on the team of the client to be involved in QA. It is not like they are like “Okay, we have the QA here, let him do the job and we disappear”. They are interested. I can ask developers to look at my work and to give opinions. I can ask product owners or the business team to look for information that I need.
It’s a good project to work on because you feel that there’s a connection in the whole team. Everyone is busy but they’re always willing to help. That’s nice.
What a dream team! And how do you handle QA-related questions while you’re working at a client as the only QA person?
I can ask my technical questions to my spriteCloud colleagues. If I have a specific question I can send my work to a colleague to show where I’m stuck and they will help me. There are many knowledgeable people at spriteCloud, sometimes it’s even a bit too much knowledge to handle for me (laughs). I remember I asked some colleagues about cybersecurity and they gave me the cybersecurity bible in volumes one two and three!
Learning new skills
That’s actually something we wanted to ask you about, is cybersecurity in the top list of topics and skills you want to learn in your career?
Yes, I’m interested in cybersecurity but I would say for my career the top one is becoming a better programmer. I find it to be the most difficult thing to practice and get taught as it takes a lot of time. That’s something I’m working on through some courses but mostly trying myself. I find that picking a topic that I’m curious about and just giving it a try on my own, rather than doing a course, works best for me.
One last piece of advice
Thank you for having this chat with us, Facundo. To wrap this up we have one last question. Now that you have a couple of months at spriteCloud under your belt, what would be your advice for someone who wants to work in quality assurance, or even join us at spriteCloud?
I would say start programming and get good at it because it is the most difficult part of automation. And if you are being hired by spriteCloud just take the chance because it is a good place to work.
If like me, you are coming from abroad and not sure about working in a different country and work culture, you can leave that worry behind. It’s a multicultural environment with colleagues coming from all around the world and you will be comfortable in the team.
Did Facundo’s story make you curious about working at spriteCloud? Have a look at our latest job openings. If you are curious to learn more about what working at spriteCloud is like, follow our #lifeatspritecloud tag on LinkedIn.