Career Story: Software Quality Assurance Manager At A Financial Institution

Software Quality Assurance Manager At A Financial Institution

Job Title: Quality Assurance Manager

Type of Company: My company is a private financial institution offering brokerage services, retirement accounts, human resource solutions, and other financial services.

Education: BS, Operations Management, Boston College

Previous Experience: I started in a market data application support role at a financial firm as an intern and have remained at the company ever since - going on 9 years here. I have moved within the company from a support role to a business/systems analyst role for a compliance trading system we were building. Now I manage the quality assurance process.

Job Tasks: My typical day includes testing software that has been released to a QA (quality assurance) systems environment. I create and execute test cases (or user scenarios) to make sure they are working as they're supposed to. The software, if it passes, can move to another environment where the business can validate similar uses. If those are approved and no issues are found, this software is released and used in 'production' by the business users who asked for the product to begin with. Not only do I conduct and plan the testing, but I support the it and help with any production issues.

My particular software system tests if a trade made on the trading floor for our financial products meets the SEC regulations and internal company regulations. So on a daily basis I am challenged by new financial terms, and calculations so that I can understand and validate the system properly. The financial industry is always changing, so we are constantly being asked to add more features to the system and continuously improve it.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is that I am constantly challenged by new requirements for the system. The financial industry is always changing and requiring more monitoring of activities.

The worst part is some of the test case preparation (writing test steps). These can be tedious, but it is very important to the overall test process for accuracy and accountability that we have done our job sufficiently.

Job Tips: For my particular area, any finance courses are helpful and relevant. Project planning experience is valuable, since you see projects from beginning to end and can provide insight throughout the process from a testing perspective (e.g. how are you going to test XYZ?) I'd also suggest taking some software development lifecycle related courses to understand how companies build software today.

Additional Thoughts: The complexity of the system that we work on surprises me daily and the amount of new regulations that are always coming up. I know there will always be a new challenge out there.

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