Inspired Testing's Training Manager Louise Gilbert chats to Senior Automation Engineer Anusha Gopaul about her journey into quality and how she works to help other testers reach their full potential.
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LG: Okay. Welcome, everybody, to today's podcast. I'm Louise Gilbert, training manager at Inspired Testing, and today I'm talking to Anusha Gopaul, senior software quality Engineer, about her journey into testing and her views on mentorship and giving training. Anusha, welcome.
AG: Hi, Louise. Thank you. And I would like to hello to everyone who's listening to this podcast. And, yeah, I would like to thank you for the trust you've given, or you've put into me for sharing this platform together.
LG: Yeah, absolutely. So with that said, tell us a little bit about yourself. You're initially from Mauritius, right?
AG: Yeah. So for me, I started my career as a high school physics teacher who were training, I would say students or kids from the age of 13 to 18. Yeah. So I started in Mauritius, and I studied physics with computing. So my career started as a physics teacher.
So then after two, three years, I think of being in the education or teaching space. Then I said, because I studied physics with computing. So I said, let me just go and see what's on the other side of my degree, which was computing. So, yeah, that's how I ended here in the corporate world. So, yeah, it's been a fruitful ten years, I would say, for me. And yeah. So for now, I'm currently, like you said, a senior software quality engineer in South Africa, and I'm working for one of the largest banks in the country.
LG: And tell us a little bit about your transition from teaching young people to becoming a trainer or a mentor in the technical testing sphere.
AG: Yeah, so to start with, like I said, when I started in Mauritius, the company that I work with, they gave us a training for three months just to get a feel of what the industry is all about. And during that training, we were given case studies of, like I would say, real life business processes. And those case studies did give me background of what to expect and how to prepare myself to continue in this journey that I've landed on. So with that company, when I first started, I was guided and trained by one of the best person that I know. And, yeah, I truly appreciate that person. So he's an old man now and he shows great passion for testing and he always emphasize on the change that quality assurance can bring to a company if it's done properly and implemented as it should be. So the transition for me from teaching to the IT, I would say sector wasn't too harsh because I always try to challenge myself in improving and learning new things. So, yeah, it was just my passion, which drove me to continue to where I am and how I started.
So for the other side of the question, which is training, when I started, firstly, with that company, my ultimate goal, like my goal for myself is to be able to be in a position where I can train people and share my knowledge. So that was the first thing that came to my mind when I started with that company. So, yeah, it was a risk at that time, I would say, because teaching kids and … the ultimate goal, being to be able to train adults, so that was a risk. But, yeah, I think it's paying off now. Yeah. So working for ten years now in this industry, it did give me some- how would I put that? 1It gives me that passion and to help people on what I know and share my knowledge.
LG: would you say this is the value that you get, the personal value that you get out of teaching adults or training adults? What else do you personally get out of it?
AG: So, for me, getting into training, it's not like something that I would say no to. So it's a passion of mine. Like for me to be always - I wouldn't put it as a trainer, but helping people with knowledge that I've got. So even if I know a little bit about something and then I've got somebody who wants help about that topic, so I'm always open to share what I know of. And yeah, it's a way of sharing knowledge because in that interaction that we get during training, we learn about things that we wouldn't have thought on our own. So I might know a topic and I might know how to implement and I've implemented it, but then when it comes to other people doing the same thing, then you see the other perspective of the other person. So yeah, training as a whole, it does keep me going with what I know, and then it also helped me to learn new things, I would say. And also for me, I think everyone needs somebody to look up to or to guide them through the process or the journey that we are on. So, yeah, I’ll be quite happy if I get those opportunities to help people achieve what they want and be a better version of themselves.
LG: I know about the training that you've done with us at Inspired Testing, but I wondered if you would tell the bigger audience about what you've been doing so far.
AG: Yeah, so Inspired Testing has given me that opportunity to get back into training because it's been a while since I didn't do it. But having worked with Bas (Dijkstra) Or last year, so he was a great mentor and he taught me so many things that gave me that passion to go into the training career now. So yeah, Inspired Testing has helped me and since last year I think I've been able to deliver some of the courses to the internal and external people. So I started I think with Introduction to Java Programming where I did assist Bas with the training with some other external companies. And internally I also did a course for Introduction to Automation whereby we had people with manual testing and some had some years of experience and they wanted to know what it's all about because I think automation is a big word but to get started with it you need someone to actually guide you. So yeah, that course, I think it was a good start for those people who wanted to know and wanted to jump, I would say to test automation. So in that course we covered Java programming and some basics of test automation. We also got the- I would say the people- to use one of the tools that we've got. So yeah, it was a good one. That was internally. And then recently I also did a course with another external company which was about API testing and we also looked at the use of Postman during that course. Yeah. So it's been great from last year.
LG: And you developed that course for Postman as well, which was a great value-add as well.
AG:Yeah. So developing your own training materials is a challenge. Yes. But it's also a way of us learning new things. Yeah.
LG: Tell me, Anusha, what is a common misconception about testing that you see or maybe testing test automation that you see with people that are coming maybe from a manual testing background, wanting to train on automation?
AG: So, firstly, I would say maybe people have that mindset of maybe thinking that the tester's job is just validating business requirements that they've got. But I would say that was an old way of working, which was like maybe ten or 20 years back where people were following the waterfall model, like we say today. But in today's world, we are in a very fast-paced, I would say an agile world. So today you'll see software quality engineers working side by side, all the stakeholders of the project, be it the developers or the product owners. So, yeah, we play an important role, I would say, in the software development lifecycle process. So even if we don't realize it, if we're doing just our work, but if you look at it in a bigger picture, you'll see the job that a tester does is something that needs to be valued. And yeah, you shouldn't only think that you are just there validating the requirements, but you should be there to improve the processes that are involved in the SDLC process. And yeah, so those misconceptions, I think, do not have a place now in the first place that we are working on. But, yeah, it does come up sometime about those misconceptions. But, yeah, I would say being a manual tester doesn't mean that you'll stay at that job forever. You can always improve on yourself and improve the team you're working with.
LG: Yeah, absolutely. And tell me, I see you as quite a well-rounded tester. How do you maintain your skills based on what we've been talking about, you know, outdated methods, how do you keep yourself sort of up to date with everything that's going on?
AG: So I wouldn't say I'm like a jack of all trades, but I do like improving on myself. Like, I like to read and try new things. And online learning is also one of the things that I usually put much effort in. Attending workshops or conferences, they give you ideas or insight of things, what's coming on in your way for you to work upon even before it comes to you. You should be prepared. So yeah, that's one of the things that I usually put effort on because I know everybody is busy with the work. But self-development should be one of our top priorities, I would say, to be able to remain relevant and develop our skills. Because the IT world is ever-changing. Every day you wake up, you'll see new things coming up. So how do you keep up with that? It's just that you need to be open to learning new things. Because things that we've learned five years back may not be relevant nowadays in our job. So yeah, we need to be moving with what's coming into our way.
Also, I would like to highlight the use of AI in our world. Like it's been there for a while now, but it's only now that we are seeing the impact that AI is bringing to our jobs, even to our day to day. Life at home or even in the car. So you'll see it everywhere. So, making use of those technologies would really help us develop those new skills.
LG: Absolutely, yeah that’s a great comment. So wSo,t advice would you give to software quality engineers out there? Perhaps what skill sets do you think are important? I think you've touched on that, especially the AI. But what other advice would you like to impart?
AG: So, for me, one skill that I think I've learned I didn't have it at the beginning of my career, is that we should be open to critics. It may be bad even when you get it, but if you think about maybe what you did wrong or things that might have gone wrong or things that you may have said to somebody, it might not have been felt the same. So being open to those ideas, that we may also be at fault, or we may also be wrong in situations. So that's one of the things that I think I've learned while interacting with people. And also, one thing that I usually think about is you are not always successful at the first time that you're doing something. There would be things that might not go, like how you planned it, but taking into consideration what went wrong and then improving on those things, that's the challenge that everybody should take upon themselves, because not everything that you think in your mind, like, I'm a very bad drawer. So if I'm thinking about something, and then if I write it on paper or draw it, it's not the same like how I imagined it. So yeah, failure is part of what success would be in the future to me. And also, like I said before, having the right attitude towards your work, your colleagues, or anybody you're interacting with, it does help you to overcome obstacles.
Yeah. So that's the skill set that I've learned throughout these ten years that I've been in this industry.
LG: Awesome. It's been such a pleasure. Thank you so much.
AG: Thanks, Louise. And thanks to everyone to listen to this podcast. I hope it gives you some ideas for the journey that we are all on.