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Hi, Steve! Thanks for chatting with us. Are you able to tell us a bit about your latest project?

The team I’m on is slightly different from most teams at Bluefruit. We specialise in V&V (verification and validation), focusing on medical devices. Due to a non-disclosure agreement, I can’t tell you what I am currently working on, but it is for medical use.

In case you didn’t know, Verification and Validation is the process of ensuring that the correct product has been built and that the product has been built correctly.

A house is used to show the difference between Verification and Validation in software. Verification finds out if the correct product has been built and Validation finds out if the product has been built correctly.

What sort of role do you have here at Bluefruit?

I joined the company around two years ago as a test engineer but have recently taken on a hybrid tester/analyst role. The role involves, amongst other things:

  • Reading and understanding the requirements documentation*;
  • Writing tests to see whether the software meets requirements;
  • Acceptance testing to check the product is working as expected;
  • Experimental testing to try to break the product;
  • Raising and reporting any defects found;
  • Maintaining and updating the test suite.

*Requirements are the rules which define what the software should do.

What skills do you need to do your job?

Essential skills for my role include:

Attention to detail. It’s essential, especially when trying to understand and write tests that meet the requirements. It can be easy to write a test that isn’t quite doing what it should. Writing poor tests results in them failing and needing to be rewritten, so you always need to be on the ball.

Being inquisitive. Exploratory testing is where being a tester is at its most fun. You need to think outside of the box when testing the product and try to break it in many ways. By doing this, I have managed to find plenty of hidden defects (some quite serious ones) that no one had uncovered during acceptance and regression testing.

A willingness to learn. There’s a mountain of information to understand from the start of a new project until the end. You learn about how the product works, what the client wants, the new tools we’ll use, and how designs and requirements change over time. The entire process is a learning experience.

The wonderful thing about joining Bluefruit as a tester was that I didn’t need technical skills before joining. I previously worked in a chemistry laboratory, so I came in with no actual knowledge or understanding of software testing other than my research when applying for the position. All the technical skills I now have, have been taught through the training sessions and workshops.

How did you learn how to do what you do?

I learnt on the job!

My first few weeks involved lots of learning. I shadowed senior testers who are great at passing on their knowledge and experiences. And I also attended plenty of training sessions.

I was also lucky enough to join at the same time as a few other testers, so a group of us were all helping each other and learning together.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Working on new and innovative technologies that aren’t widely available yet. Being on a team focused on the medical sector, I’ve been impressed by some of the new emergent medtech that we’ve worked on.

What is your favourite thing about working at Bluefruit?

There are a couple of things that I absolutely love about working at Bluefruit.

Firstly, the people are all amazing. I am lucky to work with some brilliant people who are all friendly and approachable and always willing to share their knowledge.

Secondly, the wealth of training available. There is always someone putting on training sessions, and you are encouraged to do personal development in the quieter times. Having had no coding experience before joining, I have now taught myself the basics of Python. There are also training sessions on electronics fundamentals, playing with an Arduino, using a Raspberry Pi, 3D printing, and learning about AI. I have also gained an ISTQB qualification, and I’m currently learning about compliance standards.

What do you do on the weekends or in your spare time?

We’re lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world, and I love going out on walks and exploring new places with my family. I enjoy landscape photography, so I’ll typically have my camera with me too. If the weather isn’t good enough to be outdoors, I’ll watch sports, game, or binge a series on Netflix.

What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in the software/tech/engineering space at the moment?

I imagine most people would say AI, and while I agree there are a lot of exciting advances in that field, I would have to go for medtech. I’m probably biased due to my team’s work. Still, it’s fascinating having the opportunity to work on new and emergent technology that could genuinely change people’s lives for the better.

Anything else you want to share?

Are you thinking about applying for a tester role but worried you haven’t got any previous experience in the sector? My advice would be to take the leap of faith. Joining Bluefruit was a significant career change for me. Having no prior software testing knowledge meant the move was scary. But everyone was so welcoming and helpful that I soon settled in, and it was the best decision I made.

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