The Life of a Remote Quality Assurance Engineer, with Kulsum Siddique

If there’s one person who knows all about putting your head down and just getting the work done, it’s Kulsum. She has worked in coding and software engineering since the start of her career; a career in one of the STEM disciplines that has, fortunately, seen an upswing in attempts to dispel the stereotypes of being a coder.

Kulsum has not only worked on development teams, but she also studied computer science in her home country, Bangladesh. As a child, she had an inexplicable interest in all things tech-related, and she laughingly recalls how often she would relentlessly bug her father for her own computer.

While both of her parents indulged her antics, it was her mother who saw her eagerness to learn and enrolled her in a course. At the time, there were no other females to be found amongst her peers.

Since then, the demographics of a computer science class looks different – in Bangladesh and the world at large. It is less daunting for women to break into the tech world once they can relate to other women who went before them or are going through it with them.

And although Kulsum had more than her fair share of hardships to get to where she is today (as you can easily imagine), she doesn’t dwell on any of them.

She places her struggles in a more positive light and says that those situations happen to also be the times that she felt most rewarded in the end; the deliverable result of her work spoke for itself.

But she does stress the importance of company culture, as do women across all industries. Her interactions and experiences with colleagues at previous places of employment were very much reflective of the overall company culture – not necessarily putting it down to just one bad apple.

So in saying that, it makes complete sense that Kulsum is most happy with the culture when it comes to her job at Groove.

As she describes her daily work tasks, ranging from manually testing features to creating automated tests, I asked whether or not she feels overwhelmed by the rapid pace and the never-ending lists through each stage of development.

She says that she feels a deep sense of camaraderie and support between the dev team, meaning that she never feels overburdened despite the ambitious rollout schedule.

Her advice to women who are entering the tech world, is to find one supportive colleague. Even just having that one person can be enough to keep you on track, focused on your goal, and delivering work to the highest standards. And, naturally, ensure you are that one supportive colleague for somebody else in turn.

In terms of working remotely, she loves the flexibility and potential opportunities for travel that a work-from-home lifestyle affords, and she does hope to travel someday. Perhaps Europe, as she dreams of snow and creating her very first snowman.

Kulsum, how did you start your Monday morning today?

I usually start my day by playing with my two cats, Putu and Yuki, so that’s what I did this morning. Here’s pictures of them!

Cute! Just being around your pets is a great WFH advantage, if you ask me.

I think so too! I feed them first thing, before I even make breakfast or coffee for myself, and then I usually spend quality time with them again in the evenings before I go to bed.

What’s the first thing you did when you started work this morning?

I planned my work routine by checking the cards on the team Trello board and Help Scout tickets. This is standard!

And is there anything you did to plan for the WFH week ahead?

Yes, we have a developer’s team meeting on Mondays which means we all get organized and discuss our work for the week.

Do you find it helpful to have that scheduled contact with other team members?

It’s great because we talk about our work, of course, but we also ask each other about our weekend activities. I love how the team gets along so well!

Is it difficult for you to step away for a lunch break?

By lunchtime, I’ve usually done enough that there’s enough time for me to do a quick workout. It’s something I really try to make part of my day, which makes it easier to step away. Then I have my lunch and get back to work!

What is the number one question that you get asked about your job?

People are usually not aware of my designation on a tech team. I usually get asked what my job responsibilities are. Most are aware of Software Engineers but not many know about Quality Assurance Engineers.

Quality Assurance Engineers are responsible for assessing the quality of specifications to ensure timely and relevant feedback. They are involved in planning and implementing strategies for quality management and testing.

What part of your job do you get the most satisfaction from, and then what part of your job is the most challenging?

Finding no bugs on the card that I am working on satisfies me. That’s what we hope to see in quality assurance!

But keeping my skill set updated with the latest tech is definitely the most challenging part of my job.

Any resources you can recommend to young women who are aspiring to become a Quality Assurance Engineer?

These days, there are many women working in this role, so I’d say they should read up on their stories by searching the internet – and then definitely check out their LinkedIn profiles for ideas and inspiration.

Thanks for chatting to us, Kulsum. How do you plan to unwind tonight?

Well, I’ll definitely play with my cats – they love their toys. And then I’ll binge watch a Netflix show, probably a K-drama.

(If you haven’t heard, we’ve launched a groovy magazine – aptly named Groove Magazine – that brings you original, informative content much like these interviews, right to your mailbox each month. Subscribe here.)