Career Story: Software Quality Assurance Manager At A Small Financial Services Firm

Software Quality Assurance Manager At A Small Financial Services Firm

Job Title: Software Quality Assurance Manager

Type of Company: I work for a quantitative investment company that services institutional clients.

Education: BS in Education

Previous Experience: I started working in Quality Assurance in the manufacturing industry. I moved into software QA during the dot-com boom, and moved into Software QA in the financial services industry shortly thereafter.

Job Tasks: I write test plans and test software using those plans to ensure that it functions correctly. I generally spend about 1/3 of my time performing actual software testing. I spend another 1/3 of my time supporting and administering our bug and issue management software, and our enterprise wiki, which we use as a communications tool and knowledge base. The other 1/3 of my time is spent on miscellaneous planning and process improvement activities. These activities may include the following:

* Dropping what I'm doing to help troubleshoot a suspected problem that has occurred in a production environment * Consulting with other teams at the company to help them improve their workflow using tools we have in-house * Working with auditors to provide information for them for their audit reports * Performing analysis of regulatory changes to ensure we remain in compliance with US and foreign securities guidelines

Since I work for a small company, I wear many hats.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of my job are when I find something wrong before anyone else does and we are able to fix it before it has had any exposure. It is also very satisfying to help people use a tool to improve their jobs.

The worst part of my job is when I miss a problem and it causes someone else to experience a system break and create frustration, risk to the company, or both.

Job Tips: This is not a job for people who get bored easily. You can go days without finding anything wrong, and you have to have confidence in your own ability to be able to attribute that to good coding, rather than bad testing.

Having basic development skills makes it much easier to test software. Having general knowledge of object-oriented languages will make your life much easier.

Additional Thoughts: It is critical that you be able to work well with people. You often have to act as an intermediary between business sponsors and developers, and diplomacy is requisite when acting in this capacity.

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