Love more; smile more; do more!

15 Apr 2020
Love more; smile more; do more!

“Life is like a cup of tea … its all in how you make it!”
Irish proverb

If you have ever thought that making a cup of tea was pretty straightforward, then think again!  Because Ricardo Chame, Test Analyst for Inspired Testing, obviously makes tea far better than the average tea maker or, for that matter, the average test team administrator.

At the end of a six-month contract with FNB as an administrator for a testing team – Ricardo’s first ‘real job’ – he was earmarked for an interview during which the pivitol question posed to him was “If I asked you to make me a cup of tea, how would you go about doing that?” Under the critical gaze of a group of interviewers, Ricardo explained the most logical process of tea making, and the deal was clinched.

“As simple as that question may be, I laughed, because my mind was everywhere, I was nervous because I had these eyes gazing at me. I answered the question very technically, which worked out for me as they gave me a one-year contract as a Technical Tester.”

This position gave Ricardo his first-time experience of “the freedom to do exploratory testing, the stage to question, and a voice to give my opinion.” This all sounds great, but he says, “it wasn’t a walk in the park.I struggled and questioned a lot but ultimately it was for my benefit.”

Ricardo did actually have another first real job as a debt collector for  Nedbank in 2008. Although it was only for a short period, he recalls that it did help him to “grow up a lot and be more decisive when it came to life decisions.”

There was also time spent adjusting to campus life as Ricardo trained for his teaching degree; a “safe option” on the advice of his Mom when he could not find career direction.

However, when Ricardo started his first (and last) teaching job in 2016 it was the “absolute worst”. Apart from realising that “teaching is a calling, but not his calling”, Ricardo found himself in a school where the children came from violent backgrounds – they were even able to threaten him because “their fathers were actual gangsters!”.

Precisely on a day when he felt he “couldn’t anymore”, he got a call from FNB and was asked to come back: “You can imagine that I didn’t hesitate … although I did feel bad for the kids that I was leaving behind.”

So, in 2017, Ricardo was back at FNB with his old team. It was good to see familiar faces again, but  he couldn’t shake the feeling that he had moved on. “I knew it was time to leave and to further my IT career.”

Yet again, precisely on another fortuitous day – much like a perfect Ceylon blend – DVT contacted Ricardo. “The offer meant I was back in the place I wanted to live, with the job I wanted to do. Also, I had my family backing me, with the greatest friends as support structures. It’s been awesome up until this point.”

Guided by a strong work ethic instilled in him by his parents – and his desire to know more – Ricardo spent many long hours at work, learning and making notes and trying to better the quality of his work. “Then I made the big step up to Test Analyst , which I felt at that point I was ready for, and I took it in my stride. It felt amazing to matter and to feel valued. I did the courses and was certified as a Test Analyst. My team congratulated me like I had won the lotto … it was great.”

Ricardo continues in his role as Test Analyst with Inspired Testing.

The position involves the planning of test activities within a test plan; the drawing of test cases from business requirements; liaising with Developers and Business Analysts to extract any additional requirements from a testing perspective; and ensuring that the Project Manager remains well informed about the progress of testing.

“In most cases we form part of Quality Assurance, without our signoff, these work items (projects) will not move to production. So there is risk and responsibility involved in being a Test Analyst,” he explains.

Having started as a Technical Tester – “I think every Test Analyst at one point was a Tester or Technical Tester, because it forms the basis of being a Test Analyst” – this is Ricardo’s fourth year of being a Test Analyst and his second official year at Inspired Testing.

Since joining Inspired Testing, Ricardo has been able to register for modules that will enable him to become a Test Engineer or Systems Analyst. “That’s more than I could have asked for, I’m very grateful for the opportunities I have been given.”

Ricardo leaves this message for young adults facing career challenges, and the challenges of personal growth: “Life will always throw curve balls at you – this is one thing that I realised too late in life. How you view disappointment, whether it be from a situation at work or from people in your life, will determine your outlook on life.” He also says, “Remember there is nothing wrong with asking questions and asking for help. Never avoid people who genuinely want to help out. Everything in life is a lesson, good or bad; but never regret the chances missed, look ahead to what is coming. My message is to love more, smile more, do more. We have all the beauty and opportunity right here in South Africa. Push yourself to want more out of life.”

Ricardo’s stance on ‘diversity by inclusion’ is implicit in his message above.  As he clarifies: “It is the acceptance that people come from different backgrounds, with different life and professional experiences; and that we can work together successfully for one common goal. Understanding the skills shortage within the team and using mentoring and upskilling can give EVERYONE the opportunity to make a difference. People should be celebrated for their differences and not cast aside.”

“I’m living proof of this value,” he says. “I’m an educator who is certified to test systems and processes within an IT workshop. I had no idea about test plans and test strategies, but because I got included in discussions and was allowed to shadow and question, I am where I am today.”